Bratislava / Slovak Republic

The 2016 ISU European Figure Skating Championships continued Thursday in Bratislava, Slovak Republic with the Men’s Free Skating.

Javier Fernandez (ESP) skates to fourth European title

Javier Fernandez of Spain skated to his fourth consecutive European title. Alexei Bychenko of Israel claimed a historic first medal for his country at the European Championships with the silver. Russia’s Maxim Kovtun settled for the bronze.

Performing to “Guys and Dolls”, Fernandez reeled off a quadruple toeloop (touched down with his hand), a quadruple Salchow-triple toeloop, triple Axel-double toeloop, quadruple Salchow and three more triples, but he fell on his second triple Axel. The World Champion earned a level four for his spins and footwork and scored 200.23 points. Overall he accumulated 307.77 points and became the first European skater (and second skater in history) to crack the 300 points barrier. “It doesn’t matter how many times you win something, if it the first time or second time, it is always special”, Fernandez said. “It is so important to keep making history in my home and in figure skating. To be among those great figure skaters who have won this title four times in a row is such a special thing.  I am so happy for today and so happy to get four titles in a row but I don’t want this to finish today I want it to continue”, the 24-year-old added.

Bychenko’s performance to “Les Miserables” included a quadruple-single toeloop, a triple Axel as well as six more triple jumps, but he missed his second quad toe. The Israeli skater was ranked fourth in the Free Skating with 158.47 points, but overall pulled up to second at 242.56 points.

“I don’t know what to say about coming second, I’m beyond excited. I secretly hoped I would be on the podium, but I didn’t think I could get second place. It feels nice to make history”, the 27-year-old shared.

Kovtun landed a triple Axel-triple toe combination and three more triples in his program to a selection of music by Ludwig van Beethoven, but he struggled with the quadruple jumps, stumbling on the quad Salchow and taking a hard fall on the quad toe. However, his spins and footwork garnered a level four. The Russian Champion was sixth in the Free Skating with 154.12 points but held on to third place with 242.21 points. “I fought till the end. That’s what I can say. Overall I think I was better today than yesterday in the short program although there were moments when I felt worse. I got tired very quickly. When you manage three quads it is a huge morale boost but today that was not there”, the 2015 European silver medalist commented.

Florent Amodio (FRA) moved up from eighth to fourth. He turned in an emotional last competitive performance to “Memories of Sobral” and was ranked second in the Free Skating that included a quadruple Salchow and two triple Axels (240.96 points). Mikhail Kolyada (RUS), who stood in ninth place following the Short Program, finished fifth in his debut at the European Championships and ranked third in the Free Skating (236.58 points). Ivan Righini (ITA) remained in sixth place (236.36 points). Michal Brezina (CZE), who ranked third after the Short Program, dropped to 10th (211.81 points).

The ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2016 continue Friday with the Pairs Short Program and the Ladies Free Skating.