Here’s a short recap of some of the things that happened during the past week in the world of figure skating.
Figure skating went domestic this week as several nations held their national championships as the sport wound down before the Christmas and New Year break.
French Nationals took place at the Palais des Sports in the alpine town of Megève. Florent Amodio captured his fourth title with Romain Ponsart finishing second and Chafik Besseghier third. Maé-Bérénice Méité won the ladies event for only the second time ahead of Laurine Lecavalier and Léa Serna. Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres beat Daria Popova and Andrei Novoselov by over thirty seven points to make it a hat-trick of titles for the former. Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, the big new hopes of French figure skating, took the ice dance gold by an even bigger margin (almost sixty five points) showing the lack of depth in what was traditionally one of France’s strongest disciplines. It was the first of an expected many national titles for the Grand Prix Final bronze medallists.
Across the border, the 100th Italian Nationals was held at the Palavela in Torino, the site of the 2006 Olympics. Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte made a return to competitive ice after their ill-fated outing at Cup of China last month. The reigning World champions predictably coasted to their fourth consecutive national crown with Charlène Guignard and Marco Fabbri runners-up for the fifth time in a row. Mere months after embarking on a new career in pairs, Valentina Marchei won her first title in the discipline with partner Ondrej Hotarek. Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise were second for the third time running. Ivan Righini retained the title he won last season, while Giada Russo stood on the highest step of the podium for the very first time.
Following an extended period away from competition through injury, Kiira Korpi was back at Finnish Nationals in Vantaa and earned the fifth national title of her career. While her victory was comfortable enough, there remains a lot to be done technically for the three-time European medallist if she is to climb on to the podium in Stockholm next month.
Eleven months after Budapest hosted the European Figure Skating Championships, skaters from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia were back in the practice rink for that competition to contest the Four Nationals Championships. Despite a disastrous free skating, Michal Brezina was an easy winner and he led a Czech sweep in the men’s event. Nicole Rajicova of Slovakia triumphed over Hungary’s Ivett Toth with Eliska Brezinova, Brezina’s little sister, coming third. Federica Testa and Lukas Csolley were runaway winners in the ice dance.
With the highly successful Grand Prix Final in Barcelona behind them, Spain’s skating establishment moved to the Andalucian city of Granada for their nationals. Javier Fernandez came away with his fifth national title defeating Javier Raya and Felipe Montoya into second and third places respectively. Sonia Lafuente came from behind after the short to pull ahead of Fernandez’s number of titles with a sixth victory. Marta Garcia slipped down to second after the free. Sara Hurtado and Adria Diaz are the only ice dance team to have won their discipline and they did so for the fifth time. They will be joined at the European Championships by second place Celia Robledo and Luis Fenero.