Rostelecom Cup continued in Moscow (RUS) on Saturday with the Free Dance and the Men’s, Pairs and Ladies Free Skating. A capacity crowd of 8,500 spectators followed the competition in the Malaia Arena in Luzhniki Sports Park. Rostelecom is the fifth of six events in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series 2015/16.
Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje (CAN) dance off with gold
Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje of Canada danced off with the gold. Italy’s Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte claimed the silver medals and the bronze went to Victoria Sinitsina/Nikita Katsalapov of Russia.
Performing to “On the Nature of Daylight” by Max Richter and “Run” by Ludovico Einaudi, Weaver/Poje produced innovative lifts and smooth step sequences, earning a level four for the twizzles, two lifts and their combination spin a level three for the footwork and the straight line lift. The 2014 World silver medalists scored 104.09 points and totaled 173.58 points to win their second Grand Prix title this season. “We put together two really good performances. I think the free could have been a little bit stronger in some places, but it is still early in the season. We felt like the competition was very, very strong. We’re happy we were able to be strong and come home with the gold medal”, Weaver said.
Cappellini/Lanotte completed four level-four and three level-three elements in their playful routine to “La Dolce Vita”. The 2014 World and European Champions earned 103.79 points to remain in second place at 171.61 points overall. “We lost a few points in this competition here and our plan for (the Grand Prix Final in) Barcelona is to get feedback and to go home and work on it. We’ll try to make our performances stronger, particularly the short dance that here was not as strong as we can perform it. Also we didn’t have enough time to work on our programs in between our Grand Prix events”, Lanotte told the press.
Sinitsina/Katsalapov’s dance to “Io Ci Saro” was highlighted by difficult lifts and footwork. The Muscovites scored a personal best of 103.77 points which added up to 167.40 points overall. “This is our second Grand Prix (this season) and overall we are happy that we skated clean again. We improved our score. We continue to gather opinions that we’ll take into account. We still have time to get better”, Katsalapov commented.
Charlene Guignard/Marco Fabbri (ITA) came fourth with 153.54 points ahead of Elena Ilinykh/Ruslan Zhiganshin (RUS) with 153.01 points. Ksenia Monko/Kirill Khaliavin (RUS), who stood in fifth place following the Short Dance withdrew before the Free Dance as he was injured.
Weaver/Poje proceed to the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final with two victories while Cappellini/Lanotte qualify with a gold and a silver medal. Sinitsina/Katsalapov will wait and see if a second and third place is enough to get them to Spain.
Javier Fernandez (ESP) skates to Men’s gold
Javier Fernandez of Spain skated to gold in the Men’s event. Russia’s Adian Pitkeev picked up the silver medal, his first medal at a senior-level Grand Prix. Ross Minor (USA) took the bronze.
Skating to “Guys and Dolls”, Fernandez reeled off a quad toeloop, quad Salchow-triple toeloop combination, triple Axel and five triple jumps as well two level-four spins. However, he fell on a popped Salchow. The reigning World Champion posted a seasons best of 184.44 points and racked up 271.43 points to move up from second to first, winning his second Grand Prix gold medal this season. “I felt much more comfortable today in practice and warm up than yesterday. We still have to work on the third quad, I popped and there was a fall. I was so excited that the program went so well. Now I’ll go back to training and prepare for the Grand Prix Final. The Final will be a difficult competition with many strong skaters”, the three-time European Champion said.
Overnight leader Pitkeev hit a quadruple toeloop, triple Axel-double toe and five more triples in his routine to “The Mission”, but he crashed on his second triple Axel. The 2014 World Junior silver medalist improved his personal best significantly with 162.93 points and accumulated 250.47 points overall. “It was hard for me to pull myself together, because I heard the scores of the others and that everybody had new personal record scores. I fell on the triple Axel and I was holding back after that a little, I didn’t feel so comfortable. But I’m glad that it worked all out and I’m here in this room (at the press conference) again”, the 17-year-old commented.
Miner’s program to a Queen medley featured seven clean triple jumps, but he missed his quad Salchow. The skater from Boston achieved a new personal best with 163.56 points and had 248.92 points overall. Miner’s score was changed and 0.50 points added when the Technical Panel changed the level for his flying change foot combination spin from three to four. “I went out there and I stayed calm, which is something I struggled with in the past, consequently it was a lot more fun to be out there fun to skate in front of a packed audience”, Miner explained.
Adam Rippon (USA) pulled up from sixth to fourth at 248.63 points. Mikhail Kolyada (RUS) came fifth at 247.97 points.
Fernandez now advances to the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final with two gold medals from the circuit.
Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov (RUS) strike Pairs gold
Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov of Russia struck gold in the Pairs event. Their teammates Yuko Kavaguti/Alexander Smirnov earned the silver and China’s Cheng Peng/Hao Zhang collected the bronze medals.
Performing to “The Unknown Known” by Danny Elfman, Stolbova/Klimov completed a triple twist, throw triple Salchow and throw triple flip, as well as two level-four spins and lifts, but she struggled with the side by side jumps. The 2014 Olympic silver medalists scored 139.25 points and accumulated 214.70 points. “There were some mistakes, but now it became clear to us in which direction we’ll have to work. With today’s result we still have the chance to go to the Grand Prix Final and we hope to go there”, Klimov said.
Kavaguti/Smirnov completed a side by side triple toe, a triple twist and five level-four elements in their “Manfred” program, but missed the throw quad loop and the throw quad Salchow. The reigning European Champions were awarded 136.32 points and remained in second place at 208.02 points. “We are pleased with the result today and with our performance overall. Too bad, that the quad throws didn’t happen today. Now we have some time to work on our throws and the twist before the Final”, Smirnov explained.
Peng/Zhang’s routine to “Les Pecheurs de Perles” included a quadruple twist and a side by side triple-double toeloop combination, but Peng fell on the throw quadruple Salchow. The Chinese team picked up 124.94 points which added up to 193.04 overall. “Our performance today was not bad. We went for two quads – the quad twist and quad throw Salchow. It hasn’t been long that we include both of them in our program”, Zhang noted.
Tarah Kayne/Daniel O’Shea (USA) moved up from sixth to fourth at 181.23 points. Natalja Zabijako/Alexander Enbert (RUS) remained in fifth place (180.56 points).
Kavaguti/Smirnov booked their ticket to Barcelona with a first and a second place while Stolbova/Klimov will have to see if a first and fourth place will be enough to go to the Final.
Elena Radionova (RUS) leads Russian sweep
Elena Radionova led a Russian sweep in the Ladies event. Evgenia Medvedeva took the silver and Adelina Sotnikova moved up from fourth to earn the bronze medal.
Radionova’s performance to the “Titanic” soundtrack was highlighted by a triple Lutz-triple toe combination, a triple loop-single loop-triple Salchow combination, three more triples and level-four spins and footwork. The World bronze medalist set a new personal best score with 139.53 points and was ranked second in the Free Skating, but overall remained in first with a total of 211.32 points. “At the end I was again overwhelmed by my emotions. This competition was hard for me, I had to go through a lot of emotions. I feel I redeemed myself after the Cup of China”, the 16-year-old commented.
Skating to the “W.E.” soundtrack, Medvedeva hit seven triple jumps including two triple-triple combinations and difficult spins. The World Junior Champion was ranked first in the Free Skating with a new personal best of 139.73 points and overall moved up to second place at 206.76 points. “I’m happy with today’s performance not only because I skated fairly clean, but also because I came back from that unexpected fall in the short program. At the end of the performance there were so many ovations, that was so nice and is probably the bonus when you skate at home”, the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champion noted.
Sotnikova produced four triples and excellent spins in her performance to “Je suis malade”, but she underrotated two triple toeloops in her combination jumps. The reigning Olympic Champion scored 119.63 points and accumulated 185.11 points. “I am back. There is still a lot of work to do, but it is a big victory for my team. This third place means a lot to me”, the 19-year-old shared.
Polina Edmunds (USA) placed fourth (183.20 points) followed by Rika Hongo (JPN) with 179.12 points. Alaine Chartrand (CAN) slipped from second to sixth (173.42 points).
Radionova and Medvedeva now qualified for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final.
Rostelecom Cup concludes Sunday with the Exhibition Gala. The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating continues next week with NHK Trophy, the sixth and last event of the series, in Nagano (JPN). For full entry lists and results of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2015/16 please refer to www.isu.org under Single& Pair Skating/Ice Dance then select Grand Prix.