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Virtue and Moir in the Lead, U.S. Teams Fight for the Podium

After the ladies, pairs and men have taken to the ice, it is time for ice dance. The ice dance event brought about some unexpected surprises. It is clear who the favorites are, but the second to fourth place scores are virtually tied. This should make for a very exciting free dance.

Virtue and Moir Ahead of the Pack

It is not shocking to see 2010 Olympic Champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir in the lead. The two skated extremely well and have really improved their short dance as their season has progressed. They received a personal best score of 82.43. This high score put them 6 points ahead of the second place finishers.

“It’s a really wonderful thing to be back at world Championships,” Tessa said in an ISU press release. “Technically we really try to raise the level of our skating and we needed to because the level of competition is so stiff and so strong. But also part of this comeback was to skate artistically in a way that we feel represents the place we are in right now as artists.”

Papadakis and Cizeron May be at the End of their Reign

Currently the two-time reigning world champions, Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron are in second place. They skated well, but received a level 3 on their opening twizzles. Two more elements were also given level 3’s, which is not ideal for them. These two have a lovely free dance, but with a 6 point gap between them and Virtue and Moir it is doubtful that they will be able to defend their title.

It has also been reported that Cizeron was taken to the doctor after their performance to get stitches on his hand. Apparently he cut himself in between his fingers trying to grab his blade on the twizzles. He was treated and is ready for the free dance. 

“I think the way we approach the competition is that Gabi and I haven’t anything to lose here,” Cizeron said. “We just want to skate as best as we can, have the best feeling on the ice and share the experience with the other skaters and the public.”

The Shibutanis Fall Behind

Here’s where things get interesting. I believe that we have only seen it once this season where Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue overcame Chock and Bates in the short dance. This time Hubbell and Donohue not only surpassed Chock and Bates, but they also overcame Maia and Alex Shibutani. In fact Chock and Bates also overcame the Shibutanis.

Maia and Alex Shibutani did not have the best short dance. They seemed a bit slow and somewhat stiff. They certainly did not have that spark that they had at the U.S. Championships. Though the brother-sister team skated well, they left points on the table by not receiving level 4s on two of their elements. They are currently in fifth place with a score of 74.88. They have some ground to make up in the free skate if they want to get onto the podium.

Hubbell and Donohue Have a Breakthrough Moment

Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue on the other hand, brought their best. They may not have been able to get the audience on board for their short dance, but they captured the attention of the judges. Madison and Zachary are in third place with a score of 76.53, which is only 0.36 points away from second place. They will have to be flawless in the free dance, but they have the potential to make it onto the podium this year.

“We’re just ecstatic,” Hubbell said. “We really changed our mindset and didn’t limit ourselves in what we [thought we] were capable of. [We]  really wrapped our minds around the possibility of being the very best in the world. We’ve seen the fruit of that work today. We get to celebrate our end of the season with the short dance and then flip the page when we wake up tomorrow and focus on free.”

Chock and Bates Stay in the Mix

Another American team fighting to stay in the mix is Madison Chock and Evan Bates. They also had a strong short dance. They are currently in fourth place with a score of 76.25.“It’s very tight and tomorrow will definitely be a fight for everyone,” Madison said according to a U.S. Figure Skating press release. “We’re ready to fight. We’ve trained really hard and we are ready.”

These top teams are so close in points that it will be theirs to win or lose in the free dance. The second to fourth place finishers are all in the 76-point range, which means the fight to the podium will be fierce. It all comes down to the free dance which is tomorrow, April 1. For the full results and score listing, please visit the results page.

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