10SC-SD-6665-CJ-MH-200The battle for bronze is tight, with teams in third through sixth within four points of each other. The top two steps of the podium may be out of reach, as Sinead & John Kerr and Vanessa Crone & Paul Poirier have an eight and a half point lead over the rest of the field. Third-place Pernelle Carron & Lloyd Jones (left, photo by Melanie Hoyt) from France are 0.24 ahead of Americans Madison Chock & Greg Zuerlein. Russians Kristina Gorshkova & Vitali Butikov, who are in fifth after the short dance, are 1.01 ahead of sixth-place Canadians Alexandra Paul & Mitchell Islam.

Carron & Jones did not get any negative GOE, receiving primarily a mix of base 0 and +1 with seven +2s. Their PCS made a perfect bell curve, with 23 in the 6-6.75 range and 11 in both the 5-5.75 and 7-7.25 ranges.

An error on their twizzles cost Chock & Zuerlein 0.21 in negative GOE, but the other four elements received mostly +1s with a mix of 0s and +2s added in. Their PCS were in the same range with a few more 6s and a few less 5s. This gave the Americans a PCS total 0.26 ahead of the French.

Both teams received +.36 in GOE on the first section of the Golden Waltz and +.21 on the second. They both had level 4 in the first half, but Chock & Zuerlein earned a level 3 on the second half while Carron & Jones got a level 2. The difference between level 2 and 3 in the second section is a full point, advantage USA. The Americans also went 3 over 2 for the level of the midline (1.50 base value difference), plus earned 1.14 in GOE against the French’s 0.57. It was looking good for Chock & Zuerlein, as they had room to absorb the -.21 from the twizzles.

It came down to the final element.

Although this was not a new lift for the team, and it had rated higher levels last season, Chock & Zuerlein’s rotational lift was called only a level 1, earning a measly 1.5 base points. Carron & Jones’ lift was a level 3, two base points higher. Once again the teams tied in GOE with both receiving +.71 for their lifts.

Long story not-so-short, when everything was tallied, it was close.

Gorshkova & Butikov took a slight edge in both TES and PCS over Paul & Islam, 0.45 and 0.56, respectively. Both teams had negative GOE marks in both sections of the Golden Waltz, but the Russians netted only a .21 loss while the Canadians lost .64. Gorshkova & Butikov earned level 3s against Paul & Islam’s level 2s in the Golden.

In the creative section, both teams had their lifts rated level 4. The twizzle level advantage went to the Russians (4 vs. 3), but the Canadians took the midline step sequence (3 vs. 2). Even though Paul & Islam’s base value for the required elements was 25.5 against Gorshkova & Butikov’s 27.0, the Russians only pulled in an extra 0.87 in GOE. The Canadians upped their score by 1.92.

Program component scores for both teams ran an identical gamut, from a low of 4.5 to a high of 7.25. Gorshkova & Butikov “won” Skating Skills, Performance/Execution, and Interpretation, while Paul & Islam claimed Transitions and Choreography.

Long story not-so-short, when everything was tallied, it was close — just not quite as close as the other two pairings.

The bottom three teams are at least seven points out of sixth place. Stefanie Frohberg & Tim Giesen from German have 43.0 points. Last-minute entries Sarah Arnold & Justin Trojek of Canada have 40.07, while Americans Rachel Tibbetts & Collin Brubaker take 36.88 into Sunday’s free dance.