Five nations win gold at Winter Cup
The junior team Cool Dreams from Switzerland won the competition thanks to some "very chic" new programs. / Credits: Roy Ng Photography
The second day of Winter Cup 2018 competition set the stage for Basic Novice, Pre Juvenile, Senior B, Juvenile, Junior ISU and Senior ISU teams to demonstrate their best to judges.
The four Basic Novice teams skated first. Winner British Ice Stars (31.27 points) kicked start the day with an explosive, energetic programme infused with party atmosphere. They deservingly earned their first place with well-timed choreography in sync with the music. Good forms were maintained and they skated clean despite some struggle with the intersection. Belgian Ice Cubes (24.19 points) landed on the second place by fluidly delivering their pleasant programme. Bronze medallist Wight Crystals (22.41 points) followed closely with their “The Greatest Showman” programme. Belgian Team Temptation (18.39 points) enlightened the arena with disco electric music but the ice was perhaps too slippery this time.
Pre Juvenile teams absolutely stole the show. All eyes in the ice rink were fixated on the three teams of smartly dressed cute boys and girls. Understandably some team had skaters who were a little bit confused and became disorientated on the ice. However, despite all the blasts of chants and cheers from enthusiastic spectators and parents, all skaters showed unruffled confidence and were not afraid to be under the spotlights. Not many adults can stay calm at center stage!
In Senior B category it was a contest between Belgian Team Xinthia (58.96) and British All Stars (36.41). The two teams had to skate in accordance with Senior Free Program requirements of ISU rules but could have fewer skaters. The Belgian winner was able to lead by a wide margin through smooth delivery of the program. While their group lifts might be seen as basic to some, the end result was delightful. All Stars earned viewers’ appreciation for their selection of music by Queens.
Juvenile category had the most teams today. Eight teams coming from Belgium, the Netherlands and United Kingdom were against each other. Here we observed great disparity among teams. Some teams excelled in delivering intricately choreographed programmes demonstrating their strength while some teams seemed to have just moved on from the younger category but showing potential. Gold medallist Ice Gems (28.62 points) of Great Britain incorporated more difficult elements into their program which was executed speed. Their intersection was smoothly executed. Runner-up Dutch Team lluminice (25.65 points) followed closely and their program also included challenging moves for their peers. Belgian Team Mania (23.89 points) left the audience in awe when the program ended with interesting element highlighting the only male skater doing spin at center.
Excitement built in the ice rink as Junior ISU teams took over the ice. Champion Swiss Cool Dreams (SP: 49.17, FS: 79.31, total: 128.48) continued their lead and landed on the top spot of the podium. Their Free Program was paired with some elegant costumes to reflect the flair of the Oscar ceremony.
Silver medallist French Team Jeanne d’Arc (SP: 42.99, FS: 76.02, total: 119.01) creatively arranged to dress some female skaters masculinely. Together with the male skaters, they delivered a mesmerizing program showcasing of the beauty of synchro – that we are a co-ed sport and elements of gender can help to weave a beautiful programme.
Second runner-up Team Darlings of Czech Republic (SP: 42.99, FS: 69.02, total: 112.01) defended the third position with their “The Greatest Showman” program which had a refreshing take of death spiral making them distinct from their peers.
The climax of the competition was reached when Senior ISU teams stepped on the ice. French Les Zoulous (SP: 54.97, FS: 99.32, total: 154.29) continued their strong lead. Their Free Program of an unanticipated plane journey to a wild island expectedly landed them on the top spot of the podium in Belgium. Their program is dramatic and naturally draws spectators to follow the course of their adventure into uncharted territory.
Silver medal went to Team Illumination (SP: 36.66, FS: 73.48, total: 110.14) of the Netherlands who displaced the bronze medallist Team Phoenix (SP: 38.20, FS: 69.35, total: 107.55) after their original lead in Short Program. Team Illumination’s Free Program carefully showcased the strength of individual skaters in yet a holistic matter. Pleasant surprises from their program came in waves and left spectators in awe. Team Phoenix also impressed everyone in the ice rink with a variety of group lift positions.
Swiss Team Starlight (SP: 36.31, FS: 70.60, total: 106.91) unfortunately suffered fall and had marks deducted for not meeting the requirement or else they would have taken home the bronze medal. No matter what, this team is a testimony of Swiss synchro skaters’ steadfast determination to return to the ice together as a team despite setbacks. We can eagerly wait for their participation in more competitions. British Wight Jewels’ (SP: 29.54, FS: 60.43, total: 89.97) Samba theme program was refreshing to spectators as they confidently took over the ice and radiated with infectious joy. The audience were drawn by their program and enjoyed a good dance on spectator stand as the music was played. Sadly, another British team Magenta did not skate for Free Program due to injuries.
After the 2018 Winter Cup, we can confirm that many teams have solid programs that give head start in this season. Also, they have demonstrated their result of tireless effort in self-improvement from last season. We eagerly expect them to refine their programs and add more excitements down the road.
We also have seen many teams have chosen soundtracks of “The Greatest Showman” for their programs. It seems musicals are one of the favourites of teams after last season’s top favourite “La La Land”.