European Ice Skating Championships
Posted 23 January 2013 - 04:18 PM
Anyway, today it was ice dance and pairs. Some old favorites looked a bit off and there were no newcomers of note. Sweden will have Alexander Majorov and the two sisters Helgesson, but we havent been able to find a single pair. Poor show, indeed so as Turkey had sent a reasonably competent guy and girl - well, they finished as number ten or something. Even so, I really do think Sweden could put in some effort...
One Russian girl in an Uzbeki outfit almost brought tears to my eyes, not only because she was good, but her name was Elena Ilinyhk - my eldest daughter's name is Elena and she was also a spitting image!
Italy seems to be doing quite well - I will stay glued to the TV set for the remainder of the week.
Posted 23 January 2013 - 04:38 PM
Posted 24 January 2013 - 04:11 PM
Pairs: Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov Russia
Alina and Robin - Germany, my absolute favorite couple for a long time now, they are divine
Stefania Berton and Ondrej Hutarek -Italy.
My other favorite, the doll like Kawaguti did not do too well, pity. She is so cute, like an elfin on the ice, but it didnt quite work out.
Posted 24 January 2013 - 04:19 PM
I'd loved Berntsson from the first time I saw him in Malmo at Europeans in 2003. I know that Schultheiss has struggled with injuries and surgeries over the last few years, but I didn't realized he has left the sport for good. He was such an interesting skater with many unusual music choices and creative programs.
Kovtun was a controversial choice for the Russian Euros team, having placed lower at Russian Nationals than long-time veteran Konstantin Menshov. I'm glad he was able to put it aside and give a strong performance. He was eye-catching at the 2011 Junior Grand Prix Final.
Posted 26 January 2013 - 04:04 PM
In Spain, when I lived there people did not know what "patinage" was even, I had to explain and people were dumbfounded. Look at them now! Well, nice that things change.
The two Swedish sisters did very well indeed, 5th place for Victoria Helgesson and 8th for younger sister Joshi, well done, both of them!
And of course Carolina Kostner took gold, again. That was kind of expected.
Posted 26 January 2013 - 05:22 PM
I still miss Berntsson, but he decided to get a life, and even while he was skating, earned at least his undergraduate degree in computer science (and might have even finished his Master's degree before he retired).
The Helgesson sisters have earned three spots for Sweden next year. The next up-and-coming skater from Sweden is Isabella Olsson, who has earned the very high technical scores needed to qualify for World Championships this season. She'll be a front-runner for the third spot and should be formidable competition for Joshi Helgesson, if there is a second spot for Worlds and Olympics next year.
Evgeny Plushenko, who was expected to defend his title, could barely bend over to pick up the things people threw on the ice for him and withdrew after the SP, and sadly, last year's silver medalist and Worlds bronze medalist in 2011, Artur Gachinsky, didn't qualify this year. Plushenko has been so dominant and Yagudin before and concurrent with him, that it's easy to think that Russia has been dominant for longer than they have. Plushenko won Europeans in 2010 and 2012, with Gachinski taking silver in 2012, but from 2007-2009 and in 2011, there were no Russian Men on the Euros podium; it had been dominated by France's Joubert and Amodio and Czech Republic's Tomas Verner, with occasional appearence by Stephane Lambiel (when healthy) and comeback skater Samuel Contesti. Gachinski's Worlds bronze in 2011 was the first Worlds medal for a Russian man since Plushenko's win in Dortmund in 2004. (Plushenko and Yagudin won Worlds from 1998-2004, and when they both competed, they both were on the podium.)
Verner's technical scores were frighteningly low: his program components scores were nearly double his technical scores, which shows the judges haven't lost any love for him, and he'd be competitive for the podium were he to get his jumps back. His countryman Michal Brezina won his first medal, bronze, after being the perennial 4th place finisher.
Fernandez's "Chaplin" program is a beautifully constructed, skated, and performed program. He landed three quad jumps, one in combination, but it's wonderful to have a champion whose performance and choreography was as strong as his technical program.
Kostner is coming back from a slow start this season: she skipped Grand Prix and competed internationally only in a small competition until Europeans. Her free skate to "Bolero" won't make anyone forget Torvill and Dean for a second, but her carriage and elegance have improved even from last year, when she had a Kylian-inspired (after "Petite Mort") free skate program to Mozart.
The two 16-year-old Russian Ladies seem like they've been around forever -- at 12, silver and bronze medalists Sotnikova and Tuktamysheva won their first Senior Russian Nationals gold and silver medals, respectively; Sotnikova won two more championships in 2010 and 2011, while Tuktamysheva is the reigning Russian champion -- and they both have Junior World Championship and Senior Grand Prix medals, but this is the first year they're old enough for Senior championships, and they went straight to the podium.
Fourth place Valentina Marchei has made big strides in her jump technique; she's currently training with former Ladies World Champion, Yuka Sato, and former US Pairs Champion, Jason Dungjen, in the Detroit area. I wouldn't be surprised to see her in the Top 10 at Worlds in London (Ontario) in March.
One of the best trends in skating has been the emergence of former ice dancers choreographing for elite singles and pairs skaters, in response to the judging system's rewards for transitions. One of Marchei's choreographers is Massimo Scali, a European medalist ice dancer. Off the top of my head, this year I've also seen programs by Shae Lynn Borne, Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon, Julie Marcotte, and Ilia Averbukh. (Christopher Dean and Maria Zoueva have been choreographing for top skaters for a long time, and although Morozov came from Ice Dance, you might not know it from watching his programs.) Their programs are more intricate and interesting choreographically than many standard singles and pairs programs.
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