Alina Zagitova (RUS)
Russia’s World Junior Champion Alina Zagitova jumped and spun her way to gold in what was her debut at the ISU European Championships. Two-time European Champion Evgenia Medvedeva, also from Russia, settled for the silver medal in Moscow on Saturday. Five-time European Champion Carolina Kostner of Italy clinched the bronze, her eleventh European medal.
Skating precisely like Swiss clockwork Zagitova reeled off a triple Lutz-triple loop combination, a double Axel-triple toe, triple flip-double toe-double loop, three more triple jumps as well as a double Axel and level-four spins and footwork in her routine to “Don Quixote” by Leon Minkus. The 15-year-old achieved a personal best of 157.97 points and totaled 238.24 points.
“I was nervous today because there was a long break between training this morning and the competition. But today I wanted to skate a clean program and to enjoy it,” the World Junior Champion said. “I did not expect to win, I haven’t really realized it yet. To skate at home is on the one hand harder, because you don’t want to let down your home and your fans. On the other hand, it is easier, because you get so much support,” she added.
Evgenia Medvedeva (RUS)
Medvedeva opened her dramatic program to “Anna Karenina” with a shaky triple flip and could not add the planned triple toe for a combination. Unfazed, the two-time World Champion went on to nail a triple Lutz and then added the triple toe to her second flip. She followed up with a triple Salchow-triple toeloop and triple loop. The 18-year-old scored 154.29 points for the Free Skating and remained in second place at 232.86 points overall. It was Medvedeva’s first defeat since losing the Grand Prix Rostelecom Cup against Elena Radionova in fall 2015.
“My main victory is that I am standing here (after the injury). For all athletes, but for me too, their performances improve from competition to competition. The bigger the break in competing, the worse it is. Silver is silver. You can’t change the value of a medal, but after a two month break it is really not a bad result. But I am happy and when the whole audience is shouting your name it is simply incredible. When something that dear to my heart happens, I just close my eyes. I don’t want to leave that moment. I love the entire sport, and that I am here, that I am competing,” the two-time European Champion shared.
Carolina Kostner (ITA)
Kostner’s routine to “L’apres-midi d’un faune” featured three clean triples as well as difficult spins and footwork. However, the 2012 World Champion fell on her opening triple Lutz and struggled with a double Axel. The Italian was ranked fourth in the Free Skating at 125.95 points, but overall held on to third place with 204.25 points. “It was not at all my best performance and it’s a pity because my body’s ready and the practices were easy-going and mostly flawless and then you get into the competition and it just slips away. The good part is that other than the performance tonight the whole week was magnificent. To sum up I can go home with much more positives than negatives and I know what I need to work on for the Olympics,” Kostner commented.
ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final silver medalist Maria Sotskova (RUS) also missed a triple Lutz and remained in fourth place (200.81 points). Loena Hendrickx (BEL) pulled up from eight to fifth with a solid Tango program (176.91points) followed by Nicole Rajicova (SVK) on 171.90 points.