For the first time in five years, three-time world champions Gabriela Papadakis and Guillaume Sizeron were removed from the European throne in ice dancing. The Russians Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov did this.
A few days ago, this alignment seemed unrealistic, and all sorts of pre-launch forecasts were reduced to the fact that Russian skaters could not repeat the maximum record of 2006 by winning all four gold medals of the continental championship under any circumstances, because there are Papadakis and Sizeron. Now it remains to be perplexed to ask a question: how could it happen that the “unattainable” French duet remained second, and most importantly, how to relate to this?
Before the start of the dance tournament, much was said that the free dance of Sinitsina and Katsalapov turned out this season is not good news how successful. That he is inferior in impression not only to the dance of champions, but also at the domestic level is not the best - it is no coincidence that at the Russian Championship in Krasnoyarsk the couple Alexandra Zhulin defeated Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin only due to a significant advantage in the short program.
However, already in Graz, the famous dance coach and outstanding director Marina Zueva said: “No program can be brilliant on its own, since choreography is primarily performance, mood, and rental quality. One and the same dance can look both outstanding in terms of staging, and completely unforgettable. Therefore, a lot will depend on the mood with which all those who claim medals will appear in Graz. ”
The fact that in Krasnoyarsk the dance of Sinitsina and Katsalapov “did not sound”, Zhulin himself subsequently agreed. He explained that, for a reason that was not completely clear to him, all the last trainings of Sinitsina and Katsalapov before the Russian championship did not go very well, a lot did not go well, the mood suffered from this and, on the whole, the preparatory period went pretty crumpled. The term “ride on conservation” even appeared in the everyday life of the group: that is, to do everything extremely carefully, avoiding technical errors and not allowing emotions to negatively affect the result.
“I understand that the dance did not make the most vivid impression on the audience, but we are going to ride in Graz completely differently,” said the coach.
Talking about his wards a year ago, Zhulin noted that emotions are the main problem of the couple.
“From my experience working with children, I understood a very important thing: if Katsalapov rides, as we say,“ breaking the aorta, ”as he likes and knows how to do, this sometimes leads to unpredictable consequences in competitions. Therefore, it is very important to find music in which Nikita could completely dissolve, but at the same time not to jump out of his pants and not rush headlong forward. In order to be able to show as well as possible all that distinguishes the couple: high-quality lines, beautiful, soft gliding, the ability to hear music, ”said the specialist.
The ability to perfectly select programs convenient for them for their wards, completely worked for a couple in Graz. It is psychologically very difficult to spend almost two days between two performances with the idea that the distance to the leaders is measured in hundredths. But on this subject, Nikita had something to say after the performance.
“We were very pleased that in a short dance we received such marks, but we were not at all tuned in to the final performance as if we had to snatch something from someone at all costs. They just wanted to ride in pleasure, to cope with themselves, without thinking about rivals at all. And we are glad that we did it. Compete with Gabriela and Guillaume or at least get closer to them - this is a huge success for any dancer, so we are doubly happy that we were the first. I even made up a story about our dance. It is about a man who has lost a landmark in his own life and turned out to be extremely close to despair. And then he meets another person - a kindred spirit, who holds out his hand and leads him through life, supporting and helping. And life begins to change before our eyes, the sun and hope appear in it, ”said the new European champion.
Why did the French lose? Perhaps they just calmed down too much: when over the years everyone around you has said that you have no equal, I really want to believe in it, and the feeling of danger is greatly dulled. But that is precisely why Gabriela and Guillaume can now be truly dangerous. About how this happened in the 2018 Olympic season, when the French lost the Olympics in Pyeongchang to the Canadians Tessa Virt and Scott Moira, winning their free dance.
We lost completely foolishly: in the course of a short speech, Gabriela unfastened the fastener of her dress, and this knocked down the rhythm and cost the duet the very tenth points, which in the end were not enough to win. Papadakis and Sizeron arrived at the 2018 World Cup in Milan a month later, who were collected and in a good way angry and finished with the next world records, thereby showing the world that the defeat at the Games was at least an insulting, but accidental failure.
Will Katsalapov and Sinitsina manage to repeat the winning scenario at the world championship in Montreal? It will be incredibly difficult, and not only because Papadakis and Sizeron will perform in their native walls - in a city where they have been training for many years. If we discard the euphoria from the most unexpected victory of the championship, we must admit: in Graz Sinitsina and Katsalapov definitely jumped higher than their heads, while the rivals did not show all that they were capable of, not to mention a serious technical error. So, in two months it may well happen that in the dance world everything will return to the circles familiar to the world.
But be that as it may, now this should not stop fans from rejoicing at the success of the Russian couple. After all, this success is really grandiose.