Press Release

Ando, Kozuka win gold at Cup of China

Pang, Tong claim pairs title; Pechalat, Bourzat win dance

Qing Pang and Jian Tong are the first couple to qualify for the Grand Prix Final.
Qing Pang and Jian Tong are the first couple to qualify for the Grand Prix Final. (Getty Images)

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By International Skating Union
(11/06/2010) - The 2010 Cup of China wraps up in Beijing.

Nathalie Pechalat/Fabian Bourzat dance off with the gold medal
Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France danced off with the gold medal Saturday at Samsung Anycall Cup of China. Russia's Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev moved up one spot to claim the silver while Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali of Italy settled for the bronze.

Pechalat/Bourzat turned in a charming performance to music from Charlie Chaplin movies that was highlighted by difficult footwork and innovative lifts. The French earned a Level 4 for six out of eight elements and scored 95.47 points. Overall they racked up 159.59 points to win their first Grand Prix title.

"It is our first time to win a gold medal at a Grand Prix event and we did a nice competition today. It was a great day for us," Bourzat commented. "Our program is to "City Lights. It's the story of Charlie Chaplin and the blind girl.

Skating to the romantic Russian movie soundtrack Melody of the White Nights, Bobrova/ Soloviev produced beautiful lifts and intricate footwork to score 89.54 points. They moved up from third to second at 145.39 points overall to claim a career-first medal on the Grand Prix.

"We are very happy, this is a great success for us," Soloviev said. "However, the unfortunate mistake Massimo (Scali) and Federica (Faiella) had helped us to move up, and it is always nicer to win in an even battle when everyone skates clean."

Faiella/Scali put out a characteristic Flamenco routine, but he stepped on her skirt while doing a straight-line lift and both fell. The world bronze medalists got 82.31 points and slipped to third at 139.52 points.

"That was an interesting week," Scali said. "We did the same mistake twice, we were unlucky, but we are happy that we got really great feedback on both our programs and we know we are on the right way. With a better shape and a shorter skirt it still can be a great season for us."

Nora Hoffmann/Maxim Zavozin finished fourth at 130.82 points and Xintong Huang/Xun Zheng placed fifth (124.60 points).

Miki Ando moves up from third to claim ladies gold
Miki Ando led a one-two finish for the Japanese ladies at Samsung Anycall Cup of China while Alena Leonova of Russia captured the bronze medal. Ando, who stood in third place following the short program, turned in a strong performance that featured five triple jumps. The 2007 World Champion scored 116.10 points and totaled 172.21 points to take the title.

"I knew I had to skate well today," said Ando. "I was nervous, but the audience cheered for me and that helped me a lot. I didn't have enough speed and I didn't get a Level 4 for my spins and footwork and I will work hard to make sure I'll get a level four next time."

Skating to The Fiddler on the Roof, Akiko Suzuki landed two triple Lutzes and a triple loop-double toe loop combination, but struggled with some other jumps. She earned 104.89 points and remained in second place at 162.86 points.

"I cannot forgive myself the mistakes I made," said Suzuki. "I was so eager to perform well and I couldn't really focus and especially in the second half of my program I had problems with my jumps. For my next Grand Prix, the Cup of Russia, I don't want to make changes to my program content, but I don't want to repeat today's mistakes."

Leonova completed a triple toe loop-triple Salchow sequence as well as a triple flip-double toe and a triple Lutz, but fell on her solo triple flip in her routine set to The Witches of Eastwick. The Russian picked up 97.82 points and moved up from fifth to third at 148.61 points overall.

"I didn't give my best performance in the short program. In the free program I did pretty much everything I can do at this point, it's a shame for the fall on the flip towards the end of the program. But I'm very happy about my triple-triple jump sequence," Leonova noted.

Overnight leader Mirai Nagasu dropped to fourth after some jumps were downgraded (146.23 points). Bingwa Geng finished fifth (142.48 points).

Takahiko Kozuka wins men's title
Takahiko Kozuka of Japan won the men's title at Samsung Anycall Cup of China Saturday in Beijing. Brandon Mroz took the silver medal and Tomas Verner of the Czech Republic claimed the bronze.

Overnight leader Kozuka delivered a solid performance of his program to "Piano Concerto No.1" by Franz Liszt, reeling off seven triples. The only glitch happened on his opening quad toe when he put his hand down. The Japanese scored 156.11 points and took the second Grand Prix gold of his career with a total of 233.51 points.

"For the first time since I compete in seniors, I placed first in both short and free program," Kozuka commented. "I put my hand down on the quad toe, and I'm a little disappointed with that, but at the Olympic Games the toe was downgraded and now it wasn't, so that was good. I had no falls in the short or the long program, and I'm happy about that."

Mroz came from fourth place with a technically demanding performance to Leonard Bernstein's On the Waterfront that featured a quadruple toe loop and eight triple jumps. He collected 146.96 points for his performance and accumulated 216.80 overall to win the first Grand Prix medal of his career.

"Today was definitely a great start for me the senior Grand Prix. I got my first medal, which is a good thing in my book. My performance today was great. I was trying to push everything out and get every point I could and make everything look easy. I have things to work towards, I want to push my levels up, I'm a little disappointed with levels. I'm looking forward to Paris and putting on a good show there," Mroz said.

Verner had the crowd on his side immediately when he started his routine to a medley of Michael Jackson songs. The 24-year-old landed six triples, he only doubled a loop and his second triple Axel was under-rotated. The Czech skater received 144.50 points and remained in third with a total of 214.81 points.

"It's been a rough season last year, and as I said yesterday, I changed everything and this performance and the bronze medal at the Cup of China is the result of five weeks of working. It shows me that I'm heading into a good direction and if I keep working hard enough, I will achieve my goals sooner than I expected at the beginning of this season," Verner commented.

Brian Joubert slipped from second to fourth. His quad-toe was under-rotated (210.29 points). Tatsuki Machida came fifth (200.95 points). Sergei Voronov withdrew from the Free Skating as he injured his right ankle on a quadruple toe loop attempt.

Qing Pang/Jian Tong strike gold in the pairs event
Qing Pang and Jian Tong of China struck gold in the pairs event with their teammates Wenjing Sui/Cong Han finishing a strong second. Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin earned the bronze medal.

Pang/Tong turned in an emotional performance of their program set to "Liebestraum" by Franz Liszt that was highlighted by their big triple throws. However, she fell on a double Axel while he doubled the side by side triple toe loop. The two-time and reigning world champions were awarded 116.88 points and totaled 177.50 points.

"We still have to work hard to improve on the mistakes we've made, but we are very happy to have won our second Cup of China title. Our coach (Bin Yao) told us that we haven't found yet our rhythm of competition and that hopefully we'll skate better in the Final," Tong said.

Pang/Tong are the first couple to have qualified for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating in Beijing in December.

Skating to "City Lights," Sui/Han produced a throw quadruple Salchow, but she two-footed. They hit a throw triple flip, but she went down on a double Axel and he crashed on a triple toe loop. The reigning World Junior Champions scored 111.89 points and took the silver at 171.47 points overall.

"At the beginning of the season we didn't really think about competing in both juniors and seniors and we're only here since our Federation gave us the chance to compete here. We wanted to watch Pang/Tong and we have learned a lot from being here. We were nervous and over-excited, and that was one reason for our errors," Han told the post-event press conference.

Yankowskas/Coughlin completed a double Axel, triple toe-double toe combination and a throw triple loop in their routine to "Ave Maria" to post a seasons best of 108.86 points. The Americans totaled 166.72 points to win their first Grand Prix medal.

"For us to win a medal at a Grand Prix competition is very exciting and a goal of ours when our season started," Coughlin offered. "I think the progress everyone has seen in us is more a result of us learning to focus more on ourselves and less on our competitors." Lubov Iliushechkina and Nodari Maisuradze remained in fourth place at 162.09 points and Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig came fifth (151.66 points).