ESPOO, Finland – Canadian ice dancers Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha maintained their seventh-place position after Sunday’s free dance to conclude the Finlandia Trophy figure skating competition, the fourth stop on the ISU Challenger Series.
Four-time world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France took the gold with 217.54 points. Defending champions Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the U.S. followed at 208.31 and Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson of Britain were third at 190.39.
Lajoie and Lagha, the 2019 world junior champions, ranked seventh in both programs this week finishing with 181.03. They were fourth in their season debut at the Autumn Classic International last month in Pierrefonds, Que.
‘’We were really nervous,’’ said Lagha, 22, from St-Hubert, Que. ‘’It was a good accomplishment to get through a performance like that.’’
The couple had firm objectives for this event.
‘’Every little element there was a stress for us,’’ added Lajoie, 20, from Boucherville, Que. ‘’We wanted to make sure we successfully check marked each of the sections in our program. In the end we were quite happy about it.’’
Carolane Soucisse of Chateauguay, Que., and Shane Firus of North Vancouver climbed three spots after the rhythm dance to place 11th.
‘’We are super happy with free dance, it went as planned,’’ said Soucisse. ‘’We were confident going in. There’s some work to do on the rhythm dance but the programs are taking form and trending in the right direction.’’
The couple was delighted to perform before spectators.
‘’It was great to be in front of a crowd again and they really carried us through our free dance,’’ said Firus, fifth with his partner at the Autumn Classic International.
In women’s competition, Madeline Schizas of Oakville, Ont., brought a huge cheer from the crowd with her eighth-ranked free skate to jump from 12th after the short program to ninth overall. The 18-year-old produced a clean program which opened with a triple Lutz-triple toe and included two other combos as well as the double Axel.
Russia was 1-2-3 with Kamila Valieva, the 2019 Junior Grand Prix Final champion earning the gold.
‘’I was really happy with my performance today,’’ said Schizas, 13th at the world championships this past March. ‘’I came here to put out my tech content some of which is new for this season.’’