Figure skaters clinched silver

Figure skating team competition ended in Kannyn by three  free skating programs. Mikhail Kolyada was second after the canadian Patrick Chan, Alina Zagitova won with a huge margin of more than 20 points, while dance pair Ekaterina Bobrova / Dmitry Solovyov has risen to third place. As a result, our team scored 66 points and took second place, losing only to Canadians, who have 73 points. The bronze went to Americans (62).

We earned Silver de facto after our ladies singles’ long program. By her skating Alina Zagitova not only raised to feet all the stands of the Ice Centre, but also left the US team far behind in the fight for second place.

From the point of view of the team competition event any program of dancers does’t mean anything. The gap between first-second and second-third places in both cases was five points. It is impossible to eliminate such handicap at five participants even.

However, for Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitry Solovyov this this free skate was a kind of general rehearsal before the battle for the individual medal.

According to most experts, in Korea in the dancing competition  Canadians Tessa Virtu / Scott moir and the French Gabriella Papadakis / Guillaume Cizeron the main contenders for gold. They are ‘aliens’ in figure skating, just as well as Evgenia Medvedeva and Alina Zagitova. But  in ice dancing there are at least three contenders for the bronze medal. They all performed in the team competitions.

The  ‘battle testing’ gave the following results. Bobrova and Soloviev surpassed the Italians Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte twice, but the sum of the two programs conceded less than 2.5 points to Maia and Alex Shibutani.

Our skaters have chances to win Olympic bronze, but to get it they will need to convince the judges of something. For example, that the mandatory part of a short dance of the Sochi Olympic Champions (the Rumba) deserves higher complexity level, first instead of the second. Bobrova and Solovyov start smoothing their programs at the get-together in Japan, which will begin tomorrow.

– In Niigata we will adjust our program, basing on the scores received here on order perform in the individual event even better, said Ekaterina. – There are excellent conditions for training. There is a swimming pool, a gym, a lot of free ice. Besides it is necessary to put your thoughts in order, to cool down psychologically. In the Olympic village we are always in sight. I can’t even exercise without make-up. I want to get rid of external pressure. During the games in Sochi, we also left the Olympic village, and it helped us. I hope, it will help now as well.

The second important observation. Thanks to the team event we made sure that Yevgenia Medvedeva and Alina Zagitova are in great shape. The benefit of the two-time world champion fell on the short program, in which she updated her own record of the planet. Today it is the turn of Zagitova to give a solo concert on ice.When Alina has toward, hall from admiration literally roared. Was applauded by all the spectators, volunteers, journalists, even some of the judges who are on duty are supposed to be impartial. Jumped to his feet, the whole canadian team, although its composed of many eminent athletes, which are very difficult to surprise. But it was a special occasion. In fact, how can you indifferently look at what this 15-year-old girl does on the ice?!

New personal record Alina Zagitova in any free program now is 158,08 points. Just few points behind Medvedeva’s world record (160,46). And soon we will witness a new clash of the titans in ladies single skating!

In the mixed zone, Alina Zagitova modestly appreciated her performance.

– I am very pleased with the skate and the fact that I was able to cope with the excitement.  l aways set up to perform the elements as well as at the trainings. I did it today. I’m glad I didn’t let the team down.

The current European champion only smiled once, when journalists told her, how sincerely Evgenia Medvedeva worried for her. And Zhenya declared that ‘the Olympic Games have it’s magic, athletes create it by supporting each other’.

General Director of the Figure Skating Federation of Russia Alexander Kogan, like everyone else, was impressed by the performance of the young prima.

– The victory with advantage in 20 points speaks for itself. The team competition demonstrated great the potential of Zhenya Medvedeva and Alina Zagitova. Now they have to implement it in a individual competition.

– Unfortunately, due to the ban of several leading skaters, our team was not quite able to fight for gold medals. Although even in the current composition, we could count on victory, — said the General Director of the Figure Skating Federation of Russia.

I have not such confidence, if honestly. Even if Mikhail Kolyada added five-six points more to the overall tally, it wouldn’t allow to bypass Canada which has collected, it is necessary to recognize, very equal and strong composition. The North Americans took 20 points in danceing, and in the other three events,they at least, took prizes.

The opportunity to defeat Canadians would have appeared only in case of Kolyada’s stable skates and the participation of Yevgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov in free pairs dancing. Or if Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov came to Korea. But that’s a topic for another discussion…