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Ice dancing events attract skaters from around the world

August 8, 2019
By CHRISTIE SAUSA - Correspondent , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - The Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships and Ice Dance International danced through Lake Placid from July 30 through Aug. 2, encompassing all levels of competition in the Championships event and elite Junior and Senior level competitors in the International event.

With nearly 200 skaters in the Championships and nearly 40 in the International, the Lake Placid dance events attracted skaters representing countries that included the United States, Canada, France, Azerbaijan, Spain, Korea, Hungary, China, Japan, Poland, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Iceland and Israel.

The Championships included events for skaters of all levels: open dance, leveled combined events, solo and shadow dances and free dance events. This year, it is part of the new US Figure Skating National Qualifying Series, which is a series of official U.S. Figure Skating-approved competitions hosted by member clubs nationwide. The events are conducted in a standard format, where athletes can earn official scores toward sectional and national rankings. The Championships is also a part of the US Figure Skating Solo Dance Competition Series, which provides an opportunity for ice dancers at the Standard Levels to compete and qualify for the National Solo Dance Final.

Article Photos

Spanish skaters Olivia Smart and Adrian Diaz compete in the free dance competition at the 2019 Lake Placid Ice Dance International at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid.
Daphne Backman/

The Lake Placid Ice Dance International, an ISU Minimum Technical Score event which features advanced junior and senior ice dancers, occurred concurrently with the Championships. The competitors in the event had to earn the required score in an ISU-recognized international event in the current or preceding season to compete in the event and received feedback from the officials after the event. It is also often where new partnerships are debuted, in advance of the start of the qualifying season in the fall.

Placing first overall in the International was the team of Olivia Smart and Adrian Diaz, of Spain, finishing with a score of 184.62. They placed fourth in the rhythm dance to a medley of swing, quickstep and jive rhythms from the Grease soundtrack, and first in the free dance, with a program Diaz described as, "'A Sad Clown's One and Only Love' mixing a song from the Micmacs with 'My One and Only Love' from the Pina Bausch soundtrack."

Training with two-time World silver medalist ice dancers Marie France Dubreil and Patrice Lauzon in Montreal, the team placed second in the 2016 Lake Placid International, in their international debut. They have since competed at the World Championships twice, in addition to competing at multiple Grand Prix events and finishing consistently in the top 10.

"We are very happy with the performance in Lake Placid, as usual, the first competition of the season is extra exciting, you always wonder if judges and the public will like your programs," Diaz said. "Even though we made few mistakes on the rhythm dance, we felt it was a fun program to perform, so overall we are happy with it.

"And the free dance went very well. It's a nice story to express, and we felt people liked it. We know both programs have to evolve still and we are ready to keep working hard to see how far we can go."

Smart and Diaz hope to continue building on the success this season to become Spanish National Champions, represent Spain at the 2020 World Championship in Montreal and finish in the top 10, while also making the podiums at their Grand Prix events this season, (Skate America, Internationaux de France) and qualifying for the Grand Prix Final.

The second-place finishers were Americans Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko, who had previously won gold as Juniors at the 2017 Lake Placid International. The 2017 US Junior silver medalists made their Senior debut during the 2018-19 season, notably winning bronze at the Rostelecom Cup in Moscow, and started this season off strong with a 177.72 score. The team placed second in both the rhythm dance and free dance, resulting in their silver medal win.

Winning the bronze medal was the team of Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter, last year's Ice Dance International champions. The 2019 U.S. national pewter medalists have competed in Lake Placid for the past few years, winning the 2017 and 2018 Ice Dance International titles, and this year, won the Rhythm dance and placed fourth in the Free Dance, resulting in a 175.75 overall score.

In the Junior Lake Placid Ice Dance International event, one can see the future champions of the sport of ice dance. This year, the winners of the event were 2018 Novice Canadian National Champions Nadiia Bashynska and Peter Beaumont of Canada, who won both the rhythm dance and free dance segments to win gold with a score of 140.33.

Second-place finishers were Canadian Junior National competitors Emmy Bronsard and Aissa Bouaraguia, who placed second in both the rhythm dance and free dance to win silver and score 135.45. The bronze medalists were US Junior National competitors Molly Cesanek and Yehor Yehorov, who placed third in all segments with a score of 134.56.

The Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships is part of a series of annual summer figure skating competitions for American and Canadian figure skaters on the novice and junior levels called the North American series, previously the North American Challenge Skate. The Lake Placid Championships offered a Novice dance event as part of this series, in which promising Novice skaters from the US and Canada could practice competing internationally.

The gold and silver medalists of the novice event were Canadians Hailey Yu and Brendan Giang and Emma Goodstadt and Michael Barsoum, respectively. The bronze medal was won by Claire Cain and Andrei Davydov of the U.S.

From here, international skaters will prepare for their qualifying seasons and implement the feedback they received in Lake Placid.

Ice Dance continues Aug. 10 with the Saturday Night Ice Show, which features Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, the 2019 US National Champions and 2019 World bronze medalists. For more information on skating in Lake Placid, including the ice shows and competitions, visit the website at



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