The ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2010 continued in Tallinn, Estonia, on Friday with the Ladies Short Program and the Free Dance.
Carolina Kostner (ITA) leads Ladies after Short Program
Two-time European Champion Carolina Kostner of Italy has set her eyes on a third title here in Tallinn after winning the Ladies Short Program on Friday. Finland’s Kiira Korpi and Laura Lepistö are trailing Kostner by just a few points. It was a competition at high level with many seasons best scores.
Kostner was off to a good start with a solid performance to Frederic Chopin’s Nocturne No. 20 and the Violin Concerto by Peter Tchaikovski that featured a triple flip-double toeloop combination, a triple Lutz and a double Axel. The current European silver medallist earned a seasons best score of 65.80 points. “I am very happy, because I was able to do what I wanted to do. Each week I made a step forward in my training. I had lot of fun today, and when I have fun, I skate well. The first day is over and now I’ll concentrate on tomorrow. I think I have a beautiful (free) program to present and I want to share my joy and passion for skating”, the 2008 World silver medalist told the post-event press conference.
Skating to the Asian inspired piece “Caravan” by Ikuko Kawai, Korpi hit a triple Lutz-double toeloop combination, a triple loop and the required double Axel to score 64.26 points. “Of course I was very happy to skate not only my seasons best but also my personal best today. I’m really satisfied with my performance and I don’t think I could have done any better”, Korpi said. “We have only two spots for the Olympics but three Ladies to fight for it. So there is a lot of pressure on me. Right now I’m just focusing on finishing this competition and then we’ll see”, she added.
Lepistö had drawn to skate last of the 41 competitors and delivered good program to “Imagined Oceans” by Karl Jenkins. She landed a triple loop, a triple toe-triple toe combination, but put her hand down on the second jump. The double Axel, and the spins were strong, but the defending European Champion stumbled in the beginning of her footwork. She picked up 62.96 points. “I was more nervous at home than now. Coming here, I felt comfortable and relaxed”, Lepistö commented. “The level of competition is very high this year. I have a new Free Skating, and I really like it. It helps that I’ve been able to train it very hard. I’m going to enjoy it and I’ll stay focused.”
Alena Leonova (RUS) fell on the back end of her triple toe-triple toe combination to come in fourth at 58.26 points. Elene Gedevanishvili and former European Champion Julia Sebestyen (HUN) are also close to the podium after clean performances. They have 60.82 and 57.44 points respectively.
Domnina/Shabalin (RUS) capture Ice Dance gold
In what was a close competition, World Champions Oksana Domnina/Maxim Shabalin of Russia captured the Ice Dance title, edging out Italy’s Federica Faiella/Massimo Scali who won the Free Dance portion. Jana Khokhlova/Sergei Novitski claimed the bronze medal.
Domnina/Shabalin skated first in the last group and put out an elegant performance to “The Double Life of Veronique” that was highlighted by impressive lifts, but the two step sequences were only graded a level two. The Russian Champions were ranked second in the Free Dance with 94.98 points (44.10 element score/50.88 program component score) but overall held on to first place at 199.25 points to win their second European title. “We are happy with the gold today, but some technical points could have been better. We’re not satisfied with the technical score, but we have time to work on it. The expression was good. Now I hope we can bring the technical part to the same level”, Shabalin commented. “We had some big problems with the elements. We got some low levels and we need to look at them. We are disappointed. But we only have ourselves to blame, we probably made some mistakes”, Domnina admitted.
Faiella/Scali presented an emotional routine they named “The Emigrants” that told the story of their career and that was set to music from the “Godfather” soundtrack by Nino Rota. The dance included mostly level-four elements and was judged the best of the night with 96.71 points (46.50/50.21). But overall the Italian Champions remained in second place at 195.86 points. “We are very happy with our feelings. Federica was crying after the Free Dance. There was this power, this emotion and she gave everything. I was very emotional, too. We’re really proud of ourselves again to have done the best program of the night”, Scali said. “It is not (disappointing to be in second place), because what we want is skating with our heart. If we would have won the gold tonight, I wouldn’t have said, thank you, I want the silver, but we’re just happy and proud with what we did that week”, he added.
Khokhlova/Novitski debuted their new Free Dance to “Firebird”, a dynamic program that featured their trademark acrobatic lifts as well as intricate steps. The 2009 European Champions scored 93.21 points (45.70/47.51) for this performance and took the bronze with 189.67 points overall. “Today we showed the maximum of what we can do at this point. We have a new Free Dance and we had only a short time to work on it. We’ve worked a lot and we’ve had success“, Novitski explained. “We are not upset. We had to miss some competitions and the third place after the break is a good result, although obviously the third place is not the first place.”
Like last year, Nathalie Pechalat/Fabian Bourzat (FRA) came in fourth and missed the podium narrowly by 1.16 points (188.51). They presented a modern routine to “Requiem of a Dream”. 2009 European bronze medalists Sinead Kerr/John Kerr finished fifth this time with a dance to “Krwlng” by Linkin Park (184.05 points).
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS