Nathalie Pechalat/Fabian Bourzat of France danced off with the gold medal in the Postfinance Arena in Bern on Friday, their first medal at the European Championships. Russia’s Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev earned the silver medal and also stood on the podium for the first time while Sinead Kerr/John Kerr from Great Britain repeated as bronze medalists.
Pechalat/Bourzat had drawn to skate last and put out a strong performance of their charming “Charlie Chaplin” program. Their innovative lifts, the twizzles and the spin were graded a level four while the footwork was a level three. The Grand Prix Final silver medalists posted a new seasons best of 100.49 points and totaled 167.40 points to take the title. “We’ve waited a long time for this. We enjoyed our performance and I hope you did as well”, Bourzat offered. “We tried to do a good job like in practice. Our coach told us not to get too excited and I felt relaxed even though I didn’t like the ice”, he added. “I wasn’t nervous; I was focused. I tried not to think of the title, but it was hard. This is different from the Grand Prix”, Pechalat said.
Bobrova/Soloviev turned in a lyrical dance to “Melody of the White Nights” highlighted by their difficult lifts (level four) and footwork (level three). The 2007 World Junior Champions scored 95.68 points and made the leap on to their first podium at Europeans with 161.14 points. “When we came here, I really didn’t think about being on the podium. I just wanted to skate well. Now it is a feeling that I can’t describe”, Bobrova offered. “This is a great success and a big achievement for us, especially as we are only competing in our second European Championships. Within a year we were able to reach such heights and we are very happy with that”, Soloviev said.
Performing to “Exogenis Symphony” by Muse, Kerr/Kerr produced a flowing and emotional performance that was highlighted by interesting lifts and intricate footwork. The brother and sister team earned 94.62 points and accumulated 157.49 points overall to return on to the podium. They had won the bronze in 2009 as well. “It feels great. We’re bit disappointed last year. We’ve might have had a better shot at gold if he had competed all season. It was a tough job getting any medal coming into this competition as the other competitors were great”, Sinead Kerr commented. “I am pretty happy with the free skate. I got spooked on the first twizzle so the second one ended up being not so good but the steps were okay. I am proud of Sinead coming back like this after her dislocated shoulder”, her brother added.
2010 World Junior Champions Elena Ilinykh/Nikita Katsalapov (RUS) came fourth in their debut at senior-level championships with a dance to “Don Quixote” (153.48 points). 2010 European silver medalists Federica Faiella/Massimo Scali bounced back from a ninth place in the Short Dance and moved up to fifth with a passionate Flamenco-themed dance (145.92 points).
photos Janos Schmidt