During the sixth, and final, stage of this season’s International Skating Union (ISU) Grand Prix Series in Russia – the 2021 Rostelecom Cup – world records were shattered, a first time winner was found in the men’s event, and reigning world champions dominantly secured their places at next month’s ISU Grand Prix Final in Japan.
Having broken Alena Kostornaia’s two-year standing world record of the short program score yesterday, 15-year-old Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva set even higher benchmarks on Saturday – Valieva improved her own free skate score and total competition score world records, which she had just set last month at Skate Canada International.
The 2020 World Junior champion began her free skate performance at the Iceberg Skating Palace, in Sochi, with a quad Salchow, a triple axel, and a quad toe loop-triple toe loop combination – all three difficult elements received over three additional points for the grade of execution. Following a triple loop, Valieva successfully completed a quad toe loop-Euler-double Salchow combination, a triple flip-triple toe loop combination, and a triple Lutz in the second half of the routine. She earned level four ratings for all of her spins and her step sequence as well. Valieva received a free skate record breaking score of 185.29 points – almost five whole points more than her own previous record of 180.89 points – and earned a record breaking total score of 272.71 points – beating her previous total of 265.08 points.
2015 World champion and 2021 World silver medalist Elizaveta Tuktamysheva began her routine with a triple axel-double toe loop combination and then another solo triple axel – stepping out on the landing of the latter. The 24-year-old Russian earned positive grades of execution on all of the remaining jumping sequences and earned level four ratings for her spins and her step sequence alike.
Silver medalist at Skate Canada International behind Valieva, Tuktamysheva found herself at the same competition as her younger compatriot again – settling with a third consecutive silver medal this season, which is considered an impressive feat by most. Tuktamysheva received the competition’s third highest free skate score of 149.13 points and earned a total competition score of 229.23 points. She has not received a score lower than any non-Russian competitor this season.
Fifth after the short program, Maiia Khromykh completed two quad attempts in her free skate and earned a new personal best score for the performance – helping her rise to the bronze medal position. The 15-year-old team-mate of Valieva landed a quad toe loop-double toe loop combination to begin her routine and completed a solo quad toe loop after that – stepping out on the landing but avoiding falling. Khromykh then landed a triple loop, a double axel, a triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination, a triple flip-Euler-triple Salchow combination, and a triple Lutz. She received a score of 154.97 points – the third highest free skate score amount senior women this season – and earned a total competition score of 219.69 points.
- Kamila VALIEVA (RUS) – 272.71
- Elizaveta TUKTAMYSHEVA (RUS) – 229.23
- Maiia KHROMYKH (RUS) – 219.69
- Mariah BELL (USA) – 210.35
- Loena HENDRICKX (BEL) – 203.69
- Madeline SCHIZAS (CAN) – 192.14
- Viktoriia SAFONOVA (BLR) – 185.64
- Rino MATSUIKE (JPN) – 184.36
- Ekaterina KURAKOVA (POL) – 175.64
- Ekaterina RYABOVA (AZE) – 175.24
- Eva-Lotta KIIBUS (EST) – 163.11
- Olga MIKUTINA (AUT) – 161.09
After unexpected results following the men’s short program, the free skate event provided more surprises – popular Georgian figure skater Morisi Kvitelashvili posted a new personal best score and won his first ISU Grand Prix Series gold medal.
The 26-year-old presented his free skate program to music by Frank Sinatra. He opened his routine with a quad Salchow-double toe loop combination and then landed a triple axel. Later, he also completed a quad toe loop-triple toe loop combination and a triple loop. Kvitelashvili, who trains on Eteri Tutberidze’s team at Sambo-70, fell on a quad toe loop in the second half of the performance but successfully finished off the program with a triple flip-Euler-triple Salchow combination and a solo triple flip attempt. He received a new career high free skate score of 170.96 points and earned a new career best total competition score of 26.33 points.
2018 World bronze medalist Mikhail Kolyada secured his place at the ISU Grand Prix Final in two weeks by winning a second silver medal this season. Fourth after the short program, the 26-year-old Russian fell on his free skate opening quad Salchow and had to hold on to the landing of his subsequent quad toe loop but delivered a strong performance the rest of the way. Kolyada landed a triple axel-double toe loop combination, a triple loop, a quad toe loop-triple toe loop combination, a triple axel, and a triple Lutz-Euler-triple Salchow combination. Additionally, the three-time national champion was given level four ratings for all three spins and his step sequence. Kolyada received a competition best free skate score of 180.16 points and earned a total competition score of 264.64 points.
Leader after the short program, Japanese figure skater Kazuki Tomono earned the fifth best free skate score of the competition and dropped in the overall standings but maintained a position on the podium – equaling his bronze medal result at the Rostelecom Cup from 2018. The 23-year-old from Osaka presented his long program to music from the film La La Land. Tomono began his routine with three consecutive quad sequences – a quad toe loop-triple toe loop combination, a quad Salchow, and a quad toe loop. Later, he completed a triple loop and a triple axel-Euler-triple Salchow combination, fell on a solo triple axel, and successfully landed a triple flip-double toe loop combination. He received 168.38 points for his performance – a new personal best score – and earned a career best total competition score of 264.19 points.
- Morisi KVITELASHVILI (GEO) – 266.33
- Mikhail KOLYADA (RUS) – 264.64
- Kazuki TOMONO (JPN) – 264.19
- Roman SADOVSKY (CAN) – 253.80
- Matteo RIZZO (ITA) – 250.47
- Evgeni SEMENENKO (RUS) – 246.66
- Camden PULKINEN (USA) – 237.97
- Mark KONDRATIUK (RUS) – 231.88
- Keiji TANAKA (JPN) – 229.75
- Michal BREZINA (CZE) – 219.59
- Nika EGADZE (GEO) – 210.17
- Brendan KERRY (AUS) – 204.19
In the pair’s event, 2021 World champions Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov found themselves in second place after the short program but delivered an impressive free skate performance – earning just 0.03 points shy of their personal best score – and handedly won another stage of this season’s ISU Grand Prix Series.
Skating to music by Georgy Sviridov, the Russian figure skaters began their long program routine with a side-by-side triple Salchow-Euler-triple Salchow combination and a level four triple twist lift. They earned positive grades of execution on every element – successfully executing a triple Lutz throw, side-by-side triple toe loops, and a triple loop throw. Mishina and Galliamov received a score of 153.34 points for their presentation and earned a total competition score of 226.98 points.
Leaders after the short program, 2018 World Junior champions Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin presented their free skate program to Black Swan. They opened their routine with a side-by-side triple toe loop-triple toe loop-double toe loop combination and then side-by-side triple Salchows – unfortunately, Pavliuchenko falling on the latter. The second Russian pair were strong in the execution of their remaining technical elements – including a level four triple twist lift, a triple flip throw, and a triple loop throw. They received a new personal best free skate score of 138.68 points and earned a new career best total competition score of 212.59 points.
The third, and youngest, Russian couple Iasmina Kadyrova and Ivan Balchenko rounded out the podium positions. Bronze medalists at the ISU Challenger Series competition in Poland last week, Kadyrova and Balchenko opened their free skate performance with a level three triple twist lift and then completed a side-by-side triple Salchow-Euler-triple Salchow combination and side-by-side triple toe loops. Following a fall on the triple flip throw, the pair did not complete the required death spiral as Kadyrova fell on the attempt. Later Kadyrova successfully landed a triple loop throw. The figure skaters received a score of 124.19 points for their performance and earned a total competition score of 193.58 points.
- Anastasia MISHINA / Aleksandr GALLIAMOV (RUS) – 226.98
- Daria PAVLIUCHENKO / Denis KHODYKIN (RUS) – 212.59
- Iasmina KADYROVA / Ivan BALCHENKO (RUS) – 193.58
- Audrey LU / Misha MITROFANOV (USA) -186.16
- Kirsten MOORE-TOWERS / Michael MARINARO (CAN) – 177.72
- Ioulia CHTCHETININA / Mark MAGYAR (HUN) – 175.80
- Nicole DELLA MONICA / Matteo GUARISE (ITA) – 172.85
- Miriam ZIEGLER / Severin KIEFER (AUT) – 163.80
Reigning World champions Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov celebrated their second gold medals of this season’s ISU Grand Prix Series – the Russians being only one of two couples who managed to win both of their appearances after six total stages, the other ice dancers being their rivals Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron.
Sinitsina and Katsalapov had a seven-point lead after the rhythm dance and slightly increased it following their free dance performance despite a mistake in their long program. Katsalapov had a stumble on their stationary lift and the team suffered a two-point deduction for two extended lifts. They presented their free dance routine to music by Sergei Rachmaninoff.
Undefeated since the ISU Grand Prix Final in December 2019, Sinitsina and Katsalapov received a score of 124.91 points for their performance on Saturday and earned a total competition score of 211.71 points.
2019 European bronze medalists Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri claimed their second silver medals in this season’s ISU Grand Prix Series circuit and celebrated their fourth medal overall in four total competitions since September. Performing their free dance program to a combination of Dario Marianelli’s Atonement and Abel Korzeniowski’s Song For The Little Sparrow, the three-time Italian national champions received a score of 124.15 points for their presentation and a total competition result of 203.71 points.
Canadian ice dancers Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Soerensen won their second set of bronze medals this season, and claimed a fourth consecutive set of bronze medals in their last four ISU Grand Prix Series appearances since late 2019. Fournier Beaudry and Soerensen received a free dance score of 115.01 points and earned a total competition score of 191.40 points.
- Victoria SINITSINA / Nikita KATSALAPOV (RUS) – 211.72
- Charlene GUIGNARD / Marco FABBRI (ITA) – 203.71
- Laurence FOURNIER BEAUDRY / Nikolaj SOERENSEN (CAN) – 191.40
- Sara HURTADO / Kirill KHALIAVIN (ESP) – 189.94
- Kaitlin HAWAYEK / Jean-Luc BAKER (USA) – 187.62
- Anastasia SKOPTCOVA / Kirill ALESHIN (RUS) – 180.93
- Allison REED / Saulius AMBRULEVICIUS (LTU) – 177.88
- Elizaveta KHUDAIBERDIEVA / Egor BAZIN (RUS) – 177.51