In pairs, none of the other teams could crack the Chinese juggernaut. The Zhangs are back in business after injury last season with a win in Paris. Teammates Pang and Tong, competing in their 3rd event of the season (Paris was a nonscoring event for them) captured the silver. Mukhortova and Trankov of Russia took the Bronze. Also of note are Americans Vise and Trent who finished fourth. I saw this team put down a clean performance in Canada and then they actually finished 3rd in the Free in Paris. American Pairs is wide open (and I mean Wide!) right now and I think this is a team to watch in St. Paul.
In Ice Dance Delobel and Schoenfelder started the season with a win at home despite running into a bit of a issue in the Free Dance. Russians Khoklova and Novitski, who took silver, out skated the French veterans in the Free Dance. Americans Davis and White took the bronze. I also think this team has been seriously under marked this season. Their difficulty is top notch and they aren't getting the credit for it, shame on the judges. Their scores were higher than what they had previously achieved at Skate America. Maybe the Grand Prix gods will smile down upon them and they'll eek into the final...but it doesn't look promising (sigh). Cappellini and Lanotte, who finished fourth, sit on the Grand Prix bubble with 22 points (they did get the better placement ahead of their veteran teammates Faiella and Scali who also have 22 points due to their silver in Canada...interesting).
In ladies it was Mao Asada on top...again. She defeated American Kimmie Meissner by close to 20 points even with 2 points deduction. Kimmie apparently had a less than stellar free skate as she was out skated by teammate Ashley Wagner who won the bronze. Ashley showed very high technical marks in her free skate and is among what I call "the sleeping giants" of ladies American figure skating (Zhang, Wagner, Nagasu). With that Mao Asada clinches a spot at the Grand Prix Final with the max possible points of 30. Kinmberly Meissner actually clinches a spot as well and qualifies for the first time in her career to the Grand Prix Final (hard to believe the 2006 World Champ has never been to the Grand Prix Final).
Next week skaters will be in Moscow for Cup of Russia!