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Tarasova Morozov Mine Everett Gold

The first medals of 2018 Skate America were awarded this afternoon at the Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, Washington.

Russia′s Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov captured pairs gold with a solid long program performance, ultimately outdistancing the rest of the field by more than 25.87 points overall.

Performing to “The Writer” by Balmorhea, the Russian duo showed flashes of brilliance in their long program, but also made a couple of early-season errors. After a solid split triple twist lift, Tarasova doubled a triple Salchow attempt, but recovered well to finish the program strong. The duo earned 133.61 points for the free, and a combined total of 204.85.

“Today we skated better than yesterday and also better than our first competition in Finland,” Tarasova said. “The program was a good performance, and we are happy with it.”

“Today is better than yesterday, that is true,” Morozov added. “We were trying to enjoy the program, and we skated it really well. The audience was so hot, and we thank them for their support. We really enjoyed the free skate.”

Newcomers Alisa Efimova and Alexander Korovin of Russia struggled with the jumps today in their “La Strada” program, but were able to stave off a charge by Americans Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc who had the second best free skate of the day. The Russian duo earned 116.60 for the long program, and 178.98 points overall to capture the silver medal.

“Today’s skate, maybe some elements weren’t good — we had two mistakes, but the other elements were good,” Efimova said. “This was our first competition on a different continent, and it was interesting and we were nervous. In this competition, we found details that we can work on in practice and what we can work on for future competitions.

“We need to go on from here — what we did here today, and work on our mistakes. We need to improve every element to skate better on our next Grand Prix and do better there.”

Cain and LeDuc recovered well after a labored short program yesterday to win their first Grand Prix medal — the bronze.

“First of all, we are so grateful to the audience today for their incredible support. It was outstanding, and they gave us so much energy when we went out there,” LeDuc said. “We were a little bit disappointed with our program yesterday, and we felt like it was a bit of a missed opportunity to create a moment. To have some silly errors on things that we know that we can do well was disappointing, but it inspired a fighting spirit within us today to remember the athlete we are and the work that we put in. We definitely fought for everything today.”

Skating to the soundtrack of the motion picture W.E., Cain and Leduc appeared as if they may challenge for the silver medal, but in a closer review, under rotations did them in. Still, the American team earned a season’s best of 117.34 points in the free and 175.06 overall.

“I think that even though we had mistakes today — it wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t our best (overall) score, but we conquered our fear and we just went out there and stayed together,” Cain said. “Tim said before the program, ‘Just remember who we are,’ and I think that at the end of the program, we did just that.”

Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim moved up to finish in fourth place with 171.56 points after a disappointing short program yesterday. The duo, without a coach this week in Everett, announced today that they are no longer working with Aljona Savchenko.

Third after the short program, the German team of Minerva Febienne Hase and Nolan Seegert faded to a distant fifth place with a disappointing free skate. They earned 162.10 points overall.

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