Japan's Rika Hongo pulled the upset win over favorite Anna Pogorilaya, claiming the first Grand Prix medal for a nation other than Russia. She skated two clean programs- something that the other medallists were unable to do- and won her first Grand Prix medal. Personally, Hongo does not wow me, but she had a good competition. Unfortunately, her fifth place earlier in the Grand Prix will not be enough to get her to the Final, but sets her up well for her Japanese Nationals, a competition that looks more and more interesting each day.
Anna Pogorilaya struggled here, but managed to stay on the podium for the silver medal. She seemed disconnected from her music and her jumps were tentative and off. As expected, she has solidified a spot in the Final with her two medals in the Grand Prix. I am excited to see her skate against the other Russian ladies in December at that competition. She will need to have a fiery and clean skate there to better the likes of Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, Julia Lipnitskya and Elena Radionova.
The bronze medal went to another surprise- Alaine Chartrand from Canada. She actually led the field after the short program after a great skate. She struggled in the free skate; her music overpowered her and the jumps were messy. She left the door open enough to fall two places, but held on strong for her first Grand Prix medal. Considering no one really expected this finish, she has to be pleased with that. She also will not compete in the Final, but we will probably see her again at Worlds.
Other News Off the Podium: Mirai Nagasu had a much better outing here that at Skate America and won fourth place. She lost many points in the free skate (about 10) on under rotated jumps. If she had cleaned those up, she could've gotten on the podium. It's an improvement and we'll see what she brings to Nationals.
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