Canadian ice dancers Marie-Jade Lauriault, Romain Le Gac capture bronze at Skate America

Canadian ice dancers Marie-Jade Lauriault and Romain Le Gac won bronze on the final day of Skate America, the opening ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating event of the season.

Americans Chock, Bates win gold at Skate America for 1st time in 7 years

Canada's Marie-Jade Lauriault, left, and Romain Le Gac won ice dance bronze at Skate America following a third-place finish in the free dance on Sunday in Norwood, Massachusetts. (@SkateCanada/Twitter)

Canadian ice dancers Marie-Jade Lauriault and Romain Le Gac won bronze on the final day of Skate America, the opening ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating event of the season.

The duo from Quebec finished with 178.30 points following a third-place finish in the free dance on Sunday in Norwood, Massachusetts. 

The Canadians entered the day in podium position after finishing third in Saturday's rhythm dance with 72.12 points, and they secured bronze with another strong performance.

"It was a dream we've had for a long time. Now that we've reached this goal it opens the door to many more dreams we'd like to see come true," Lauriault said.

Lauriault and Le Gac have been married since 2015. They represented France until 2020 before switching to represent Canada.

WATCH | Canada's Lauriault, Romain Le Gac win ice dance bronze: 

Canada's Lauriault, Le Gac capture ice dance bronze at Skate America

2 years ago
Duration 9:20
Canadian ice dancers Marie-Jade Lauriault and Romain Le Gac finish third at Skate America with a total score of 178.30.

Chock, Bates win gold

Madison Chock and Evan Bates stood atop the podium at Skate America for the first time in seven years, and along the way, stepped into the spotlight as the preeminent American ice dancers following the retirement of close friends and longtime training mates Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue.

Despite a miscue on their character step sequence — they got no points for the free dance element — Chock and Bates still managed to squeak by fellow Americans Kaitlin Hawayak and Jean-Luc Baker by the slimmest of margins.

Chock and Bates scored 202.80 points, while Hawayak and Baker finished with 202.07.

WATCH | Chock, Bates top ice dance podium: 

Chock, Bates win Skate America ice dance title

2 years ago
Duration 9:07
Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the United States finish first in the ice dance competition at Skate America.

"Obviously there's work to do," Bates said, "but we're not a couple to shy away from that. We definitely know what we need to work on. We have a couple of weeks at home before we head off to Japan for NHK Trophy and we know what to do."

Chock and Bates, who were third at worlds this year and became engaged in June, acknowledged they didn't perform as well at the Tenley E. Albright Performance Center near Boston as they had been at their training base in Montreal.

They lamented a couple of bobbles during their rhythm dance Saturday, though it was still good enough to leave them in first place. Then came the mistake on their character step sequence during their free dance, when they did not stretch the element from the boards on one side to the boards on the other and received no credit for it.

"It won't happen again," Chock said with a laugh. "We will fix it."

Meanwhile, the pairing of Hawayak and Baker — who train with Chock and Bates under Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon in Montreal — almost claimed the biggest title of their careers. Their free dance was nearly perfect Sunday, giving them the win on the day if not their first Grand Prix win since the 2018 NHK Trophy.

"Today felt really aligned between Jean-Luc and I. We felt really grounded going into the event," Hawayak said, "and really performed, because this season, we're really stepping into a place where we're owning what we're doing. And we're believing what we're doing is good enough to be the best in the world. We're just really happy with the response today."

Canada's Carolane Soucisse and Shane Firus finished eight with 163.65 points following a seventh-place result in free dance. The duo finished ninth in Saturday's rhythm dance.

WATCH | 2022 Skate America - Ice dance free dance: 

ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating: Skate America - Ice Dance Free Dance

2 years ago
Duration 1:44:39
Watch the ice dance free dance at Skate America from Norwood, Mass.

World champion Sakamoto wins women's competition

In the women's competition, world champion Kaori Sakamoto of Japan performed brilliantly to hold off 15-year-old American star Isabeau Levito, who made a sublime Grand Prix debut to finish second. Amber Glenn of the U.S. was third.

Levito had ground to make up after her short program, and she spun out of an opening triple lutz-triple toe loop Sunday. But she roared back to hit a triple salchow, a pair of double axels around a triple flip, then fought for the landing on a triple lutz-triple toe loop. She finished with another combination to post a score of 206.66 points.

The Olympic bronze medallist never wavered during her free skate to "Elastic Heart" by the Australian singer-songwriter Sia. From her opening double axel, perhaps the best in all of figure skating, to a double axel-triple toe loop that landed near the end of her program, Sakamoto kept the sellout crowd in Norwood, Massachusetts, downright captivated.

Sakamoto finished with 217.61 points to win a Grand Prix event for the third straight year.

"I was pretty upset that I missed the combo, the first element," Levito said afterward. "You have your most energy in the beginning and I was pretty upset that I missed that, but I was somewhat satisfied by the rest of the program."

WATCH | Sakamoto claims Skate America title:

Reigning world champion Sakamoto claims Skate America title

2 years ago
Duration 7:27
Kaori Sakamoto of Japan wins the women's competition at Skate America with a total score of 217.61.

With files from CBC Sports

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