Team USA snags pair of silvers at Cup of NiceCalalang and Sidhu, Baga claim hardware in senior international debuts
Team USA wrapped up a busy weekend Sunday by winning a pair of silver medals at 2013 Cup of Nice in Nice, France. Medals went to Kiri Baga, competing in singles internationally for the first time since 2010, and the pairs team of Jessica Noelle Calalang and Zack Sidhu. The competition marked the senior international debut for all three athletes.
Baga, who has also represented Team USA as a pairs skater, posted combined finishes of third and fourth in the respective short program and free skate to finish second behind Russia's Maria Artemyeva. Baga totaled 150.48 points. Her short program, which earned 57.91 points, was the stronger of the two for the Boston-based skater. The program included a trio of Level 4 spins and three clean jumping passes.
Artemyeva won her first career gold medal in any competition (Russian nationals and international events included) with a total score of 169.16 points. She was the only skater to break the 100-point barrier for the free skate with 105.20 points. After opening the program with a downgraded triple Lutz-triple toe combination, Artemyeva rebounded to execute three additional triples. Where the program may have lacked technically, she made up in the second mark. Her program components score (PSC) of 55.28 was the highest by seven points.
Germany's Nathalie Weinzierl maintained medal position to finish third with 144.56 points. She was second after the short program, but placed ninth in the free skate.
American Rachael Flatt, a 2010 Olympian, competed in Nice after winning the 2014 Central Pacific Regional Championships a few weeks ago. She moved up from 18th after the short to finish ninth overall with 130.18 points.
With 157.28 total points, Calalang and Sidhu finished in a close second place to Germany's Annabelle Prölss and Ruben Blommaert. The German's didn't win either segment, but their consistent performances helped them sneak into the top podium spot with 160.25 points.
They were able to do so because short program leaders DeeDee Leng and Timothy LeDuc of the USA were seventh in the free skate and sixth overall, while free skate winners Maylin Wende and Daniel Wende, also of Germany, won the free skate but were sixth after the short program.
Skating to "The Beatles Concerto," Calalang and Sidhu performed a strong free skate that included two throw triples, a Salchow and a flip, in the second half of the program. The only hiccup came on a fall in the side-by-side double Axel combination.
The men's event featured some figure skating veterans, with the top four having competed in the Grand Prix Series. Tomáš Verner of the Czech Republic won by 21.02 points with 249.79 total. Russia's Konstantin Menshov and Zhan Bush finished second and third, respectively, and Germany's Peter Liebers rounded out the top four.
Like the men's competition, the dance event also included some bigger names. Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron won gold and were joined on the podium by Italy's Lorenza Alessandrini and Simone Vaturi and Russia's Ksenia Monko and Kirill Khaliavin.