Julia Lipnitskaia (RUS) skates to victory

- Budapest, Hungary

The 2014 ISU European Figure Skating Championships continued in Budapest, Hungary, Friday with the Pairs Short Program and the Ladies Free Skating.

Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov (RUS) take Pairs Short Program
Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov of Russia took the Pairs Short Program with a new personal best score. Germany’s Aliona Savchenko/Robin Szolkowy are sitting in second place and Vera Bazarova/Yuri Larionov of Russia finished third.

Volosozhar/Trankov’s performance to “Waltz Masquerade” by Aram Khatchaturian featured a big triple twist, side by side triple toeloop and a throw triple loop. The reigning European and World Champions earned a level four for the twist, the death spiral, reverse lasso lift and footwork to slightly surpass their previous personal best and own record score with now 83.98 points. “Today we skated quite well. We were nervous as we skated towards the end, next to last and the tension was high. But we were able to deal with it and skated with a good mood. In the step sequence we wanted to give everything and to go for a seasons best score, and we did it, we broke our own record. We have improved the choreography”, Trankov told the press.

Skating to “When Winter Comes” in an arrangement by Andre Rieu, Savchenko/Szolkowy nailed a triple toe and collected level fours for all elements as well, but Savchenko stumbled on the landing of the throw triple flip. The four-time World Champions scored 76.76 points. “We did some small mistakes in our program today and we had a hard time last week to prepare. We didn’t skate with all our power so therefore that was the result of our preparation and I think I can say that we are glad we are sitting here in second place looking forward to the free program and hope we do it better”, Szolkowy noted.

Bazarova/Larionov completed a triple toe, triple twist and throw triple flip, but their death spiral garnered only a level one. The 2012 European silver medalists picked up a seasons best of 71.70 points. “As for today’s performance we are very pleased with it because finally we could approach it with a cool head. We did the technical elements with good levels and we’re very happy today to show everything, the elements and our skating”, Larionov commented.

Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov (RUS) finished fourth at 70.90 points. Stefania Berton/Ondrej Hotarek (ITA) placed fifth (69.22 points) and Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres (FRA) are sitting in sixth place at 63.23 points.

Julia Lipnitskaia (RUS) skates to victory
Julia Lipnitskaia of Russia claimed the Ladies title in her debut at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships. Her teammate Adelina Sotnikova slipped from first to second to repeat as a silver medalist. Defending Champion Carolina Kostner of Italy settled for the bronze.

Lipnitskaia, who stood in second place, produced an excellent performance to “Schindler’s List” that was highlighted by a triple Lutz-triple toe, a double Axel-triple toe, four more triple jumps and her impressive spins. The 15-year-old set a new personal best for herself with 139.75 points and racked up 209.72 points overall. “My head is still spinning, I think I might faint right now. I skated my program a 200 percent. I did two difficult combinations the second half and the base value went up. I never even skated this version of my program in practice”, the Grand Prix silver medalist said.

Short program leader Sotnikova overcame a stumble on the triple Lutz right at the beginning to complete four clean triple jumps including a double Axel-triple toe combination in her routine set to “Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso” by Camille Saint-Saens. However, the final combo spin merited only a level one. The Russian Champion scored 131.63 points, which was a new personal best for her, and totaled 202.36 points. “This silver medal feels like gold to me”, the 17-year-old shared. “I got mostly the levels for the elements so I’m satisfied with what I did. The big element (triple-Lutz triple-toe) was not there again but after that went wrong I was pleased I managed to pull myself together and deliver a good program”, she continued.

Performing to “Bolero” by Maurice Ravel, Kostner hit four triple jumps and picked up a level four for her footwork and the flying camel spin, but she fell on a triple toeloop and doubled a loop. With 122.42 points, she slightly improved her seasons best and remained in third place at 191.39 points overall. It was Kostner’s ninth consecutive medal at the ISU European Championships. “I was here ten years ago at my second European Championships and I saw Julia Sebestyen win and I looked up at her with big eyes and dreamed one day to take her place, and I’ve managed to take her place five times already. This was the best practice before the Olympic Games. I’m not quite satisfied with my performance but I can go home with a medal which is a very big joy for me”, the Italian said.

Alena Leonova (RUS) came fourth at 178.15 points followed by Mae-Berenice Meite (FRA/173.37 points). Valentina Marchei (ITA) finished sixth with 165.25 points.

The ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2014 continue Saturday with the Men’s Free Skating.

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