Tuktamysheva wins free skate but US wins World Team Trophy

Tuktamysheva wins free skate but US wins World Team Trophy
Members of the U.S. team, from left in front low, Ashley Cain, Bradie Tennell, Mariah Bell, Madison Hubbell, from left in the background, Timothy Leduc, Zachary Donohue, Vincent Zhou and Nathan Chen pose with their gold medals for photographer during an award ceremony of the ISU World Team Trophy Figure Skating competition Saturday, April 13, 2019 in Fukuoka, southwestern Japan. (AP Photo/Toru Hanai)

FUKUOKA, Japan (AP) — Russia’s Elizaveta Tuktamysheva won the women’s free skate but the United States held on to its huge overnight lead to win figure skating’s World Team Trophy for the fourth time on Saturday.

The U.S. topped the team standings with 117 points, owning to one-two finishes in the men’s short and free programs in recent days by two-time and reigning world champion Nathan Chen and world bronze medalist Vincent Zhou. Defending champion Japan finished second overall with 104 points and Russia was third with 102.

Tuktamysheva opened her free skate with a flawless triple axel, followed it up with a triple lutz-triple toe loop combination and added three more triples, two more combinations and a variety of maximum level-four spins and steps to earn 153.89 points.

The 2015 world champion and the runner-up to Japan’s Rika Kihira in the short program on Thursday, Tuktamysheva skated to a medley that included “You Don’t Love Me” by Caro Emerald.

American Bradie Tennell finished second with 150.83 points and Kaori Sakamoto, Japan’s national champion, was third with 146.70.

Kihira, 16, won the Grand Prix Final and Four Continents titles this season but finished fifth with 138.37 points after falling in her opening triple axel and during a triple-triple combination halfway through.

“This was an extremely successful event for Team USA,” said U.S. captain Madison Hubbell, who combined with Zachary Donohue to finish third in both the short and long ice dance programs. “Everyone had beautiful performances including today, the highlight of course being Bradie Tennell’s season’s best. An absolutely great way to finish the event for us.”

European champions Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres of France won the pairs free skate with 152.52 points. The Russian pair of Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert finished second with 141.32 and Canada’s Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro, the Four Continents silver medalists, were third with 131.84.

The competition among the season’s six best nations has been held six times as a season-closing major figure skating event almost biennially since 2009. The United States also won the title in 2009, 2013 and 2015, and Japan took top honors in 2012 and 2017.


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