That Was The Week That Was In Figure Skating (30 November – 6 December 2015)

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

Golden Spin Closes Out Challenger Series

With just the Grand Prix Final left next week, the attention of the skating world shifted away to the final event of this season’s ISU Challenger Series, the Golden Spin of Zagreb in Croatia. Denis Ten put his difficult outings in his Grand Prix assignments with a comprehensive victory in the men’s event with clean skates in both the short programme and the free skating that garnered him a winning total of 276.39. Adam Rippon finished a somewhat distant second on 237.87 with Russia’s Adian Pitkeev in third on 223.68.

As the Grand Prix Final is off the cards, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva used Golden Spin as a final tune-up before the battle royale of Russian Nationals later on this month. The triple Axel in the short was one of the better attempts she has had so far this season until she nailed an even better one in the free. There were further minor errors in the free, but the World champion won the event easily with a total score of 201.33. Elizabet Tursynbaeva from Kazakhstan won silver with 176.33 and the U.S.A.’s Karen Chen was a smidgeon behind on 175.35 for the bronze. Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova finished a dismal sixth overall.

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva

In the pairs competition, Russia occupied the first two spots on the podium with Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov scoring 192.22 and Kristina Astakhova and Alexei Rogonov 183.88 to finish first and second respectively. Tarah Kayne and Daniel O’Shea bagged third with a total of 174.96.

Italy’s Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri were the class of the field in the ice dance event and coasted to claim the title and a complete new set of personal bests resulting in a total of 172.28. Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker from the United States were the recipients of the silver medal with a combined total score of 153.06, while Armena’s Tina Garabedian and Simon Proulx-Senecal took a rare skating medal for that nation with a total of 127.92. The Armenians tied exactly with Japan’s Emi Hirai and Marien de la Asuncion, but were given a bronze on a tie-breaker.

Final Challenger Series Standings

The Top 3 in the Challenger Series standings in each discipline received prize money. Russian skaters swept the final ladies rankings with two Russian pairs finishing behind the new pairs team of Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot. The U.S. took the first two spots in the men’s category.

Men
1. Jason Brown (USA)
2. Max Aaron (USA)
3. Mikhail Kolyada (RUS)

Ladies
1. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS)
2. Anna Pogorilaya (RUS)
3. Adelina Sotnikova (RUS)

Pairs
1. Aliona Savchenko/Bruno Massot (GER)
2. Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov (RUS)
3. Natalja Zabijako/Alexander Enbert (RUS)

Ice Dance
1. Charlene Guignard/Marco Fabbri (ITA)
2. Isabella Tobias/Ilia Tkachenko (ISR)
3. Natalia Kaliszek/Maksim Spodirev (POL)
Russian-Turkish Politics Spill Over Into Skating

Turkish media reported this week that Alisa Agafonova and Alper Ucar, 2014 Turkish Olympians in ice dance, had been obliged to leave their Russian coach Alexander Zhulin and training base in Moscow on the instructions of Turkish Youth and Sports Ministry. Diplomatic relations have deteriorated between the two nations following the shooting down of a Russian warplane by Turkish armed forces. Turkey claimed the aircraft had violated its airspace. It is unclear at this point where Agafonova and Ucar will train.

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