ISU Grand Prix Series Wraps Up at NHK Trophy in Japan

Osaka, Japan (November 25, 2023) – The 2023 ISU Grand Prix series concluded on Saturday with the NHK Trophy in Osaka, Japan and saw Canadian skaters gaining more valuable experience for the future.

Ice dancers Marie-Jade Lauriault of Ste-Anne-des-Plaines, Que., and Romain Le Gac of Laval, Que., closed out their Grand Prix season with a seventh-place finish and a total score of 176.26 after finishing fifth at the French Grand Prix two weeks ago.

“We were just happy to perform our programs. We love being here in Japan – the crowd is amazing. This may not have been the performance we wanted, but we are happy that we enjoyed the moment and were present and grateful for being here,” said Lauriault who also captured a silver medal with Le Gac at the 2023 Budapest Trophy earlier this fall.

Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson of Great Britain won their first Grand Prix gold with a final overall score of 215.19, edging out ISU European Champions Charlène Guignard and Marco Fabbri of Italy who took the silver with a total score of 214.56. Allison Reed and Saulius Ambrulevicius of Lithuania took the bronze with a total score of 196.86.

Kelly Ann Laurin of St-Jérôme, Que. and Loucas Éthier of St-Alphonse, Que., also finished seventh in the pair competition with a total score of 160.79. The pair struggled with their short program but had a much stronger free skate to end their Grand Prix season on a strong note.

“Overall, NHK has been an unreal experience and unlike anything we’ve ever experienced,” said Éthier who together with Laurin finished fifth at Skate Canada International in October. “Today in our free program, we skated for ourselves and for redemption and just to prove to ourselves what we could really do after our short performance.”

Minerva Fabienne Hase and Nikita Volodin won gold for the second weekend in a row after also winning gold at the Grand Prix in Espoo, Finland last weekend. They set new personal best scores with all of their performances to end the competition with an overall score of 202.51. Lucrezia Beccari and Matteo Guarise of Italy captured the silver with a total score of 190.31, and their teammates Rebecca Ghilardi and Filippo Ambrosini took the bronze with a total score of 186.47.

In the men’s singles competition, Wesley Chiu of Vancouver, B.C., finished 11th overall with a total score of 209.16.

“This was definitely a fight for sure, but the NHK Trophy is just such a different experience – I feel just with the Japanese audience and the whole atmosphere it was really different, and it was a struggle to keep my focus,” said Chiu who set a season’s best score at Skate Canada International in October to finish seventh at that event. “I feel like I put some good stuff out there, but there were some big, costly mistakes.

Yuma Kagiyama of Japan thrilled his hometown crowd to win the gold medal with an overall score of 288.39 over his teammate and the reigning men’s singles world champion Shoma Uno who scored 286.55 to take the silver medal. Lukas Britschgi of Switzerland closed out the podium capturing the bronze with a total score of 254.60.

The ISU Grand Prix Series will wrap up at the Grand Prix Final set for December 6-9, 2023 in Beijing, China. The full announcement of the athletes that have qualified for that event will be announced shortly.

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