At the sixth, and final, stage of this season’s International Skating Union (ISU) Grand Prix Series in Russia – the 2021 Rostelecom Cup – a new world record was set by Kamila Valieva; Kazuki Tomono continued a successful season by Japanese men; Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin lead over the reigning World champions; Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov are in position to dominate the ice dance event.
In her debut international senior level season, 15-year-old Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva continues to cement her status as an Olympic favorite – having set world records for both the free skate and total competition scores last month in Canada, Valieva smashed the world record for the short program score today in Russia.
Skating to In Memoriam by Kirill Richter, the Sambo-70 representative began her short program performance with a triple axel and earned well over an additional two and a half points for the execution of the element. Valieva also completed a triple flip and a triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination, as well as earned level four ratings for all of her spins and her step sequence. She received a record breaking 87.42 points – beating team-mate Alena Kostornaia’s previous record of 85.45 points.
2015 World champion and 2021 World silver medalist Elizaveta Tuktamysheva earned a short program score in the eighties for the fourth consecutive international competition. She also began her routine with a triple axel, later completing a triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination and a triple flip. The 24-year-old has participated at both of the other competitions that Valieva took part in this season – finishing as the runner-up at both the Finlandia Trophy and the Skate Canada International. Tuktamysheva received a short program score of 80.10 points at the Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi.
2020 U.S. silver medalist Mariah Bell was sixth last week at the Internationaux de France but made a quick turnaround and improved this week – she holds the third podium position heading into tomorrow’s free skate event. The 25-year-old American started her short program with a double axel and later completed a triple flip-double toe loop combination as well as a triple Lutz. Bell received a score of 69.37 points.
Results after short program:
- Kamila VALIEVA (RUS) – 87.42
- Elizaveta TUKTAMYSHEVA (RUS) – 80.10
- Mariah BELL (USA) – 69.37
- Madeline SCHIZAS (CAN) – 67.49
- Maiia KHROMYKH (RUS) – 64.72
- Loena HENDRICKX (BEL) – 64.44
- Rino MATSUIKE (JPN) – 62.98
- Ekaterina RYABOVA (AZE) – 58.87
- Viktoriia SAFONOVA (BLR) – 58.19
- Olga MIKUTINA (AUT) – 57.09
- Ekaterina KURAKOVA (POL) – 56.43
- Eva-Lotta KIIBUS (EST) – 49.26
Skating to music from the Italian film Cinema Paradiso, Japanese figure skater Kazuki Tomono earned a new personal best short program score and took the lead of the men’s discipline heading into tomorrow’s free skate event.
Fifth at the 2018 World Championships, the 23-year-old began his performance with a quad toe loop-triple toe loop combination – later also completing a quad Salchow and a triple axel. Tomono received a score of 95.81 points. The latter improved his personal best score by over seven points – he previously earned 88.22 points at the 2020 Four Continents Championships where he finished seventh overall.
Georgian representative Morisi Kvitelashvili also improved his personal best short program score, by nearly six points, and claimed second place in the event. The Moscow-born figure skater started his performance with a quad Salchow-triple toe loop combination and then landed a triple axel. Skating to Tout l’univers by Gjon’s Tears, the 26-year-old completed a quad toe loop in the second half of the routine. Kvitelashvili earned a score of 95.37 points – beating his previous personal best score of 89.94 points, which he achieved at the Rostelecom Cup in 2018, and won the silver medal behind Yuzuru Hanyu yet ahead of Tomono.
2020 Canadian national champion Roman Sadovsky finds himself in a career-best third place on the ISU Grand Prix Series circuit after the short program. The 22-year-old opened his routine with a quad Salchow. Later, Sadovsky completed a triple axel and a triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination. He earned a score of 84.59 points.
Results after short program:
- Kazuki TOMONO (JPN) – 95.81
- Morisi KVITELASHVILI (GEO) – 95.37
- Roman SADOVSKY (CAN) – 84.59
- Mikhail KOLYADA (RUS) – 84.48
- Camden PULKINEN (USA) – 83.47
- Michal BREZINA (CZE) – 82.31
- Evgeni SEMENENKO (RUS) – 81.00
- Brendan KERRY (AUS) – 80.48
- Matteo RIZZO (ITA) – 77.45
- Keiji TANAKA (JPN) – 76.69
- Mark KONDRATIUK (RUS) – 74.16
- Nika EGADZE (GEO) – 50.35
2018 World Junior champions Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin took a surprising lead after the short program in the pairs’ event – over reigning World champions Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov – leading a Russian trio in the battle for the medals.
Previously, this season, silver medalists at Skate Canada, Pavliuchenko and Khodykin presented an eccentric and entertaining short program routine. Skating to Be Italian by Fergie, the Russian pair opened their performance with a level four triple twist lift, a successful triple loop throw, and side-by-side triple toe loops. Pavliuchenko and Khodykin received a score of 73.91 points – four points more than they earned in Canada, 69.46 points.
Favorites of the event, Mishina and Galliamov began their short program with a triple twist lift and a triple Lutz throw. Unfortunately, an error by Mishina on the side-by-side triple Salchows caused the element to be downgraded. The Russian representatives received a score of 73.64 points – trailing their leading compatriots by only 0.27 points.
The youngest of the Russian pairs, Iasmina Kadyrova and Ivan Balchenko received a new personal best short program score of 69.39 points. In their sole ISU Grand Prix Series event this season, Kadyrova and Balchenko received positive grades of execution on every element – including side-by-side triple Salchows and a triple loop throw.
Results after short program:
- Daria PAVLIUCHENKO / Denis KHODYKIN (RUS) – 73.91
- Anastasia MISHINA / Aleksandr GALLIAMOV (RUS) – 73.64
- Iasmina KADYROVA / Ivan BALCHENKO (RUS) – 69.39
- Audrey LU / Misha MITROFANOV (USA) – 64.97
- Ioulia CHTCHETININA / Mark MAGYAR (HUN) – 63.99
- Nicole DELLA MONICA / Matteo GUARISE (ITA) – 59.92
- Kirsten MOORE-TOWERS / Michael MARINARO (CAN) – 58.95
- Miriam ZIEGLER / Severin KIEFER (AUT) – 58.53
In the ice dance event, reigning World champions Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov earned a slightly higher rhythm dance score – higher by 0.48 points – than they did two weeks ago in Japan when they won the NHK Trophy.
The Russian couple performed their program to a combination of You Can Leave Your Hat On by Joe Cocker and Brick House by The Commodores. Undefeated since the ISU Grand Prix Final in December 2019, Sinitsina and Katsalapov received a score of 86.81 points and lead the nearest competitors by over seven points.
Three-time Italian national champions Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri are on route to win their second set of medals on this seasons ISU Grand Prix Series circuit – having won silver medals at Skate Canada International in October. Skating to music by Michael Jackson, the longtime duo earned a slightly higher score than they did in Canada – receiving 79.56 points for their rhythm dance presentation.
Bronze medalist at Skate America last month, Canadian ice dancers Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Soerensen are third after the rhythm dance. Performing their routine to a mixture of songs by George Michael, the couple earned a score of 79.39 points.
Results after rhythm dance:
- Victoria SINITSINA / Nikita KATSALAPOV (RUS) – 86.81
- Charlene GUIGNARD / Marco FABBRI (ITA) – 79.56
- Laurence FOURNIER BEAUDRY / Nikolaj SOERENSEN (CAN) – 76.39
- Sara HURTADO / Kirill KHALIAVIN (ESP) – 75.94
- Kaitlin HAWAYEK / Jean-Luc BAKER (USA) – 73.72
- Anastasia SKOPTCOVA / Kirill ALESHIN (RUS) – 71.95
- Allison REED / Saulius AMBRULEVICIUS (LTU) – 71.43
- Elizaveta KHUDAIBERDIEVA / Egor BAZIN (RUS) – 71.05