Japan wins team skating worlds, Canada 3rd
Women collapse, pairs come through for Canadians
Akiko Suzuki finished second in the free skate and first overall in the women's program on Saturday as host Japan won the International Skating Union's World Team Trophy in Tokyo on Sunday.
Ashley Wagner of the United States won the 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.
Canada was third overall with 42 points, despite a poor performance by the women’s duo of Amelie Lacoste, who was 10th of 12, and Cynthia Phaneuf, who was last. The Canadian team was spurred on the final day by a sparkling second place performance from Megan Duhamel and Eric Radford in the pairs event.
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."
Suzuki, who was also second in the women's 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 United States 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.
Russians Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov finished first in the pairs event with 180.70 points. Canadians Duhamel and Radford 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.