Canada's Laurence Fournier Beaudry, Nikolaj Soerensen win ice dance title at NHK Trophy
Canadian pair McIntosh, Mimar take bronze for 1st senior Grand Prix medal
Canadian ice dancers Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Soerensen won gold at the NHK Trophy on Saturday, for their first victory on the ISU Grand Prix figure skating circuit.
It was one of two medals on the day for Canada as Brooke McIntosh of Toronto and Benjamin Mimar of Terrebonne, Que., captured bronze in pairs.
Fournier Beaudry and Soerensen scored an international career-high 210.41 points to beat Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates (209.13), the reigning world bronze medallists. Caroline Green and Michael Parsons were third (91.10).
"There are a lot of emotions and a lot of thoughts," Soerensen said from Sapporo, Japan. "We were just extremely proud of being able to deliver these two performances that brought us to the top of the podium."
The Canadians, who finished ninth at the Beijing Olympics, won silver at their other Grand Prix assignment two weeks ago in France. They'll make their Grand Prix Final debut next month in Turin, Italy.
WATCH | Canadian ice dancers strike gold in Japan:
Canadians score 1st senior Grand Prix medal
McIntosh and Mimar earned a season's best 175.65 points to secure their first senior Grand Prix medal in the second Grand Prix event of their debut senior season.
"We are very happy about our first Grand Prix medal, and I am proud of my partner," Mimar said. "Even with a fall she fought to the end."
Japan's Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara won their second Grand Prix title of the season with 216.16 points, booking their ticket to next month's Grand Prix Final in Turin, Italy. They finished first in both the short program and free skate.
Americans Emily Chan and Spencer Howe took home silver (187.49).
WATCH | Miura, Kihara win pairs title on home ice:
The Canadians entered the day in third place after scoring 62.31 in the short program. They overcame a fall to finish third in the free skate with 113.34 points.
Skating to the Les Miserables soundtrack, McIntosh and Mimar delivered a solid free skate that featured a triple twist lift and triple Lutz throw. McIntosh suffered a hard fall on a triple loop and briefly held her left arm, but the duo quickly recovered and finished strong.
WATCH | Canada's McIntosh, Mimar capture bronze in Japan:
McIntosh and Mimar made their senior Grand Prix debut on home ice last month at Skate Canada International in Mississauga, Ont., where they finished fourth.
The Canadians started their first senior season with bronze at Finlandia Trophy earlier in October. They earned bronze at the world juniors in April and junior gold at the 2022 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in January.
Elsewhere, Japan nearly swept the men's free skate, with Shoma Uno (279.76 points) and Sota Yamamoto (257.85) going 1-2. South Korea's Junhwan Cha was third, followed by Kazuki Tomono of Japan.
Toronto's Stephen Gogolev and Conrad Orzel were eighth and 10th, respectively, of 12 finishers.
WATCH | Shoma Uno beats Japanese teammate Sota Yamamoto in men's program:
Yelim Kim of South Korea reached the top of the women's podium, amassing 204.49 points to edge Kaori Sakamoto of Japan (201.87). Kaori's teammate, Rion Sumiyoshi, was third.
There were no Canadian entries.
The NHK Trophy is the penultimate ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating event of the season, following the MK John Wilson Trophy, Grand Prix de France, Skate Canada International and Skate America.
Skaters are assigned to two Grand Prix competitions, and the top six in each discipline compete in the Grand Prix Final, Dec. 8-11 in Turin, Italy.
WATCH | Asher Hill recaps Canada's big weekend at NHK Trophy:
With files from Jacqueline Doorey and The Canadian Press