The home team swept up all the titles at this weekend’s Rostelecom Cup in Moscow, Russia and the roster of qualifiers for this season’s Grand Prix Final next month took further shape.
Men’s skating in Russia has been in the doldrums comparatively speaking since the heyday of Evgeni Plushenko, so it was somewhat of a surprise to see Russian men bag all three podium medals for the first time since 1998. It had been a decade since Plushenko was the last Russian to win a Rostelecom Cup title and Alexander Samarin was the man who took the honour while also booking himself a place in the Grand Prix Final. Dmitri Aliev picked up a silver medal to add to the bronze he won at Skate America which still has him in the running to join Samarin in Turin, Italy next month.
Makar Ignatov just edged out Japan’s Shoma Uno for bronze. Uno was coached in Moscow by Stephane Lambiel and, even though the Japanese skater did not medal this time, the turnaround from Internationaux de France was remarkable. It remains to be seen if the arrangement will become permanent, but it seemed to work well in Russia. We will be watching this space.
Alexandra The Great
For the fifth week in a row, a Russian skater won the ladies title at a Grand Prix event. This time it was Alexandra Trusova who backed up her win at Skate Canada with another victory in Moscow propelling her to the top of the Grand Prix standings and into the Final. The Russian was in second place following the short programme and had a couple of falls in her free skating, but her technical arsenal was unmatched by any other skater in the competition.
Evgenia Medvedeva had been in the lead following the short and the two-time World champion also had an excellent skate in the free to win silver. Mariah Bell from the United States of America rounded out the podium as she claimed her second Grand Prix medal of the season.
Changing of the Guard
Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozslovskii confirmed their standing as the leading Russian pair team this season with their second Grand Prix win. Coached by the legendary Tamara Moskvina in Saint Petersburg, the youngsters racked up the highest total score (229.48) of the series so far and will be making their Grand Prix Final debut next month.
There were better performances from Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov this weekend to give them the silver medal, but they will need to wait and see if they will join their compatriots in Turin.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the competition was Germany’s Minerva Fabienne Hase and Nolan Seegert taking bronze. From the expressions on their faces, you could tell how much the medal meant to the Germans.
Sinitsina and Katsalapov Do The Double
Fresh from victory at Cup of China last week, Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov punched their ticket to the Grand Prix Final with a back-to-back win in Moscow. The Russians were pushed close in the free dance by Canada’s Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier who came second overall and are also bound for Turin. This will be only the second appearance for the Canadians in the Final five years after their first. Spain’s Sara Hurtado and Kirill Khaliavin mounted the Rostelecom Cup for the second consecutive year as they finished third.