Olympic gold Shcherbakova
Anna Shcherbakova's victory at the Beijing Games has become the main event of 2022 for domestic figure skating.
For the third consecutive Olympics, the gold medal in the women's singles remains with Russian athletes.
Moreover, the pupil of Eteri Tutberidze did not go to the capital of China in the status of the main favorite at all: both at the qualifying championship of Russia and at the European championship that followed, Anna remained in the shadow of her friend in the training group Kamila Valieva.
However, the 15-year-old figure skater, who was at the center of a doping scandal during the Games, failed her free program and was left without a reward at all.
Shcherbakova did not flinch at the decisive moment and did her job flawlessly on the Olympic ice.
Moreover, she had to go to the final rental in new shoes, which is akin to a feat for this sport, because usually shoes are worn in for several weeks to be suitable for competitions.
Yes, the world champion lost to Alexandra Trusova in the free program, but according to the general assessment, she took the well-deserved first place.
At the end of the year, Shcherbakova was recognized as the best athlete according to the Russian Olympic Committee, and also became the winner of the National Sports Award in a similar nomination.
© Getty Images
Trusova's record five quads
The 2022 Games were much more dramatic for Alexandra Trusova, another representative of the Tutberidze coaching group at that time.
The Russian rocket became the first figure skater in the world who was able to perform five quadruple jumps in one program at the Olympics - flip, salchow, sheepskin coat and two lutz - however, she was content with only second place.
The reason for this was small blots in the free program, as well as a fall from the triple axel in the short.
It was with this jump that Alexandra fought throughout the season, but stubbornly did not give up trying to perform it at competitions.
The final medal layout of the Games shocked the athlete so much that she could not cope with the overwhelming emotions.
The whole world was surrounded by shots of a sobbing Trusova, who screamed in her hearts that she hated this sport and would never go on the ice again.
However, the skater does not regret anything.
As time passes, she admits that if she had a chance to rewind time, she would not change anything in her approach: she would still leave the problematic triple Axel in the short and a record set of quads in the free.
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Triumphant European Championship
On the eve of the Olympics, the European Championship took place in Tallinn, which ended with the absolute triumph of the Russian team.
Domestic figure skaters won all the gold medals of the tournament, which was a repeat of the success of two years ago.
In addition, in the women's singles and pairs competitions, the pedestal was completely Russian.
The tournament medals were then won by Kamila Valieva, Anna Shcherbakova and Alexander Trusova, as well as Anastasia Mishina and Alexander Gallyamov, Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, Alexandra Boikova and Dmitry Kozlovsky.
In the men's tournament, Mark Kondratyuk quite unexpectedly excelled, who a month before became the champion of Russia for the first time.
In ice dancing, in the absence of the recognized leaders of the species, the French Gabriela Papadakis and Guillaume Sizeron, the struggle for gold unfolded between two Russian duets: Victoria Sinitsina - Nikita Katsalapov and Alexandra Stepanova - Ivan Bukin.
As a result, the wards of Alexander Zhulin won a little more than three points from their compatriots and became two-time winners of the continental championship.
© Alexander Wilf
Regular castling of stars
2022 in Russian skating was marked by a number of high-profile transitions.
Standing apart, of course, is the second parting of Alexandra Trusova with Eteri Tutberidze, which took place after the start of the new season, which in itself looked amazing.
The queen of quads at Khrustalny had already been given both programs, one of which she managed to present during test skates in Moscow, when the transfer to CSKA under the leadership of Svetlana Sokolovskaya was announced.
There were no intelligible comments about the reasons for such a decision either from the athlete or from the coaching staff, and insider information said that Trusov was no longer satisfied with the extremely intense training regimen in the Tutberidze group.
And the choice of a new coach was probably due to Alexandra's desire to be closer to her young man Mark Kondratyuk, who also works with Sokolovskaya.
In the same group, but even earlier, came the talented junior Sofia Samodelkina, who has all the quadruple jumps in her arsenal.
Alena Kostornaya also moved to CSKA from Khrustalny: now she is training with Elena Buyanova.
True, the ex-European champion misses the season due to hip surgery, which she underwent in the fall.
© Nina Zotina
Suspension of the career of Sinitsina and Katsalapov
Silver medalists of the Beijing Olympics in ice dancing Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov put their careers on hold after the ISU suspended Russian athletes from international competitions.
The skaters decided to take a break from official starts at least this season in order to devote more time to each other, as well as performances in various shows.
In the fall, Vika and Nikita got married.
In addition, for the first time they took part in the filming of the television project "Ice Age" and actively perform in Tatiana Navka's ice performances.
While the athletes do not talk about plans for next season.
Probably, their return to the competitive ice will depend on whether sanctions are lifted from Russian sports and how soon.
If the pause is too long, then the resumption of the career of the leading dance duet will most likely not take place.
Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov
© Raul Mee
Innuendo around Davis and Smolkin
Diana Davis and Gleb Smolkin became one of the main troublemakers in Russian figure skating.
Since spring, rumors have been circulating in the media about the imminent change of citizenship by athletes from Russian to American.
As you know, Davis has a US passport from birth, and the couple has lived and trained overseas for almost their entire career together.
The skaters themselves regularly refute the information about the transition to another flag, however, they did not come to any of the stages of the national Grand Prix series and even to the December national championship.
As Smolkin explained, the reason is that he is waiting for a green card.
Its presence, according to the athlete, will make it easier for him to return to the United States after leaving for the competition.
According to the duo, they are not currently in the process of changing their nationality, but in and of itself, such a prospect for the future is not dismissed - if the suspension from international tournaments is not lifted.
So, in one of the recent interviews, the partner said that “you can’t sit for 10 years competing in Russia, with all due respect to the competitions that are held there.”
Diana Davis and Gleb Smolkin
© Alexander Wilf
Development under sanctions
Meanwhile, the Russian Figure Skating Federation has made every effort so that athletes do not feel left out in the face of suspension from key world starts.
A national series of Grand Prix was created, as well as two completely new tournaments: jumping and show programs.
Now athletes from the regions have the opportunity to regularly compete with representatives of the national team, which cannot but have a positive effect on the level of development of the sport.
The interest of the spectators also grew - sometimes there were more fans at the stages of the Russian Grand Prix than at similar ISU tournaments.
Of great interest was the national jumping championship, which, of course, has a certain touch of the show, but at the same time does not lose its sports component.
The pen test took place in early December in St. Petersburg, and received positive feedback, including from foreign experts.
The first champions of the country in this form were Kamila Valieva and Grigory Fedorov, and in the team tournament the team of Evgeni Plushenko excelled as part of Sofia Muravyova, Sofia Titova, Nikita Sarnovsky, Makar Ignatov, Anastasia Mishina and Alexander Gallyamov.
Anastasia Mishina and Alexander Gallyamov
© Sefa Karacan / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
New national champions
An incredible intensity of passions gave the participants and fans the recent championship of Russia.
In three out of four events, the country received new champions, and not a single event was without drama.
The most unusual situation was in men's single skating, where two participants at once - Evgeny Semenenko and Pyotr Gumennik - scored the same number of points in the sum of two programs.
Gold went to the pupil of Alexei Mishin, since it was he who was better in the free program.
In the women's competition, Kamila Valieva failed to defend her last year's title.
She unexpectedly plucked a triple axel in the short program and became the second, and the young Sofya Akatieva, who did not allow blots in skating, ascended the throne.
Once again, fans were amazed by Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, who won a bronze award.
The Empress made her way to the national championship podium for the first time in eight years.
Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva and Yegor Bazin won the champion title among dancers for the first time, but the joy of victory was blurred by the partner's falls in both programs.
The only event where the same athletes climbed the podium as a year ago was pair skating, although there were some surprises here too.
The current champions Anastasia Mishina and Alexander Gallyamov, who were in the lead after the short program, made a gross mistake in the free program (the partner doubled the triple salchow in the cascade) and lost first place to Alexandra Boikova and Dmitry Kozlovsky.
Egor Bazin and Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva
© Vladimir Astapkovich
Serious injuries Semenenko
The triumph of Yevgeny Semenenko in the Czech Republic is especially impressive considering how many injuries he suffered during the year.
In the spring, the skater dropped out of the training process for a long time after a terrible fall during an ice show in St. Petersburg.
Eugene then made an unsuccessful approach to the quadruple jump, because of which he almost fell flat on the ice and hit his head hard.
He tried several times to get to his feet on his own, and then lost consciousness.
The athlete was taken to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a concussion.
Semenenko spent more than a week in the medical facility.
Eugene received even more serious damage at the beginning of the new season.
During test skates in September, the skater made an awkward move as he took his final pose, which aggravated his knee injury.
There was a question about the operation, which would lead to the absence of the entire season.
But in the end, the doctors decided to carry out conservative treatment: the leg had to be immobilized for almost a month, and then they connected physiotherapy and physiotherapy exercises.
He went on the ice only at the end of October, and in two months he managed to get in shape, which allowed him to become the best in the country.
© Alexander Wilf
The protracted crisis of Kolyada
Against this background, the state of another favorite of the public, Mikhail Kolyada, raises concern.
After the Olympics, from which he was "uncoupled" at the last moment due to a positive test for coronavirus, the long-term leader of men's figure skating needed a reboot in his career.
It seemed that the phenomenal free program "Tango in a Madhouse", staged for him to the music of Schnittke, would contribute to this.
But in the end, the season for Kolyada did not turn out the way we would like.
The three-time champion of Russia failed to win a single stage of the national Grand Prix.
At both tournaments, he was in the lead after the short program, but he could not cope with the free program, demonstrating falls and butterflies instead of jumps.
The only tournament that was successful for Mishin's ward was the Panin-Kolomenkin Memorial.
And the athlete was forced to withdraw from the Russian Championship due to an exacerbation of chronic sinusitis.
© Alexander Wilf