U.S. ice dancing Olympians Maia and Alex Shibutani opened the 2017 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series with a strong win at the Rostelecom Cup in Moscow.
Skating to “Paradise” by Coldplay in Saturday’s free dance, the Shibutanis earned 111.94 points to top six-time Russian champions Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev by more than four points. The Shibutanis totaled 189.24 points.
Bobrova and Soloviev finished second with 184.74 points while Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin, also of Russia, took the bronze with 179.35.
The U.S. sister-and-brother duo led following Friday’s short program, but less than one point separated them from Bobrova and Soloviev.
The Shibutanis, who are seeking their second consecutive U.S. Olympic team nomination in 2018, are two-time defending national champions as well as three-time world championship medalists. They previously won Grand Prix titles at Skate America and Cup of China, both in 2016, as well as a bronze in last season’s Grand Prix Final.
The sibling duo of Rachel and Michael Parsons, 2017 U.S. and world junior champions, finished seventh in their Grand Prix debut with 148.75 points.
The Rostelecom Cup is the first of the six-event Grand Prix series, which includes Skate America on November 24-26 in Lake Placid, New York.
The competition continues Saturday with the pairs and women’s free programs.