CHONGQIN, China – Ice dancers Laurence Fournier Beaury and Nikolaj Sorensen of Montreal and new Canadian pairs team Lubov Ilyushechkina and Charlie Bilodeau won bronze medals Saturday to conclude the Cup of China, the fourth stop on the ISU Grand Prix figure skating circuit.
In ice dancing, the top-three remained unchanged with Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia winning the gold medal with 209.90 points. Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the U.S. won the free dance but it wasn’t enough to catch the Russians as they totalled 208.55.
Fournier Beaudry and Soresen notched their second bronze this season on the circuit with 190.74.
“Today we had a bit of a rough skate,” said Sorensen. “It’s really a testimony to our training that we were able to get into third place and we are really happy about that.”
In pairs, Chinese teams grabbed the top-two spots with world champions Wenjing Sui and Cong Han first at 228.37 and Cheng Peng and Yang Jin second at 199.97. Ilyushechkina and Bilodeau improved on their fifth place finish from Skate Canada International two weeks ago for third with 190.73.
“It was definitely one of our tougher skates,” said Ilyushechkina, from Toronto. “We’re happy we fought for every single element but there were still a lot of points left on the table.”
It was a first Grand Prix medal for the couple which joined forces this past spring.
“We put together some nice performances here all things considered,” said Bilodeau, from Trois-Pistoles, Que. “It was our first competition in Asia and our third event in a month and a half. So it’s been a pretty intense period.”
In men’s competition, Keegan Messing of Sherwood Park, Alta., posted the third best free skate to climb to fourth spot overall with 237.36.
It was a 1-2 Chinese finish with Boyang Jin first at 261.53 followed by Han Yan at 249.45. Matteo Rizzo of Italy took the bronze at 241.88.
“My free skate is a hard program for me to get through,” said Messing, fifth after the short on Friday. “To get out there and skate it as well as I did, is a little weight off my chest and I feel like I can be really happy leaving here now.”
Conrad Orzel of Woodbridge, Ont., completed his Grand Prix debut in 11th place.
The fifth stop on the circuit is this Friday and Saturday in Moscow.
Full results: ISU GP SHISEIDO Cup of China 2019