Thursday, 26/4/2018 | : : UTC-7
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EUROPEANS: RUSSIA CLAIMS PAIRS PODIUM

Yuko Kavaguti+Alexander Smirnov turned back the clock five years to 2010 when they also won European gold. They skated a dramatic presentation to Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony, choreographed for their 2014 Olympic season. Injury to Smirnov prevented them from competing. The performance was flawless, except for a struggle with the final lift, which Smirnov did manage to rotate to receive credit.

(On their performance) “I felt great throughout the performance, until that last lift,” said Smirnov. “I had given everything I had and my last strength went to the throw jump (throw triple loop), so I had no energy left. We did all the difficult elements clean today.”  Kavaguti added, “Our performance shows that we can still skate.

(On their music) “Originally I didn’t like the music. It was not for me. But the choreographer – Peter Tchernyshev – did such a great program that I started feeling the music, and now I think it’s me,” explained Kavaguti. “We have a great program, and we just wanted to show it.”

Ksenia Stolbova+Fedor Klimov skated to the powerful music of Notre Dame de Paris. Stolbova two footed the throw triple Lutz, but followed up with a 3T+2T+2T in perfect sync. The lifts and death spiral earned Level4. Just prior to their planned awesome final throw triple Salchow, Klimov stumbled, and they missed the element entirely.

“There is nothing positive I can say about our performance today. Everything was bad from the start, and it was bad at the end, so there’s no joy about this (silver) medal,” Klimov commented with his head down.

Evgenia Tarasova+Vladimir Morozov won a bronze medal at their first 2015 European Championships skating to “Hello” by Lionel Ritchie. They opened with a spectacular Level4 triple twist that outscored all the other pair teams and earned 8.10 points. Their GOE marks were all positive except for the final Group 3 lift that earned a Level1.

(On their performance) “We’re very happy with that skate, apart from the lift obviously where we made a mistake. Evgenia almost fell onto my hand because her skirt was slippery, and I couldn’t do anything about it,” explained Morozov.

(On skating at senior level) “It’s physically much harder to skate a senior free program. The transitions between elements are quite hard.” smiled Morozov.

Vanessa Marchei+Ondrei Hotarek teamed up in July 2014 when Hotarek split with his partner, and Marchei left singles for a new career in pairs. Highlights of their La Strada program included huge Flip and Salchow throws and 3Lz side-by-side successfully landed jumps. They did a double twist instead of the triple done by more seasoned teams, and Marchei landed only a 2S in their planned 3S combination.

(On the competition) “I can’t describe the feeling right now. It’s crazy. Everything is new, and if it started like this, I’m so looking forward to what is to come,” smiled Marchei.

Hotarek added,Today everyone made mistakes.  We have been practicing six months, and we made one mistake in the whole competition.

Vanessa James+Morgan Cipres slipped from 3rd to 5th after the Angels and Demons free program. Their 3T+2T+2T, large throws, Level2 spins and Level4 lifts were not enough to put them on the podium.  Then, their aborted Group 5 Axel Lift and downgraded 2S jump knocked them out of 4th.

(On missing the lift) James explained, “It was a misunderstanding. I was on the wrong side of Morgan. I was prepared to do another lift. We knew we weren’t allowed to make any mistakes here, and we made two.”

“I had a bit of a lack of concentration, “Cipres admitted. “We are more than disappointed.”

ICE CHIPS – PAIRS

  • Vanessa James was born in Canada, grew up in the United States, competed for Great Britain prior to skating for France, moved to Russia and is now back training in France.
  • Robin Szolkowy, coach of Russians Tarasova+Morozov, was a 5-time World Pairs Champion for Germany.
  • Yuko Kavaguti skated for Japan and the United States prior to becoming a Russian citizen.
  • Vanessa James+Morgan Cipres work with World Medalist Ice Dancer Fabian Bourzat.
  • Ksenia Stolbova+Fedor Klimov were SILVER medalists at: 2014 Europeans, Olympics, Worlds, GPF 2015 Europeans.

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