The European Figure Skating Championships in Graz will be remembered for two reasons - due to the completely unsuitable conditions for such a tournament and due to the complete dominance of the Russian team. By the final medal draw, which was entrusted to the girls, only bronze in men's skating and silver in dancing fell past the national team’s piggy bank. And something incredible had to happen, so that at least one more reward would be lost.
The fact that the success of the Russian girls was not in doubt did not make the final look of the program less interesting. After all, the triple dispute between Alena Kostornaya, Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova is always a sight that fans are looking forward to. Each has strengths that could lead one of them forward, and each had enough weaknesses, because of which someone had to stay only with bronze.
In their internal rivalry before arriving in Graz, Shcherbakova led, winning two Russian championships at an adult level. Kostornaya has only one victory over her friends in the group Eteri Tutberidze - in the final of the Grand Prix of the current season, where she set two world records. Trusova, however, circumvented them only at junior starts and never at adults, although the content of her programs was always much more complex.
The short program scattered the figure skaters a distance of ten points - so much Kostornaya led from the one who had not mastered the triple ax Trusova. Regarding Shcherbakova, the leader's advantage was slightly less, only seven points. For Anna, the first of the Russians to show a free program, this was a pretty good deal. In Krasnoyarsk, she won back the world record holder even more lag after a short rental.
The measured and quiet music of Igor Stravinsky twice was buried in applause at the beginning of Shcherbakova's performance. So the audience reacted to the main jumps of the figure skater - to the quadruple lutz in the cascade with a triple toe loop and the quadruple flip, which earlier only Trusova showed at international competitions.
Further, however, the series did not continue. Shcherbakova fell from the second quadruple lutz, being left without a very significant number of points. The skater rushed to catch up with the most complicated cascades of triple jumps, but she also failed to perfectly cope with the end of the program - the rittberger was counted with a shortage. In the future, the judges also reviewed the quadruple flip, downgrading it. Shcherbakova earned 159.81 points for the program and 237.76 points in two days - this was lower than her personal records, which for the sake of victory had to be surpassed.
Beautiful Firebird 🔥 Anna Shcherbakova spins her way to the 🥈 medal at the European Championships!
Full results: https://t.co/b4bheqKguX#EuroFigure#FigureSkatingpic.twitter.com/HNrTBdwWcV
The extravaganza from the four jumps promised to show Trusov - her plans included the execution of a set of five such elements. However, the skater did not fulfill the promise. Her program for the Game of Thrones soundtrack was significantly simplified compared to the Russian Championship and consisted of only three quadruple jumps. Of these, only one sheepskin coat turned out to be purely executed. On the lutz and sheepskin coat in the second half of the program, Trusova fell, depriving herself of a chance even for silver. The mistake on the final quad was especially expensive - it was necessary to transfer the jumps for the cascade to another jump, which is why the program still lost a little in its value.
Trusova could not worry about the medal - the gap from the Swiss Alexia Paganini in any case was sky-high. But for the third time in a row, the 15-year-old skater allowed her friends in the group to play gold and silver among themselves, and she took the lowest level of the podium. The complexity of their own programs has prevented Trusova from rising above too long. She finished the European Championship with a score of 225.34 points - this season is her lowest mark.
The tournament was closed with her brilliant performance by Alena Kostornaya. She was not mistaken on her company elements, although she received a zero for a second triple ax from a judge from Switzerland instead of more suitable triples or fours. At the same time, it was impossible not to notice that the skater was given a more difficult physical program than a short one. This led to an unpleasant moment at the very end of the performance - Kostornaya fell on the final triple lutz, although she never makes a mistake on this element.
However, the winner of the Grand Prix finals could not lose gold due to one fall. She scored 240.81 points and surpassed Shcherbakova, who could only regret because of her breakdown on the fourth lutz and rejoice in gold for the free program - on the second day of the competition, the champion of Russia scored the best points.
Alena Kostornaia is the new European Champion 🏆! # EuroFigure # FigureSkatingpic.twitter.com / aTgs617BGM- ISU Figure Skating (@ISU_Figure) January 25, 2020
All the Russians, as expected, took the podium, which happened for the first time at the European Championships in 2016, when all the medals were won by Evgenia Medvedeva, Elena Radionova and Anna Pogorilaya. The successful performance of the students of Tutberidze also officially allowed us to call the European Championship in Graz the most successful for the Russian team for all time - the skaters won four gold for the seventh time, but at the same time they had never won three more silver and bronze medals.