Figure Skating

Japan wins ISU World Team Trophy; Canada third

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The Canadian Press
4/21/2012 12:05:16 PM
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TOKYO -- A strong performance from pairs skaters Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford ensured a bronze medal for Canada on Saturday at the World Team Trophy figure skating event.

Canada finished third overall behind Japan and the U.S. with 42 points after starting the day in fifth.

Duhamel, from Lively, Ont., and Radford, from Balmerton, Ont. produced a triple twist, triple Salchow, throw tripletoe loop and Lutz in their routine to "Viva la Vida" and "Yellow" by Coldplay to earn 118.35 points in the free skate. Duhamel only stumbled on the tripletoe as the duo totalled 177.62 points to pull up from fourth to second.

"It was the best we could have done in this moment. Obviously I had one little bobble, but to start out with a bobble like that and to do the rest of it the best we could is a really good feeling," Duhamel said. "This skate is for us. It was a great way to end the season. Next year we're going to take off right where we left off and build even higher."

Akiko Suzuki finished second in the free skate and first overall in the women's program as host Japan took the overall title.

Ashley Wagner of the U.S. won the women's free skate with 122.29 points but Japan held a solid eight-point lead after Daisuke Takahashi won the men's free skate on Friday and finished the competition with 55 points, two ahead of the Americans.

The Canadians had an up and down week at the event, but managed to get on the podium after beating France in the tie-breaker on individual placements.

"We kind of came in and had some OK skates from some of our top athletes and then it was also nice to see some people with less experience to have great performances," said ice dancer Scott Moir of Ilderton, Ont. "This gave our team a boost and gave us a shot to come after this third place."

Suzuki, who was also second in the short program, had 120.28 points in the free skate and finished first overall with 187.79 points. Her only major mistake came when she under-rotated a double loop in a combination jump.

"The results for Japan were great but I felt the content of my program needs some work heading to next season," Suzuki said. "It was a tough competition to prepare for coming so close after the worlds but I'm happy we won."

The U.S. won the inaugural World Team Trophy in 2009 in Tokyo.

Wagner, who was fifth after the short program, turned in one of her best performances of the season in a free skate that got a standing ovation from the crowd at Yoyogi Arena.

"That performance was just the way I wanted to end my 'Black Swan' program," Wagner said. "It's one of my favourite programs by far and to skate it clean is quite extraordinary. To top it off, I had a great double axel-triple toe. Overall, it was a solid program."

World champion Carolina Kostner of Italy was third in the free skate with 116.24 points. Kostner fell on a triple-toeloop, double toeloop combination and singled a double axel.

Amelie Lacoste of Delson, Que., and Cynthia Phaneuf of Contrecoeur, Que., finished 10th and 12th, respectively.

Russians Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov finished first in the pairs event with 180.70 points. Duhamel and Radford, the Canadian champions, were second with 177.62 points followed by the Japanese pair of Narumi Takahashi and Mervin Tran, who had 177.56 points.

Figure skating's team event will make its Olympic debut in 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Each team consists of two women, two men, one pair and one ice dancing couple.

"This is turning into an exciting event. I was here in 2009 and it is a lot different feeling to know it's going to be at the Olympic Games," Moir said. "Hopefully we can catch up and try to challenge the Americans and the Japanese in the Olympics. But we have some work to do in order to be in that league."

Japanese Figure Skating team Celebrates (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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