Savchenko/Szolkowy (GER) strike gold
Aliona Savchenko/Robin Szolkowy of Germany struck gold in the Pairs event and took home their fourth European title. The silver and bronze medals went to Russia’s Yuko Kavaguti/Alexander Smirnov and Vera Bazarova/Yuri Larionov.
Savchenko/Szolkowy started with a high throw triple flip, and a triple toe-triple toe sequence into their “Pink Panther” routine, but then Savchenko stumbled out of the side by side spin and stopped it. The element received no points, but the Germans went on as if nothing had happened and landed a triple twist, difficult lifts and a throw triple Salchow at the very end. They scored 133.89 points and accumulated a total of 206.20 points. “I got stuck and I didn’t know what to do. It was a new situation for me. I thought should I stand or should I continue to spin. This can happen to everyone. The important thing is to continue the program which is what we did”, Savchenko said. “If there is one element missing completely and your advantage in points after the short program is slim, the door maybe wasn’t wide open for the Russian couple, but it was at least leaning open. I watched their performance and they skated very well. They skated clean, without any major mistake, maybe just a wobble because of the cold, but everyone had this. I thought it would be close”, Szolkowy noted.
Kavaguti/Smirnov skated last and gave a strong performance of their “Clair de Lune” program that featured a triple toe, a triple twist, two triple throws as well as a double Axel-double Axel sequence and level-four lifts and spins. The defending champions won the Free Skating portion with 134.12 points, a seasons best, but overall remained in second place at 203.61 points. “If in the short program, we (they and Savchenko/Szolkowy) skated at the same level, I think today we did our job in the free skating by executing all our elements cleanly. But that’s sport. It just means that we have to work even harder. There are no excuses”, commented Smirnov. “We are satisfied with the performance. We made no real mistakes, just little ones, but the performance didn’t become a whole. The impression of the program was affected. This is something we’ll work on”, Kavaguti explained.
Bazarova/Larionov’s routine to “The Man in the Iron Mask” featured a side by side triple toe and double Axel-double Axel sequence and a high triple twist. The couple from Perm scored a seasons best of 125.35 points and totalled 188.24 points to earn their first medal at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships. “We still can’t believe it. This is our first medal at the European Championships”, Bazarova told the press. “We really wanted it (being on the podium), but we mostly thought of performing our programs and elements. There are a lot of emotions right now and we’ll remember this moment for a long time”, Larionov added.
Katarina Geboldt/Alexander Smirnov (RUS) pulled up from fifth to fourth with a solid performance (169.95 points). Stefania Berton/Otar Hotarek (ITA) slipped from fourth to fifth with 164.83 points.
The ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2011 continue Friday with the Ladies Short Program and the Free Dance.
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS