Russian duel without Uno
Russian girls have long been accustomed to the fact that in any international tournament they fight only among themselves. Men have not been pleased with this for a very long time, but at the Moscow stage of the Grand Prix they will have such a chance. Two factors came together - two of the strongest Russian singles at the moment, Alexander Samarin and Dmitry Aliyev, will come to the capital, while their main rivals have started serious problems.
Samarin managed to mark the first silver in his career at competitions in France, where he showed the third total result of the season in the world. Only a week later, Jin Boyang was able to surpass his 265.10 points. Such a good assessment was brought to the Russians by the increased complexity of the programs - now he jumps the quadruple flip, while stably performing a complex cascade with quadruple lutz.
But Alexander still lacks self-discipline to demonstrate all his planned content, and without this, the judges will not give high marks for the components. A student of Elena Buyanova is trying to climb very high, and I want to hope that he succeeds.
Aliyev, compared to last season, is progressing even more than Samarin. A year ago, the athlete from Ukhta did little, and now he has not scored less than 249 points in three official tournaments - according to an average rating, he is in the top five of the world.
At the same time, Aliyev also has room to grow - he does not land his fourth lutz as often as he would like, but when he succeeds, then any program can be considered successful. So it was at the stage of the Grand Prix in the United States, where Aliyev took third place, giving way to Jason Brown quite a bit.
The doors to the Grand Prix finals are now practically open for both Russians - in Moscow, they may well occupy the first and second places and pass the selection. It was supposed that Syoma Uno should prevent them, but the vice champion of the Olympic Games fails the current season, starting with leaving his coach this summer.
The Japanese did not find a new mentor, and the whole world saw what this led to at the stage in France - Uno made as many as five falls. Of course, if he shows everything that he could before, he can easily win in Moscow, but now there are great doubts about it.
New Pillar Pair
In the doubles tournament, it’s unlikely that even in theory, someone will be able to prevent the Russian participants from winning. The leaders of the national team of the past and this season will take home ice - Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov will try to regain the leading positions that they took away from Alexander Boykov and Dmitry Kozlovsky.
They had already met in Canada, and then the victory went to the young wards of Tamara Moskvina. Boykova and Kozlovsky earned a very high score of 216.71 points, while Tarasova and Morozov remained in third place due to a gross error in support.
Both couples will try to improve their result. Students of Marina Zueva need to already show that moving to the United States this summer was not a mistake, and the couple was able to learn something new. Fundamental changes are not yet noticeable, if you do not take into account more serious programs, one of which was put by Olympic champion Charlie White.
But Boykova and Kozlovsky need to think about how to surprise the season leaders from China Sui Wenjing and Han Kun this season. The couple has excellent outbursts and jumps, but the judges are still lowering Russians' points for todes and twists. Until the two couples meet in the Grand Prix finals, Moskvina’s students need to progress further and their intermediate work can be seen in Moscow.
An interesting event of the competition will be the return to the ice of Olympic champion Ksenia Stolbova. In 2018, her couple with Fyodor Klimov broke up, and now the 27-year-old skater is skating with the former representative of France Andrei Novosyolov. The Grand Prix stage will be their first competition - until the couple even performed at the Cup of Russia, although this fall they announced themselves at tournaments of this level. At the September test rentals, Stolbova and Novosyolov were pleased with the release of triple lutz, but could not cope with the jumps.
Russia vs Canada in dancing
Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov will try to repeat their success a week after winning the Grand Prix in China. But in ice dancing, rare competitions do without the participation of two equal in strength couples fighting for gold. In Moscow, Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier will compete with the Russians, who also managed to rise to the highest level of the podium of the home Grand Prix.
Both duets this season received almost the same recognition from the judges. The Russians won with a score of 209.90 points, while Canadians scored only 0.89 points less, but their grades for free dance were higher than those of the wards of Alexander Zhulin. The same tense fight between them is expected in Moscow, but usually home ice still gives some advantage, especially in dancing.
Russian-Canadian confrontation will occur at a more youthful level. In “Megasport” there will be two duets who won the last world championships among juniors. In 2018, gold went to Anastasia Skoptsova and Kirill Alyoshin, and last season - Marjorie Lajua and Zachary Laga. Moscow viewers will have a chance to see couples who in the next Olympic cycle will already constitute serious competition at the adult level. But they are not fighting for medals yet, so the duo Sarah Hurtado, also familiar to the Russian public, will have a much greater chance of winning bronze - Cyril Halyavin, representing Spain.