ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2016: Gracie Gold Dominates Ladies’ Short Program [Video]
The 2016 ISU World Figure Skating Championships kicked off in Boston on March 30, and Team USA has not disappointed, using the morale boost that comes with skating for the host country in front of home crowds to outperform almost every expectation in the first few events. As of this writing, two divisions have been completed: the Ice Dancing competition and the Men’s Singles competition.
The 2016 ISU World Figure Skating Championships has delivered the best results for Team USA in the Ladies’ Singles short program on March 31, which was dominated by United States national champion Gracie Gold, and the Ice Dancing competition, in which both the silver and bronze medals were won by American teams, also on March 31. The American ladies have performed very admirably after a recent interruption to the cohesion of their team – Polina Edmunds, the 17-year-old silver medalist at the 2016 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships this past January, pulled out of the World Figure Skating Championships due to a bone bruise in her right foot.
— Boston Globe Sports (@BGlobeSports) March 31, 2016
Polina Edmunds was replaced by Mirai Nagasu, 22, who placed fourth at nationals in January and went on to win the silver medal for Ladies’ Singles in the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in February. Four Continents is an international figure skating competition that is designed to mirror the ISU European Figure Skating Championships for non-European skaters, to avoid the European skaters having the advantage of an extra major international competition leading up to the ISU World Figure Skating Championships, held annually beginning in March.
Gracie Gold’s exquisite short program made her the first American woman to win the Ladies’ short program at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships since Mirai Nagasu won in 2010, according to Jackie Wong of the popular figure skating analysis blog Rocker Skating. Gracie Gold, 20, scored 76.43 after the short program. Russian skaters Anna Pogorilaya and Evgenia Medvedeva are in second and third place with 73.98 and 73.76, respectively. American skater Ashley Wagner, the 24-year-old bronze medalist at the 2016 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships this past January, stands in fourth place after the short program with 73.16. Positions two through four are stunningly close, putting Wagner in an excellent position to medal. Mirai Nagasu is in tenth place after the short program with 65.74.
The 2016 ISU World Figure Skating Championships Ice Dancing division were also fantastic for Team USA – United States ice dancing champions Maia and Alex Shibutani, who won gold at the 2016 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, won the silver medals with a final score of 188.43. The Shibutanis, who are siblings, won bronze at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in 2011, and this is their first time back on the podium. The 2016 season has marked an extraordinary comeback for them. The Ice Dancing bronze medals were awarded to Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates, who won silver at Four Continents last month. Chock and Bates achieved a final score of 185.77. Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France, last year’s winners, defended their Ice Dancing world title and won the gold medals with a final score of 194.46.
— Team USA (@TeamUSA) April 1, 2016
The 2016 ISU World Figure Skating Championships Men’s Singles division was certainly exciting, though Team USA did not score a medal. United States national champion Adam Rippon, 26, had an excellent, clean free skate, but his difficulty level was simply not up to that of the other skaters, and it landed him in a respectable sixth place with a final score of 264.44. The other two American skaters, Max Aaron, 24, and Grant Hochstein, 25, placed eighth and tenth with final scores of 254.14 and 237.29, respectively. The problem here is that due to lack of performance, the United States did not qualify to send three men to the 2017 ISU World Figure Skating Championships next March, and will only receive two slots. In order to earn a third slot, a country’s top two finishers’ places must add up to 13 or less. Adam Rippon’s sixth place and Max Aaron’s eighth place add up to 14.
The 2016 ISU World Figure Skating Championships Men’s Singles title went to last year’s world champion, Spain’s Javier Fernandez, who earned his second gold medal at Worlds with the performance of his career. Fernandez has also won two ISU World Championships bronze medals, and is a four-time European champion and six-time Spanish national champion. Javier Fernandez, 24, achieved a mind-blowing final score of 314.93. The silver medal went to a fan favorite, Japanese skater Yuzuru Hanyu, who achieved a final score of 295.17. In a surprise upset, 18-year-old Chinese skater Boyang Jin overtook Canada’s Patrick Chan — another fan favorite as well as the gold medalist in Men’s Singles at Four Continents last month — to win the bronze medal with a final score of 270.99.
— Mirai Nagasu (@mirai_nagasu) April 2, 2016
— Maia Shibutani (@MaiaShibutani) April 2, 2016
[Image courtesy of Maddie Meyer/Getty Images]