By Figure Skaters Online
Photos ©International Skating Union (ISU)
MOSCOW — While many were considering the ladies event at Rostelecom Cup to be a battle for gold among Russian teenagers Alina Kostornaia, Alexandra Trusova and Anna Shcherbakova, it ended up being 23-year-old Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, of St. Petersburg, Russia, taking home the gold at the 2020 Rostelecom Cup in Moscow, Russia Nov. 21. This was Tuktamysheva’s first medal at Rostelecom Cup.
The 2015 European and world champion opened her “Chronicles of a Mischievous Bird” by Bkhima Iunusov free skate with a triple Axel-double toe combination. Seconds later, she would step out of her second triple Axel, but Tuktamysheva did not let that mistake impact the rest of her performance as she went on to skate the rest of the program clean, which included a double Axel-triple toe-double toe combination and triple Lutz-Euler-double Axel sequence. She earned a free skate score of 148.69 and a total score of 223.39 to move up from second place in the short program to capture her first medal at Rostelecom Cup and the fifth Grand Prix gold medal of her career.
“I was not confident of victory as the competition was very strong,” Tuktamysheva said following the free skate. “It was a nice surprise and a nice ending to this Grand Prix.
Kostornaia said she watched Tuktamysheva while waiting at the boards for her turn to skate and knew that she “had skated very well.”
So when it was the reigning European champion’s turn on the ice, the 17-year-old from Moscow knew she needed to deliver a strong performance, especially with no planned triple Axels in her program. While it was an exquisite performance artistically and gained a higher program component score than Tuktamysheva, some technical mistakes, including three slightly underrotating triples, losing points in her step sequence and garnering only a level two combination spin, cost Kostornaia the title. The reigning Grand Prix Final champion earned 141.94 points and claimed the silver medal with a total score of 220.78.
“I just went out to do my job, but not everything worked out,” Kostornaia said. “Obviously you need jumps like the triple Axel and quads to compete at the highest level so it is in my plans and I’m working towards that.”
In her senior Grand Prix debut, Anastasiia Guliakova, who finished 7th at the 2020 Russian National Championships, was the surprise bronze medalist, earning 128.96 points in her “Don’t Say You Do” and “Real Boy” by Lola Blanc free skate and a total competition score of 199.03.
“It was my first Grand Prix and I am happy that I was able to give two decent performances,” the 18-year-old from St. Petersburg told the media after her free skate. “There still were some errors and we’ll keep working on that. When I saw my score I did not think it would be enough to be on the podium so I am very happy now.”
Defending Rostelecom Cup champion Trusova, who was third after the short program, struggled in her free skate, falling on her opening three quad attempts and her final jumping passing, a triple Lutz. She finished off the podium, in fourth place with a total score of 198.93. Elizaveta Nugumanova, of Russia, finished in fifth place with 191.52 points, while Eva-Lotta Kiibus, of Estonia, came in sixth place.
Two-time World champion and 2018 Olympic silver medalist Evgenia Medvedeva withdrew from the competition due to a back injury. On Nov. 21, Mash.ru reported that Medvedeva is being treated for coronavirus and is isolating in Moscow.
In September following the Russian Test Skates, Medvedeva announced that she was leaving her coach Brian Orser to return to work with her former coach Eteri Tutberidze, due in part to being unable to return to Toronto due to the COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions.
Shcherbakova, who also trains with Tutberidze, withdrew from the competition on Friday with reported pneumonia.
In the men’s event, Russia’s Mikhail Kolyada, who sat in third place after the short program, won his first Grand Prix event since the 2017-18 season. Morisi Kvitelashvili, of Georgia, won his second Grand Prix silver medal, while Petr Gummenik, of Russia, earned the bronze in his senior Grand Prix debut.
“Coming back is always hard,” Kolyada told the media after his free skate. “It was hard this time, but also nice. I want to thank everyone for their support.
European Champions Aleksandra Boikov and Dmitrii Kozlovskii, of Russia, won their second consecutive Rostelecom Cup title. Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov, of Russia, dropped from first after the short program to win the silver medal. Apollinariia Panfilova and Dmitry Rylov, also of Russia, took home the bronze in their senior Grand Prix debut.
“We are happy about the result and happy to return to the competition atmosphere,” Kozlovskii said to the media after their free skate.
“While this was not the absolute best we can do, it was certainly a very good performance today, Boikov added.”
For full results, click here.
For a recap of the dance event, visit Ice-Dance.com