(December 4, 2006)
The Ice Dancing event concluded in Japan, Saturday with the Free Dance. Marie-France Dubreuil/Patrice Lauzon maintained their lead and skated off with the gold medal. Russia’s Jana Khokhlova/Sergei Novitski captured the silver and Melissa Gregory/Denis Petukhov of the US settled for the bronze medal.
Dubreuil/Lauzon put out a very sophisticated performance to At Last by Etta James, producing impressive lifts including a spectacular straight line lift with smooth steps and a level-four combination spin. The World silver medalists received 97.38 points (48.70 element score/48.68 program component score) and took the title for the second consecutive year with a total of 195.89 points.
“Today we were satisfied with our performance. We’ve had a very stressful week in between Skate Canada and this one. We got a new short program (original dance) and didn’t get to practice the free dance, and we’ve changed part of the free dance as well. It was important for us to put out a solid performance before we go on to St. Petersburg to the Final”, Dubreuil said. “In the free dance, we just changed some parts in the last parts to avoid being on two feet and to add difficulty in the linking footwork,” she elaborated.
Khokholova/Novitski’s fast-paced dance to Aranjuez Mon Amour featured fluid footwork, a dance spin and interesting lifts that showed off her flexibility. The Russians picked up 91.76 points (48.50/43.26), setting a new personal best for themselves. Overall they got 180.57 points.
“We aren’t in Japan for the first time, and we are always well received here, and we’re very pleased to have won our first Grand Prix silver medal here”, Novitski said. “We have mixed feelings. We’re sad that we didn’t make the Grand Prix Final, but on the other hand we’re happy that we skated well here. We’ll continue to work hard. This wasn’t the last competition of the season, and we’ll show our best skating at the European and World Championships”, Khokhlova added.
Gregory/Petukhov completed a level-four circular footwork and innovative lifts including a straight line lift with her standing on his skates and leaning forward in their dramatic program named Adam and Eve. The husband-and-wife team scored 89.63 points (47.50/42.13) and collected a total of 177.81. They remained in third place but qualified for the Grand Prix Final.
“It was a pleasure to compete here in Japan. It was a really good event. Our performance was also very enjoyable here at this arena. We’re looking forward to improve some technical aspects in our programs,” Petukhov commented. “We had a very good skate here and it was good enough that we get to go to our first Grand Prix Final which we are very excited about,” Gregory added.
Dubreuil/Lauzon now advance to the Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final with the maximum of 30 points. Gregory/Petukhov qualify with 24 points, winning the second tie-breaker (total score) over Khokhlova/ Novitski, who had 4.36 points less in the combined score of both their Grand Prix events.