Anna Shcherbakova becomes World champion as Russian ladies sweep podium

Just two days before her seventeenth birthday, three-time Russian national champion Anna Shcherbakova ended the tough 2020-2021 figure skating season with the ultimate victory – a World title.

Leader after a clean short program performance on Wednesday, Shcherbakova was the final lady to step onto the ice on Friday for the free skate and a clean performance would have been enough to come away with the title. Initially having planned two quad jumps, the Russian attempted a quad flip to open her routine but fell and then opted for a triple flip-triple toe loop combination instead of another quad. In terms of errors, Shcherbakova wobbled on a spin more than halfway through the performance but in the end did enough to earn a high free skate score of 152.17 points and an overall result of 233.17 points for the gold medal.

Shcherbakova is coach Eteri Tutberidze’s third World champion – the others being Evgenia Medvedeva (2016 and 2017) and Alina Zagitova (2019). Since the 2014-2015 season, Russian ladies have won the gold medal at Worlds every year the event was held except 2018.

Third after the short program, 2015 World champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva began her free skate with a triple axel-double toe loop combination and then landed another triple axel. The opening sequence alone already promised a successful result. The 24-year-old Russian had a fall on the triple flip around the midway point of the program but pulled off a double axel-Euler-triple Salchow combination, a triple Lutz, and finally a triple loop in the end of the performance to capitalize on the base value being multiplied by 1.1.

Alexei Mishin’s longtime student earned 141.60 points for the performance and received an overall competition score of 220.46 points. As she learned the score in the kiss and cry area, Tuktamysheva held back tears as this was her first World Championships appearance in six years.

Uncharacteristically low twelfth after the short program, the third Russian lady Alexandra Trusova was the biggest mover up the standings. The 16-year-old became the first lady in history to attempt five quad jumps and landed three of them. Trusova opened with a quad flip, unfortunately fell on the quad Salchow, successfully completed the quad Lutz in a combination with a triple toe loop, fell on the next quad Lutz attempt, and then landed a quad toe loop in another combination with a Euler and a triple Salchow but it was downgraded.

Nevertheless, the two-time World Junior champion received 152.38 points for the free skate, which was the highest score for the segment – mainly due to a big technical base value score – and earned a total competition score of 217.20 points to rise all the way to third place and sweep the podium for the Figure Skating Federation of Russia banner.

As Russians rejoiced because of winning three medals, Rika Kihira had a terrible day and fell from second place after the short program to just seventh overall. Known for her triple axel and her ability to land a quad Salchow, she only did a double axel to open her free skate performance and then fell on the subsequent downgraded triple axel. She received an under-rotation on the next triple flip-Euler-triple Salchow combination and later had another downgraded jump – a triple Lutz.

At the 2019 World Championships, Kihira missed out on the bronze medal by just 0.31 points; today the two-time Japanese champion received a score of 126.62 points for the free skate and the overall result of 205.70 points even put her behind her compatriot.

Judges’ scores can be found here.

Final results

  1. Anna SHCHERBAKOVA (Figure Skating Federation of Russia) – 233.17
  2. Elizaveta TUKTAMYSHEVA (Figure Skating Federation of Russia) – 220.46
  3. Alexandra TRUSOVA (Figure Skating Federation of Russia) – 217.20
  4. Karen CHEN (United States) – 208.63
  5. Loena HENDRICKX (Belgium) – 208.44
  6. Kaori SAKAMOTO (Japan) – 207.80
  7. Rika KIHIRA (Japan) – 205.70
  8. Olga MIKUTINA (Austria) – 198.77
  9. Bradie TENNELL (United States) – 197.81
  10. Haein LEE (South Korea) – 193.44
  11. Yelim KIM (South Korea) – 191.78
  12. Ekaterina RYABOVA (Azerbaijan) – 189.46
  13. Madeline SCHIZAS (Canada) – 185.78
  14. Eva-Lotta KIIBUS (Estonia) – 181.47
  15. Josefin TALJEGARD (Sweden) – 178.10
  16. Lindsay VAN ZUNDERT (Netherlands) – 174.50
  17. Alexandra FEIGIN (Bulgaria) – 173.52
  18. Nicole SCHOTT (Germany) – 172.80
  19. Satoko MIYAHARA (Japan) – 172.30
  20. Alina URUSHADZE (Georgia) – 169.01
  21. Hongyi CHEN (China) – 162.79
  22. Eliska BREZINOVA (Czech Republic) – 155.14
  23. Natasha MCKAY (Great Britain) – 153.46
  24. Jenni SAARINEN (Finland) – 146.54

Did not advance to free skate:

  1. Alexia PAGANINI (Switzerland) – 57.23
  2. Kailani CRAINE (Australia) – 56.86
  3. Emily BAUSBACK (Canada) – 55.74
  4. Lara Naki GUTMANN (Italy) – 55.64
  5. Emmy MA (Chinese Taipei) – 55.63
  6. Julia LANG (Hungary) – 54.20
  7. Nelli IOFFE (Israel) – 52.43
  8. Ekaterina KURAKOVA (Poland) – 52.28
  9. Angelina KUCHVALSKA (Latvia) – 47.94
  10. Dasa GRM (Slovenia) – 47.76
  11. Anastasiia ARKHIPOVA (Ukraine) – 45.07
  12. Emilea ZINGAS (Cyprus) – 43.20
  13. Elzbieta KROPA (Lithuania) – 41.31

WD – Mae Berenice MEITE (France) – ruptured Achilles tendon in beginning of performance
WD – Yi Christy LEUNG (Hong Kong) – suffered injury in practice before competition

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