On November 15 and 16, the fifth stage of the series of the Grand Prix in figure skating, the Rostelecom Cup, will be held at the Megasport Moscow arena. First of all, fans traditionally wait for the competition of single women. And although the Grand Prix stages are not the kind of tournaments where the most stellar line-up of participants will certainly gather, Russian competitions will be especially intriguing precisely thanks to the girls.
Home ice will be for three skaters: Alexandra Trusova, Evgenia Medvedeva and Stanislava Konstantinova. They all differ from each other in age, titles, style and images, and therefore, tasks in Moscow will also be different.
Before Trusova, the road opens to the Grand Prix finals, which her friend from the group of Eteri Tutberidze Anna Shcherbakova has already passed. Three weeks ago, the 15-year-old athlete won the Skate Canada stage, which at the same time broke world records in the free program and in the sum of two ratings. To go to the competition in Turin, Trusova must take at least third place. But for her, bronze will be a huge personal failure, since with her skills she cannot go below the first line.
In the capital, a native of Ryazan will try to update his world records. Trusova has room for this - in a free program, she will again try to perform four quadruple jumps. She did it at the Japan Open commercial tournament, but those competitions were not official. In Canada, Trusova made a mistake on Salkhov, after which she performed Lutz and two sheepskin coats in cascades.
It will also be interesting to look at how the judges will react to the performance of these jumps. More than once this season, the work of referees fixing undercuts or incorrect ribs has raised questions. Trusova also has to convince the judges that she not only performs the quadruples, but also makes them absolutely correct.
Also from the 15-year-old skater expect surprises in the short program. In it, Trusova has not yet struck fans with something supernatural, and fans need to be prepared for the fact that she can generally be lower than one of the rivals on the basis of Friday rental. Pupil Tutberidze is teaching the triple axel with might and main, which will allow her to correct this defect, but so far she has not shown it to the public.
A year ago, Medvedev could be considered the main favorite of the tournament in Moscow. But now it’s more realistic to fight for the silver at the Grand Prix home stage. The 19-year-old skater has no such content as Trusova, and she will not be able to compensate for the backlog with anything else. But the second place after the failure in Canada, where she became only fifth, will also be a good result.
Moreover, that speech showed that Medvedeva has potential. In the free program, she looked worthy, and if not for the fall at the short rental, then Eugenia would definitely have been in the prizes and would still continue to fight for reaching the Grand Prix finals. Now it’s hard to imagine whether Medvedev has retained in three weeks the lightness that was visible in her speech, but her coach Brian Orser claims that the skater is at the peak of her form.
The main rivals of Medvedev will be Japanese Satoko Miyahara and American Mariah Bell. Both of them perfectly performed for themselves at the previous stages of the Grand Prix. Miyahara just brought silver from China, and Bell a little earlier became a bronze medalist in France. Both at the same time scored more than 210 points - Medvedeva in Canada, such an assessment was not on the shoulder.
The Russian woman will be able to fight them if she shows two clean rentals, what is expected of her from the last World Cup. Judas could ideally like her productions for Exogenesis and Memoirs of a Geisha more than Bell and Miyahara’s programs. And this is important not so much for Medvedev herself, but for Alina Zagitova. The Olympic champion in order to confidently reach the Grand Prix finals requires that both the American and the Japanese take the lowest possible place in Moscow. And in this, Medvedev should help Alina. If the path to Turin itself is closed to her, then she can clear it for her compatriot if she wishes.
The third representative from Russia at the Rostelecom Cup will be Stanislav Konstantinov, for whom the season is worse than ever. A recent participant in the European Championship failed at the stage of the US Grand Prix, where she scored 143.39 points for two rentals - this is slightly more than what Trusov receives for one technique only. Konstantinova’s last year’s skills would have been quite enough to compete in fifth place in Moscow, but now it will be very difficult for her to count on such a result. Moreover, in the middle of the final protocols, competition is always higher than at the top.