World Championships 2024: Pairs Recap

© International Skating Union (ISU)

The first of the disciplines to finish at the 2024 World Championships was that of the Pairs. Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps won their first world title, making Stellato-Dudek the oldest woman to win a world title. Last year’s champions Miura and Kihara came second, while Grand Prix Final winners Hase and Volodin won the bronze medal. It was a high-level competition with equally high emotions; read on for a closer look at the event!

Results

🥇 Deanna Stellato-Dudel/Maxime Deschamps (Canada)
🥈 Riku Miura/Ryuichi Kihara (Japan)
🥉 Minerva Fabienne Hase/Nikita Volodin (Germany)

© International Skating Union (ISU)

Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps won the gold medal in front of an ecstatic home audience with a total of 221.56 points. Their short program is powerful, and complements the intensity of their skating and the focus with which they deliver it. They nailed the triple twist and were rewarded well for it, getting a level four and +2.14 GOE. The music is rhythmic with a strong beat; they matched it in each element of their skating. The team earned high grades of execution for each element, and there was quality throughout: the throw triple loop was landed emphatically and the spins were in unison. The intense ‘Interview with a Vampire’ free skate is a highlight program this season. There was once more an amazing triple twist in the opening. Although the final jump of the side-by-side combination (double axel) had errors, they did well to land the side-by-side triple salchows better and with positive GOE. The lifts were standout elements in the program, and moments where the team really expressed the music and brought the story of their program to life. They nailed both throw jumps, and the crowd cheered them through the entire last element: a level-four lift with which they closed out a phenomenal performance. 

© International Skating Union (ISU)

Japan’s Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara came second with 217.88 points. They were second after the short program. There was impressive height on the triple twist, but a lean on the side-by-side triple toes which was also judged as on the quarter. They cover the ice with flow and speed, and the rousing music of ‘Dare You to Move’ accompanied their quality step sequence. They showcased a difficult entry into the death spiral, and got a level four and +1.25 GOE for the element. They put out the highest-scoring free skate, with a throw triple lutz which had great distance, and a strong throw triple loop. The side-by-side triple toeloops in the jump combination was again on the quarter, however, and the side-by-side salchow was popped into a double, costing them valuable points. The program gradually builds in intensity, and the two are a team who always do well in working up to the climax of their skate: here, they used a lift and choreo sequence to end powerfully. 

© International Skating Union (ISU)

Minerva Fabienne Hase and Nikita Volodin won the bronze medal in their successful first season together, and came back strongly after a difficult European Championships. They were fourth after the short program, where they received positive grades of execution for all elements. The side-by-side triple salchows were landed with seeming ease and flow, and they carried this quality into the throw triple loop. Hase and Volodin were slightly out of sync for a few moments in the spin, but rectified this by the end of the element; the fluidity of their skating was foregrounded in the step sequence. They opened their free skate with a neat triple twist. They were solid on their jump sequence, but had a fall from the side-by-side triple salchow which followed. Nonetheless, they brought it back with a throw triple loop which was done well and received +1.07 GOE from the judges. They both pay close attention to the details of movement, and despite the fall, it was enough to put them in third place with an almost 6-point lead over the Hungarians. 

Maria Pavlova and Alexei Sviatchenko were sixth after the short program but climbed up to fourth place after the free skate. In their ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ short program, they secured a level four in their triple twist, and put out synchronised, solid side-by-side triple toeloops. The upbeat, percussive section of music was used for their step sequence, and the strong skate put them in a good position for the FS. They put out a clean skate for the free program, with secure side-by-side jumping passes, and good height and landings on the throw jumps. They used the group five lasso lift to transition into the closing, dramatic section of their skate, and finished with a level four pair spin. 

© International Skating Union (ISU)

Annika Hocke and Robert Kunkel finished off what has been a difficult season for them with a wonderful fifth-place finish. Their short program to ‘I Love Rock n Roll’ and ‘Voulez-vous’ is energetic and fun, and they brought a lot of personality to the program and used it to bring it to life. They had height and distance on the throw triple flip, and played with the crowd in their step sequence. It is their second season skating to ‘Without You’ for the free skate, and they are confident and comfortable with the choreography and music. Although there was a lean on the second double axel in their side-by-side sequence, they hung on and kept the deductive GOE to a minimum (-0.28): it was a very strong skate which saw both throw jumps nailed. 

Sara Conti and Niccolo Macii of Italy were third after the short program but sixth overall to close out an up-and-down season. They were clean in the SP, doing well in the triple twist and throw triple loop to open the skate, and maintaining the momentum to nail the side-by-side triple salchows. Their level-four step sequence demonstrated good musicality and expressivity. Their free skate to Cinema Paradiso, recycled from last season, started with difficulties on the twist, and continued with problems with the 3T-2A sequence, a hand down on the throw triple loop, and loss of levels and grades of execution on the last part of their group 3 lift. There were strong moments as well – two lifts and the pair spin received level fours, and the side-by-side salchows were solid, but overall it placed them just under 1 point behind Hocke and Kunkel. 

Other notable competitors included the newly crowned Junior World Champions Anastasiia Metelkina and Luka Berulava of Georgia. They had a strong short program with height and speed on the triple twist, and a clean performance thereafter, with neat footwork in the step sequence. They struggled more in the free skate, with difficulties on the side-by-side jump sequence and throw triple loop. They missed their final lift, earning no points for the element and losing out on valuable points.

© International Skating Union (ISU)

European Gold medalists Lucrezia Beccari and Matteo Guarise of Italy delivered a clean short program and a lyrical skate, with good grades of execution for all elements. They opened the ‘Cats’ free skate with a quality, level four triple twist, but had a fall and pop on the triple toe-axel-axel sequence, and popped the following side-by-side jumping pass as well, costing them points. They were better after and earned positive grades of execution for all subsequent elements: the group 5 lift was used well to accentuate the climax of ‘Memory’. There was an unfortunate fall coming out of the lift and going into the final spin, making the overall deductions for falls -2.00.

Four Continents bronze medallists Ellie Kam and Danny O’Shea from the USA were eleventh in Montreal. Their short program is an instrumental piece which builds up towards the end, and they used the step sequence and lift to reflect this climax. They had a fall from the throw triple loop but were strong otherwise. In their free skate, both of their side-by-side jumping passes were marked as on the quarter, and both throw jumps both had falls. The quality of their skating was apparent elsewhere, with four elements receiving level fours: they closed out with a strong group five lift.

Click here to watch our recap livestream with Corey Circelli!

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