Team USA takes two gold medals in Oberstdorf
Nagasu, Hubbell and Donohue score at Nebelhorn
|Mirai Nagasu took home the gold medal from the Nebelhorn Trophy on Oberstdorf. (Klaus-Reinhold Kany)|
Nagasu extended an eight-point lead after the short program as she dominated the free skate segment. Performing her free to music from the Spartacus soundtrack, Nagasu fell on the program-opening triple loop-double loop combination but quickly rebounded to land cleanly her double Axel-double toe combination, an additional triple loop not done in combination and a stand-alone double Axel. For the competition, Nagasu, who trains in Lake Arrowhead, Calif., earned 167.46 points overall.
Gedevanishvili maintained silver-medal standing with a free skate to music from Phantom of the Opera. Each of her three jump combinations, including a program-opening triple Lutz-double toe combination, received positive grades of execution (GOE).
Helgesson improved upon a fourth-place finish at this event last year to stand on the podium. She did so by moving up from fifth place after the short program. Skating a Romeo and Juliet-themed free skate, Helgesson received 90.82 points for that part of the competition en route to 138.73 points overall.
Nagasu's teammate Joelle Forte finished seventh overall.
Stephen Carriere looks to have bounced back from right ankle problems that forced him to withdraw from the 2011 U.S. Championships with a bronze medal in Oberstdorf. Carriere was just off the lead after his short program netted 74.51 points. Each of the skate's seven elements, including a program-opening triple Axel and triple Lutz-double toe combination, received positive grades of execution (GOE). He maintained medal position despite finishing fifth in the free skate. The 22-year-old totaled 207.54 points for the competition.
Preceding Carriere on the podium were Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu and the Czech Republic's Michal Brezina. Hanyu, who placed fourth at the 2011 Japanese Championships, earned 226.26 points overall, over 10 more than the 215.00 awarded Brezina. In his free skate, Hanyu earned an astounding 15.72 points for a triple Axel-triple toe combination that earned a GOE of 1.86. Other highlights included two level 4 spins and an additional triple Axel.
Brezina rallied from fourth place after the short program, in which he took a hard fall on his attempted quad toe, to win his fourth medal at this event. He rebounded in the free skate to land the quad toe. Like Hanyu, Brezina earned big points for his Axel done in combination. He earned 11.92 points for combining it with a double toe.
Carriere's teammate Max Aaron, in his international senior debut, finished fifth. Aaron moved up from eighth place after the short program and placed third in the free skate. The free skate, set to "Tosca," opened with a quad Salchow followed by a triple Axel-double toe combination and later included a triple Lutz-single loop-triple Salchow combination.
In their international competitive debut, Caydee Denney and John Coughlin, who teamed up last spring, nabbed the bronze medal. A clean short program to music from East of Eden featuring a triple twist and throw triple flip left the couple in second place after the segment. The highlights of the "Nessun Dorna" free skate were a pair of group five lifts both scored as a level 4. Denney and Coughlin, who were both U.S. champions with former partners, earned 162.73 points overall.
Russia's Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov won the gold medal by nearly 20 points over silver medalists and teammates Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov.
En route to 183.65 points, the gold medalists asserted themselves in a free skate that included side-by-side triple toe-double toe combinations and side-by-side triple Salchow. Their level 4 lift (group five) earned 8.15 points and each of the skate's 11 elements received positive GOEs.
Bazarova and Larionov finished in second place for the free skate despite opening the program with falls on their triple toes. They rebounded to perform side-by-side double Axel-double Axel combinations and, like their counterparts on the podium, a pair of difficult lifts.
Americans Tiffany Vise and Don Baldwin were invited to Germany last weekend after Mary Beth Marley and Rockne Brubaker withdrew. They finished seventh.
Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue moved up from second place after the short dance to take the gold in their first senior international competition together. The newly formed team earned 54.82 points in their short dance and 84.19 points in their free dance for a point total of 139.01. In addition to high program component scores, the duo earned level fours on five of their eight elements.
Russia's Nelli Zhiganshina and Alexander Gazsi, who placed fourth at Nebelhorn Trophy last year, took the silver medal. Although they earned level fours on six of their eight elements, they were unable hold on to the gold, earning 55.03 in the short dance and 82.63 in the free dance , for 137.66 points overall.
Third place went to the Canadian team of Kharis Ralph and Asher Hill, who earned 52.03 points in their short dance and 81.91 points in their free dance for a total of 133.94. The Canadians skated their way to the bronze medal, receiving level fours on six of their eight elements. Japan's Cathy Reed and Chris Reed moved up one spot to take fourth place overall. The brother-sister duo received 47.90 points in the short dance and 77.64 in the free dance for a total of 125.54.
Americans Anastasia Olson and Jordan Cowan finished in sixth place with 119.42 points total in their first senior international competition.