Grenoble, France

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Shcherbakova (RUS) skates off with second Grand Prix gold of the season in Grenoble

2021 ISU World Champion Anna Shcherbakova of Russia skated off with her second ISU Grand Prix gold medal this season at the Internationaux de France in Grenoble Saturday. Alena Kostornaia, also from Russia, secured the silver medal while Japan’s Wakaba Higuchi climbed from sixth to earn the bronze.

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Anna Shcherbakova (RUS) © International Skating Union (ISU)

Overnight leader Shcherbakova had to overcome a shock at the beginning of her program to “Ruska”, “The Master and Margarita” and “Lacrimosa” when she slipped on the take-off for her planned quad Lutz and fell. The 2020 European silver medalist recovered instantly to hit a quad flip and seven triple jumps including triple-triple combinations. The spins and footwork merited a level four. The World Champion scored 151.75 points for a total of 229.69 points.

“I was shocked after the performance – I didn’t understand what happened on my first jump and after the program I was still not realizing what happened,” Shcherbakova said. “The jumps went well in the warm-up and I was very confident. The mistake threw me off and I was very upset, but I did all my elements afterwards, which was very important.”

Performing to “Lovely” by Billie Eilish, Kostornaia had a shaky start as well, missing her triple Axel, but rallied to produce seven triple jumps and level-four spins. The 2019 ISU Grand Prix Final Champion set a season’s best with 145.41 points and accumulated 221.85 points overall for her second Grand Prix medal this season following her bronze at Skate Canada.

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Alena Kostornaia (RUS) © International Skating Union (ISU)

“I made a mistake on my triple Axel, a big mistake,” said Kostornaia. “I was shocked because I did it in the practices in Moscow and we hoped I'd do two triple Axels, but I couldn’t and it was sad. But I did the other jumps and I'm happy about it.”

Higuchi delivered an excellent performance to the “Lion King” that featured a slightly under-rotated triple Axel (q) and six clean triples. The 2018 World silver medalist achieved a personal best with 141.04 points, which added up to 204.91 points.

“Today was the best performance of the season and I am satisfied,” said the Japanese skater. “I made some little mistakes, that’s why my score was 141 points, but it is a good learning curve and I can improve going into Nationals.”

Kseniia Sinitsyna (RUS) slightly under-rotated three jumps and slipped from third to fourth at 198.76 points. Karen Chen (USA) remained in fifth place at 194.00 points while Mariah Bell (USA) pulled up from 10th to sixth (190.79 points).

Shcherbakova now advances to the ISU Grand Prix Final with her two victories on the circuit. Kostornaia most likely made it with her silver and bronze, but will have to wait and see what happens next week at Rostelecom Cup.

For full results, see here.