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Bazarova, Larionov skate to first Grand Prix gold

Moore-Towers, Moscovitch lock up spot in Final with silver; Castelli, Shnapir take bronze

Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov are the third different Russian pairs team to win a Grand Prix event this season.
Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov are the third different Russian pairs team to win a Grand Prix event this season. (Getty Images)

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By International Skating Union
(11/25/2012) - Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov of Russia skated to the pairs gold medal at the 2012 NHK Trophy. Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch claimed the silver, and Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir took the bronze medal.

Bazarova and Larionov's program to music from Spartacus was highlighted by a Level 4 triple twist, throw triple flip and throw triple loop as well as difficult lifts. Their side-by-side triple toes were out of sync, however, and Bazarova under-rotated a double Axel.

The Russian champions scored a season's best in the free skate with 126.41 points and accumlated 192.02 points overall.

"This is the first time for us to win a senior Grand Prix event in our career, and it is very exciting for us. There are a lot of emotions right now," Bazarova said. "Obviously, there were some minor errors on the jumps today, so this is something we'll work on."

Bazarova and Larionov will take part in the Grand Prix Final, their second, next month in Sochi, Russia.

Skating to a Queen medley, Moore-Towers and Moscovitch produced a triple twist, side-by-side triple Salchows, a throw triple loop and interesting lifts. Their mistakes included their missing the throw triple Salchow and his stumbling on the triple toe.

The Canadians were awarded 115.49 points in the segment and totaled 180.63 for the competition.

"We're obviously very happy to win a medal. It is our first NHK Trophy. The skate wasn't ideal for us. We could have skated a stronger performance, but we are happy with the outcome," Moscovitch said. "We are excited to go to the Grand Prix Final in Russia."

Castelli and Shnapir completed a triple toe, triple twist and Level 4 spins and lifts in their tango program. She encountered a couple problems along the way, falling on a double Axel and touching down on both throws.

The Americans earned 112.66 points and remained in third place having amassed 174.51 points.

"Marissa and I are very happy with our placement. It is our first Grand Prix medal. The way we skated was not the best. We made a few errors, but all in all we are happy with ourselves," Shnapir said. "We felt good at the end of the program and definitely felt the energy from the audience."

Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim of the U.S. finished fourth with 163.10 points in what was their Grand Prix debut. Russia's Anastasia Martiusheva and Alexei Rogonov slipped from fourth to fifth with 162.25 points.