Trusova wins Skate America title in Las Vegas

Winnipeg (Canada) (AFP) – World bronze medallist Alexandra Trusova was the runaway winner at Skate America in Las Vegas on Sunday, opening her performance with a picture-perfect quadruple lutz jump.

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Her Russian training mate Daria Usacheva, 15, hung on for silver despite finishing fourth in the finale.

South Korean You Young , 17, climbed from fifth into bronze medal position with her technically ambitious routine featuring two triple-triple jump combinations and the only triple Axel attempted among the 12 women.

Trusova, who has been nursing a foot injury, had considered withdrawing from the competition but, instead, significantly scaled back the technical content in her Cruella programme.

The 17-year-old routinely unleashes as many as five quads in her free skate but one was enough on this day, considering the 10 per cent bonus she earned for two triple-triple jump combinations done late in her routine.

“The program was very easy for me today. I only did one quad today. I was happy that I was able to skate clean, but in the future I’d like to do more quads,” Trusova said.

“Obviously, right now I’m not in my best shape and I’m hoping to get back into shape and get to the Olympic Games.”

Trusova earned 154.68 points for her free program and a total competition score of 232, while Usacheva added 140.60 points for a total of 217.31.

You ranked second for her Les Miserables free skate (146.24), finishing with 216.97, just one point ahead of Japanese Kaori Sakamoto whose fiery performance was ironically set to music entitled “No More Fight Left in Me.”

“I felt a lot more confident than yesterday so that’s why the program was better today,” said You, who on her triple Axel in the opener. “I keep doing a lot of (lower level) competitions to not get nervous in the programmes. It makes competition more like practice.”

The three medallists will meet again at the NHK Trophy in Japan in three weeks.

Earlier Sunday, ice dancers Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue captured their fourth straight Skate America title, squeaking out the win less than two points clear of US teammates Madison Chock and Evan Bates.

The 2021 world silver medallists earned 125.96 points for their romance-styled free dance and 209.54 overall.

Chock and Bates tallied 125.68 for their galactic, alien-themed programme with avant-garde choreography set to the electronic sounds of Daft Punk, and 208.23 in all.

Canadians Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sorensen claimed the bronze medal on 190.13, a fraction of a point ahead of Spain’s Olivia Smart and Adrian Diaz.

Both Russia and the US leave Las Vegas with two of four Skate America gold medals with US men’s competitor Vincent Zhou and Russian pair Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov having posted decisive victories in their respective disciplines on Saturday.

Next up in the six-event ISU Grand Prix series is Skate Canada International.

World men’s champ Nathan Chen, of the US, who was relegated to bronze this time, and Smart and Diaz are the only competitors making the quick turnaround from Las Vegas to Vancouver.