Sunday, June 26

Russian Troika Sweeps As USA Win Third Olympic Place In Figure Skating Worlds | Figure skating


A sweep of the women’s medals on Friday further marked Russia’s dominance of these world figure skating championships.

However, the two American women did enough to earn a third place at the Olympics next year.

Three-time national champion Anna Shcherbakova made her first World Cup gold appearance despite finishing second behind compatriot Alexandra Trusova in free skating. Shcherbakova, who will turn 17 on Sunday, won the short program.

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, the 2015 world champion, won silver on her return to the event, ahead of Trusova. It was the second 1-2-3 result in the modern era, tying the United States with Kristi Yamaguchi, Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan in 1991.

This year’s Americans got exactly what they needed to get a third place at the Beijing Games. Karen Chen, repeating her fourth place in 2017 with exactly the same award being sought, and American champion Bradie Tennell, who was ninth, needed a total of 13 places or less.

Bingo.

“I feel like I am a totally different person and skater than I was in 2017,” Chen said. “In the past, skating was my everything and it is still my everything, but I have a better understanding of my life. … I know that skating is something I really love, and I want to do my best right now. “

Despite landing on two jumps and landing two feet on another, Trusova won free skating primarily because of the unprecedented difficulty of her program, flawed as it was. Her performance wasn’t outstanding either, but Trusova became the first woman to land multiple quads on worlds by nailing two of the five she tried.

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That raised her from 12th place to third and was a clear indication that the judges favored technical bravery over artistic brilliance.

Shcherbakova had many of both, but looked stunned as her marks revealed victory. He seemed to need confirmation from his trainers that the gold was his.

“I really don’t know what to say now, after my performance, I felt like I really tried to do my best and tried to fight for every element,” Shcherbakova said. “It was a real fight for me, because from the first element, everything was not as I wanted and each (remaining) element I understood that I try to do my best in the element and not lose points.”

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova
Silver medalist Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, gold medalist Anna Shcherbakova and bronze medalist Alexandra Trusova celebrate on the podium. Photograph: Anders Wiklund / EPA

Chen posted a career-high 134.23 in free skating, but her overall total of 208.63, also a career-high, didn’t get her anywhere near the podium. Still, the team’s reward was uplifting for the 2017 American gold medalist.

Tennell’s disappointing performance left her in ninth place. Tennell, who had some trouble with his boots, interrupted a combination, took another jump with less rotation and showed little spark.

“All the competition didn’t go according to plan,” Tennell said. “I am very disappointed, to be honest, with my skates. It’s not what I’ve been training at all. I have been training clean, short and long programs, so to come here and present these performances is very disappointing, especially in such an important competition.

Ice dance

Previously, Russia extended its dominance in these championships when Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov took up the rhythm of the dance. Russians have already won pairs that almost always do.

Sinitsina and Katsalapov were ahead of American champions Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue by 2.10 points, with compatriots Madison Chock and Evan Bates exactly three points behind the leaders.

“We have to finish the work that we already did,” Sinitsina said. “We came here ready to do our best.”

All three duos were in great shape.

The Russians flowed melodically through their “Singing in the Rain” routine. They had upset four-time world winners Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France at last season’s European Championships, an event that was not held this year.

Hubbell and Donohue, fourth in the 2018 Olympics and winners of two world medals, posted a career-high 86.05 to a mix of Christina Aguilera songs from “Burlesque.” He clenched his fist at the end of a strong program.

“We also realized that this year was not going to be our typical season and the fans would not be in the stands, Hubbell said.

“And, for the most part, we would be performing for the judges and the skating community and, of course, for the fans at home. But the people who were going to be there were these judges, who have devoted much of their life and time to this journey with us, and we thought they would want to see something new from us. “

Chock and Bates, two-time American and Olympic champions and owners of two world medals, sang to Cole Porter’s “Too Darn Hot”.

“It’s a very energetic program,” Chock noted, “and that kind of energy really creates a stir in the arena, even if there aren’t that many people, and there was a really good vibe today.”

Only in the rhythmic part of the ice dance, with the same patterns required for each pair, the music could range from Broadway to the Bee Gees and the Blues Brothers, from “Grease” to “The Greatest Showman”. Yet somehow it worked, whether they were Russian or American, Canadian or British.

Americans Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker ranked 11th in the free dance on Saturday.


www.theguardian.com

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