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2015 WORLD TEAM TROPHY With the title on the line, the eight

members of Team USA waited nervous- ly in the kiss and cry for Gracie Gold’s free skate score to be announced at the 2015 World Team Trophy in Tokyo, Ja- pan. Te defending World Team Trophy champions knew what Gold’s placement needed to be to secure the United States’ third World Team Trophy title (2009, 2013). “When we saw her scores come

up, we knew we had won, but we didn’t want to celebrate until it was officially announced,” U.S. pairs competitor Al- exa Scimeca said. “Once we heard that Team USA had won, we couldn’t con- tain our enthusiasm for winning the gold.”

Jason Brown Gracie Gold

Gold’s fifth-place finish in the free skate generated eight points and provid- ed Team USA with a one-point margin of victory (110-109) over Team Russia. Team Japan earned the bronze medal with 103 points. “My feelings were a mixture of re- lief and jubilation,” Gold said of the fi- nal announcement of the scores. “It’s the perfect finish to the competitive season.” “I was so happy and proud of all my teammates,” Max Aaron said.


know they were all so tired from the long season, but I know everyone gave it their all at this event.” Given the closeness of the final

Max Aaron

results, the performances of each mem- ber and team of Team USA were critical to the outcome of the six-nation com- petition, which took place in front of 25,000 people at Yoyogi National Stadi- um, April 16–19. For the ladies, Gold and Ash-

ley Wagner more than held their own against the powerhouse Russian contin- gent.

In the short program, Gold posted

a career-best score (71.26) and won that segment over World champion Elizaveta Tuktamisheva and World bronze medal- ist Elena Radionova.

“I was delighted to have delivered

such a strong short program,” Gold, the U.S. silver medalist, said. “I think it re- ally reflected how I have grown as a skat- er.”

Wagner was solid in the free skate,

finishing fourth in that segment while chalking up nine points. Wagner’s effort included a triple Lutz-triple toe com- bination. Tree of her jumps, however, received edge calls or were determined underrotated. “I went out there and went for ev-

Alexa Scimeca and Christopher Knierim

erything,” the three-time and reigning U.S. champion said. “I felt so solid with all of my jumps. Tere were a couple of (deductions) that I’m uncertain about, so I’ll have to go back and watch it on replay.” Gold’s free skate started with a fall on her opening jump. “I never gave up, though, on the program,” she said. “Te team gold

medal was on the line, and I delivered enough to seal the deal.” Tuktamisheva won the free skate, which included an opening triple Axel. U.S. champion Jason Brown led

the men’s charge with his second-place effort (11 points) in the free skate. He landed eight triple jumps in his sea- son-best routine to Tristan and Iseult. “My biggest goal was to skate two solid, clean programs that my teammates could be proud of, and to contribute as many points as I could to help the team win,” Brown, who fin- ished third in the short program, said. “I couldn’t have been more pleased and excited when I was able to see that goal through.” Aaron, the 2013 U.S. champion,

performed new programs, which he plans to carry over into next season. Competing as a team, he said, reminded him of his junior hockey days. “It felt so great to have your team-

mates cheering you on like crazy and knowing that they were always going to be there for you,” Aaron said. U.S. champion ice dancers Madi- son Chock and Evan Bates, the World silver medalists, finished second in the short dance and third in the free dance for a total of 21 points. Team Canada and Team France edged the U.S. overall. “Tis was an amazing competi-

tion,” Bates, the team captain, said. “Watching is so much more stressful than being on the ice and skating. Some of the most nerve-wracking moments I’ve experienced in this sport have been at this competition. It’s thrilling to ex- perience that as a team. To have our fate tied together is the essence of the event and it’s wonderful.”

Arguably the biggest points for the

U.S. came from Scimeca and her part- ner Christopher Knierim in the pairs free skate. Te U.S. champions finished third to claim 10 points, ahead of Rus- sia’s standout team of Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov. Teir signature quad twist got the

program off to a great start and the cou- ple hit their side-by-side triple Salchows to keep the momentum going. Scimeca and Knierim finished fourth in the short program. “We finished the season on a high

note,” Scimeca said. “It was great satis- faction to walk away from those pro- grams and season knowing we had con- tinually improved throughout the year. Our long program was a season-best and we felt we skated our season’s best, too. Te entire competition was a joy.” When asked who he would give a hypothetical most valuable player award to, Bates picked Scimeca and Knierim. “Teir long program today was

phenomenal,” Bates said. “I think their performance made the difference for us.”






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