That Was The Week That Was In Figure Skating (12-18 October 2015)

We take a quick look back at what happened in the world of skating over the course of the past week.

Hanyu Makes Season Debut

The Allandale Recreation Centre in Barrie, Canada had never quite seen anything like it. Hundreds of Japanese fans and media descended on the city for the Autumn Classic International which this year featured Yuzuru Hanyu in the men’s event. With a step out on the landing of a quadruple toe loop in the short programme, the Olympic champion was not flawless, but still managed to post an impressive 93.14 to take the lead. In his free skating, he landed both a quad toe and a quad Salchow as well as two triple Axels. His only major error was a fall on a second quad toe. Hanyu received 184.05 for his free to give a winning total of 277.19. Nam Nguyen, his Canadian training partner, came second with 241.10 while Sean Rabbitt, on his first ever international assignment, bagged the bronze with a total of 201.70.

Local favourites Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford were easy victors in the pairs competition despite mistakes in both segments of the event. Duhamel doubled a scheduled triple Lutz in the short, fell on a quad Salchow throw in the free where she also singled out on a quad Lutz throw. The World champions posted a combined score of 202.61. Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran took silver with 177.86 with fellow Americans Jessica Pfund and Joshua Santillan taking bronze on 149.25.

Elizabet Tursybayeva won her first senior international coming from behind after the short. Aside from a step out on a triple Lutz, the Kazakh, who trains with Brian Orser in Toronto, had a great skate in the free to move up to first with 179.72. Haruka Imai also moved up one place to finish second on 174.89, while overnight leader Angela Way dropped down to third on 172.36.

A relatively low-key ice dance event saw the new Canadian team of Nicole Orford and Asher Hill win their debut international with a total of 146.65. Their teammates Andreann Poulin and Marc-Andre Servant had been fourth after the short dance, but climbed to second overall on 132.35. Karina Manta and Joseph Johnson from the United States came third with 131.89.

High Scores At Mordovian Ornament

This week saw the launch of a new competition, the curiously named Mordovian Ornament, which is part of the ISU Challenger Series. Maxim Kovtun was the favourite to win the men’s event, but a fall on a quad toe and singling a triple Axel in the short had him down in fourth going into the free. Despite a fall on a quad Salchow in the free, the European silver medallist rocketed up the standings to claim first with 236.38. The Russian narrowly defeated Daniel Samohin who came second with 235.14. Russia’s Moris Kvitelashvili took third on 230.24.

Elena Ilinykh and Ruslan Zhiganshin bagged a full set of new personal bests on their way to winning their first international title together as a team. The Russian champions racked up a total score of 176.70 to give them the gold. It was a second silver in as many weeks for Isabella Tobias and Ilia Tkachenko who also achieved personal bests in both segments to end up with a total of 160.98. Natalia Kaliszek and Maksim Spodirev from Poland finished third on 150.60.

There was a minor upset in the ladies event with Anna Pogorilaya putting together two excellent programmes that provided the European bronze medallist with the best scores of her career. A seven triple free contributed enormously to a massive total of 214.07. All the attention had been on Adelina Sotnikova who was returning to international competition 20 months after her victory at the Sochi Olympics. It all started wonderfully for the Olympic champion who created a new personal best of 75.57 for her short. However, she couldn’t quite live up to that standard in the free where she doubled a couple of jumps and singled a triple flip. In the end, she came second with 203.89. Maria Artemieva made it a Russian clean sweep as she came third on 173.87.

Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov opened their 2015/2016 campaign with the highest score for a short they have ever earned. 76.02 is also the best mark any pairs team has posted so far this season. There were a couple of errors in the free with Kavaguti falling out of double Axel and then falling to the ice on a quad Salchow throw attempt. It was still comfortably enough to put them on top with 214.05 which also represents a personal best. Natalja Zabijako and Alexander Enbert grabbed a first international medal as a couple as they took the silver with 196.22 and Lithuania’s Goda Butkute and Nikita Ermolaev prevented total Russian domination by coming third with a score of 141.80.

Tuktamysheva Cuts It Fine In Nice

In stark contrast to last season, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva has competed sparingly so far with Coupe de Nice her debut competition this season. Things went badly wrong in the short for the World champion with mistakes on all three jumping passes, including a fall on a triple Axel attempt, putting her down in second going into the free. A solid free in which she scored 120.11 lifted her up into first with a total of 179.23. The Russian will have to do a lot better if she is to replicate 2014/2015. Alena Leonova was in the lead after the short by a healthy margin, but a fall and a time violation deduction in the free cost her dearly and she had to be content with second and a total of 178.59. France’s Laurine Lecavalier brought a much welcomed bronze to the host nation when she earned a combined score of 155.78.

There was more French joy in the men’s event with Chafik Besseghier winning convincingly with a total of 231.11. Sweden’s Alexander Majorov captured silver on 220.10 and Dmitry Aliev of Russia the bronze with 217.86.

In a small all-European pairs event, Mari Vartmann and Ruben Blommaert were the cream of the crop and they won their first title since they teamed up posting a total score of 165.40. Miriam Ziegler and Severin Kiefer from Austria were second on 141.02 with Camille Mendoza and Pavel Kovalev of France third on 127.00.

Finland’s Cecilia Torn and Jussiville Partanen had a surprise win in the ice dance event fending off the French team of Lorenza Alessandrini and Pierre Souquet-Basiege for the gold. Carolane Soucisse and Simon Tanguay from Canada who had been leading after the short dropped down to third overall.

Spanish Split

On 16 October, Sara Hurtado announced her split from partner Adria Diaz on her social media accounts. The Spaniards were the first ice dance team to represent their country at international level and also the first to skate at an Olympic Games. Hurtado outlined her intention to return to Madrid to consider her options for the future, while it is unclear at the moment what her former partner will do.

Zahorski Finds Release

On the same day the French Federation of Ice Sports (FFSG) revealed it had furnished Tiffany Zahorski with a release. The British born ice dancer who last competed for France in 2012 needed the release to be able to compete with her partner Jonathan Guerreiro for his native Russia. All that the team now needed is the clearance certificate from the International Skating Union (ISU) before they can skate in international competitions.

Grand Prix Assignments Updates

With less than a week to go before the start of the Grand Prix Series, there have been quite a few alterations to the rosters at the different events.

Mari Vartmann and Ruben Blommaert (GER) received their first GP assignment and will participate in Cup of China.

Takahiko Kozuka (JPN) withdrew from Cup of China citing an injury and replaced by Ivan Righini (ITA), while Jin Seo Kim (KOR) was added to the entry list at Trophee Eric Bompard.

Further to their break-up as a team, Sara Hurtado and Adria Diaz (ESP) have had their names removed from the entries for Trophee Eric Bompard and Rostelecom Cup.

Elene Gedevanishvili (GEO) has been scratched from the participants for Skate Canada.

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