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Finnish teams flaunt synchro skills at French Cup

USA's Haydenettes land seventh in seniors; Skyliners grab fourth place in juniors

The Skyliners, who finished fourth in juniors, enjoy the Rouen scenery.
The Skyliners, who finished fourth in juniors, enjoy the Rouen scenery. (courtesy of U.S. Figure Skating)

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By Renee Felton, special to icenetwork.com
(02/04/2013) - Finland's Team Unique is on a roll, earning its second gold medal in three weeks at the 2013 French Cup in Rouen, France, after also winning the 2013 Cup of Berlin title in the synchronized season opener.

Their teammates, the Rockettes, also added another medal to their season count by taking home the bronze. Russia's Paradise captured the silver.

Team Unique's two-point lead grew to a final margin of eight after the free skate, as the team totaled 214.00 points. Their score improved by nearly nine points over their marks in Berlin.

The free skate began strong, with Level 4 moves in the field sequence that received a GOE (grades of execution) of 3.0, the highest in figure skating. That element, combined with five more, earned more than seven points each, helping the team to a final segment score of 139.82 points.

Team Paradise, which received a final score of 206.00 points, also turned in two clean programs. The highlight of the free skate was their Level 4 no hold element worth 7.90 points.

The Rockettes earned bronze with 199.00 points. They maintained medal standing despite placing fourth in the free skate.

Team USA was represented by the 20-time U.S. champion Haydenettes and the Ice'Kateers in Rouen. The Haydenettes earned 183.00 points en route to a seventh-place finish, while the Ice'Kateers finished 11th.

In the junior competition, the Skyliners, who already earned one of Team USA's spots at the upcoming 2013 Synchronized World Junior Championships in March, finished in a close fourth place with 139.84 points. They moved up from seventh place after the short program.

"We had so much fun and were incredibly proud of our performance," Skyliners team member Dana Manson said. "We are pleased with our fourth-place finish and are ready to get back home to prepare for the U.S. championships and world juniors."

Standing atop the junior podium were a pair of Finnish teams.

The Musketeers led the charge, earning 163.36 points and the gold medal. Team Mystique won silver with 152.04 points, followed by Sweden's Team Convivium in the third spot with 143.06.

The winners' free skate was the best by a convincing margin, despite two points in deductions. The program included three elements scored at a Level 4 and totaled 105.98 points. Team Mystique was the only other team to earn more than 100 points for the free skate at 101.02 points.

Also from the United States, Team Braemar finished sixth in the junior event with 136.86 points.

The international synchronized skating season continues next weekend with the Spring Cup from Sesto San Giovanni, Italy.