One of the most anticipated Challenger Series events, Autumn Classic International, took place in Oakville, Canada, this weekend. It featured a star-studded lineup of both World and Olympic medalists, eager to show off their new programs for the season ahead. The event was livestreamed on Skate Canada’s Dailymotion and can be rewatched here. Protocols from this event can be found here.
🥇 Vanessa James / Morgan Ciprès claimed victory at this competition after two strong performances. They skated a beautiful, clean Short Program to “Uninvited” by Alannis Morisette and their Free Skate to “Wicked Games” was very good, despite an unfortunate mistake on a throw triple Salchow. We look forward to seeing their programs evolve throughout the season, starting with their next competition, Skate Canada.
🥈 Kirsten Moore-Towers / Michael Marinaro captured the silver medal despite an error-filled Free Skate. Their Short Program to “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” by Leona Lewis was an emotional and strong performance, while their Free Skate to a medley of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”, “The Happiest Days of Our Lives” and “Another Brick in the Wall” by Pink Floyd had several mistakes, including issues with levels on lifts. Their next competition will also be Skate Canada, where we hope they’ll be able to fully show their potential.
🥉 Haven Denney / Brandon Frazier captured the bronze medal despite struggling with their Free Skate. Their Short Program to a cover of “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson had an invalidated spin, but showed potential with its choreography and the chemistry between the two. Their Free Skate to “Two Men In Love” by The Irrepressibles had a few mistakes on jumps as well as issues with levels on lifts, but showed deep and mature expression. Their next competition will also be Skate Canada, where we hope they’ll have a better time of it.
🥇 Yuzuru Hanyu claimed victory at this competition despite errors in both segments. His Short Program to “Otoñal” by Raul di Blasio had a couple of tight landings and uncharacteristic mistakes on spins (two received a level 3 and one was invalidated), while his Free Skate to a mash-up of “Art on Ice” and “Magic Stradivarius” by Edvin Marton, entitled “Origin”, had a fall, a pop and a couple of tight landings. Both programs have room to grow and our team is excited to see how it develops throughout the season.
🥈 Junhwan Cha captured the silver medal after two outstanding performances, including a win in the Free Skate segment of the competition. His Short Program to “Walzer-Koda-Attaca” by Mitternacht had a clean quad Salchow and triple Lutz-triple loop combination, one of the most impressive combinations of the day. His Free Skate to a medley of songs from the “Romeo + Juliet” soundtrack divided opinions, with some finding the music cuts and voiceovers excessive and others finding it artistic and innovative. However you feel about the program, he did very well and our team can’t wait until his next competition, Skate Canada.
🥉 Roman Sadovsky captured the bronze medal after two good skates and despite a number of errors. His Free Skate to a mash-up of “Schindler's List” by John Williams and “Bells of Moscow” by Rachmaninov was a highlight of the competition, with a more complex, mature expression than we have seen from him in previous seasons. His next competition will also be Skate Canada and we look forward to seeing him again.
Shout out to Jason Brown, who had his first competition with a new coaching team after making the switch to Brian Orser and Tracy Wilson this off-season, skating an almost perfect Short Program and attempting a quad Salchow in the Free Skate, a first in his career; as well as to Kévin Aymoz, whose stunning Free Skate brought out strong reactions from our team. We’re excited to see both of these skaters develop in the upcoming season!
🥇 Kaitlyn Weaver / Andrew Poje stunned the crowd with two near perfect performances at this event. Their Free Dance to “SOS d'un terrien en détresse” dedicated to the late Denis Ten left no dry eyes in the venue, as they became only the fourth team to score over 120 points in the segment. Although they are taking the Grand Prix Series off to participate in Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s “Thank You Canada” tour, we look forward to seeing both of their stunning programs again at Canadian Nationals in January.
🥈 Olivia Smart / Adrian Diaz captured the silver medal after two strong performances. Their fiery Rhythm Dance to “A Evaristo Carriego” by Eduardo Rovira caught our attention, with its powerful yet sleek choreography by their coaches at Gadbois in Montreal. We will see them at their first Grand Prix assignment, Skate Canada.
🥉 Carolane Soucisse / Shane Firus just managed to stay on the podium after placing third in the Rhythm Dance and fourth in the Free Dance. They had issues in the Free Dance in regards to their levels, both only getting level 1 on their one-footed step sequences, but managed to stay afloat due to their placement in the Rhythm Dance. We will see them compete again in two weeks at another Challenger Series event, Finlandia Trophy.
Shout out to Shiyue Wang / Xinyu Liu for being the only team in the Rhythm Dance to receive over a level 2 in both sections of the Tango Romantica pattern, as well as becoming the first Asian federation Ice Dance team to score over 100 points in the Free Dance!
🥇 Bradie Tennell claimed victory at this competition after two well-rounded performances. Her crowd favorite Short Program “Rebirth” tackled a darker, more mature type of expression than we have seen from her in previous seasons. Now with a triple Lutz-triple loop combination in her arsenal, Bradie will certainly be one to look out for as the season progresses.
🥈 Evgenia Medvedeva, fresh off the Russian test skates, captured the silver medal. Her Short Program to “Orange Colored Sky” by Natalie Cole energized the audience with its cute choreography and bubbly expression, while her Free Skate to a medley of “Mumuki”, “Sur Regresso Al Amor” and “Libertango” by Astor Piazzolla tackled a more mature theme. We’re excited to see how these programs develop and look forward to seeing her compete at Skate Canada next month.
🥉 Maé-Bérénice Méité rounded out the podium, capturing the bronze medal on her birthday. Her Short Program to “Stay” by Rihanna showed off the softer side to her skating, while her Free Skate to “Nyah” by Hans Zimmer gave her a new personal best score in the segment following a fantastic performance. Happy birthday, Maé-Bérénice!
A big shout out to Wakaba Higuchi, who debuted her brand new Free Skate to “Four Seasons” by Vivaldi at this event. Although she only announced her switch to this program last week and struggled through some technical issues, she still did a wonderful job at this competition. We’re excited to see how this program will develop!