Medvedeva wins, Tuktamysheva is second. Who will be selected for the championships of the ''doomed''?
Russian competitors of world championships don’t survive till the Olympics. This has happened three times in a row
The final of the Russian Figure Skating Cup ended in Veliky Novgorod. Now we're back to the international season, and the hottest phase awaits for lovers of this sport – they will have to survive the Universiade at home and three world championships at once. Realnoe Vremya tells the details.
Up in the air: Medvedeva? Tuktamysheva?
The final list of the Russian national team to go to the World Figure Skating Championships will be announced at the end of the week. The fervour and interest in this event are so high that one thinks about a live transmission of the coaching council where it will be decided who will become the third Russian competitor in the women's singles at the Japanese world championships. And the competition in Veliky Novgorod, to put it frankly, didn't give a clear answer.
Evgenia Medvedeva's victory in the end doesn't look convincing. A mistake in a cascade in the free programme when Evgenia fell when performing the triple Rittberger ruined the impression. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, in turn, had the best free programme and finished second just because she gave the rival a too big advantage in the short programme. An unwritten rule that it's hard to win something after the short programme and all can be lost played a role.
As for the third candidate for the WC, Stanislava Konstantinova made it easier for coaching council members. There is an impression that Konstantinova's most stable performances have been at Russian championships in the last two years, after which she starts playing Russian roulette failing either the short or the free programme in big competitions.
Probably stable instability is a distinctive feature of representatives of Valentina Chebotaryova's group of coaches, including even Mikhail Kolyada. There is such a ''champion'' of unstable performances in the world – Michal Březina from the Czech Republic, but his constant presence in international competitions is explained by weak development of figure skating in the country. While we don't have enough national teams for all female athletes, and with the next failure Konstantinova is running a risk of putting paid to her international career. But Stanislava herself guarantees she will have a flawless performance at the Universiade at home.
Attention to Krasnoyarsk and Zagreb
This can be questioned. The results of the final of the Russian Cup and, most importantly, the all the buzz around this competition give a chance to suggest the necessity to substitute Konstantinova for Evgenia Medvedeva who is considered a substitute to officials of the Russian Figure Skating Federation. Another duel of Medvedeva and Tuktamysheva will raise interest in the university competition a lot. Canada and the USA, China and Japan, not to mention Russia, will stay tuned for Krasnoyarsk, despite the time difference. The lot of being the number three at the world championships is worth sacrificing it for a resounding publicity stunt of the Universiade at home. We will get a quota of three participants at the 2020 World Championships with any line-up of current national team members, moreover, this is done after two leaders' performance.
And Konstantinova could be sent to the sixth world team trophy in history. It's not hard to forecast that Japan, which has the best selection of single male and female skaters, will win it. To fight for the second place against the USA team, Russia will just need to make up a line-up consisting of two athletes from the current season.
Paradoxically, the junior championships might turn out the most interesting among ladies. And it might be so interesting that even Channel One has announced transmissions from there. By the way, junior championships even set tendencies that the big audience then finds in adults' competitions. Focus on single skaters with Asian roots is one of them. Asians have firmly entered figure skating of Canada and the USA in the last two decades, which surprises anybody – they anthropologically suit sports comparable with figure skating: acrobatics, gymnastics, diving. Great interest in athletes coming from Asia is also seen in Europe. French Adam Siao Him Fa was 12 th at the last European Championships, Yasmine Kimiko Yamada from Switzerland finished 15th there, and even ethnic Korean Dahyun Ko born in Seoul, who participated at the world junior championships last year, might appear in the national team of the Czech Republic in the short run.
European and world championships competitors from Russia have been outside the Olympics for three Olympic cycles already
By the way, post-Olympic world and European champions can't be omitted in general from a perspective of preparation for the Olympics. For better understanding, there was only one pair out of 12 participants of the 2015 world and European championships that competed at PyeongChang in the end. It was Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov. And none of the world and European champions of that year won a gold of the 2018 PyeongChang.
The situation in the previous Olympic cycle wasn't different. Only three of 12 Russians duets competing at 2011 European and world championships survived to the Olympics – Volosozhar – Trankov, Bobrova – Solovyov, Ilinykh – Katsalapov, while those year's world champions Maryl Davis and Charlie White repeated the success at the Olympics in Sochi. The same 25% of coincidences of Olympic champions and participants from Russia can be found when comparing the post-Olympic season in 2007 and the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Moreover, all the coincidences should be looked for either in pairs or ice dance, there is no single skater competing in post-Olympic tournaments who survived to the Olympics. And such a picture has been arising for the last three Olympic cycles.
This is why it's simply irrelevant to elevate results of the first post-Olympic season as an important result, which we will turn to before the 2022 Games in Beijing. Stability in Russian single skating ended immediately after the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin. Might it even sound like a sentence for Zagitova, Samodurova, the male part of the national team and the athlete who will be named the third participant of the 2019 World Championships.
''Excuse me, pastries!''
Veliky Novgorod proved that the interest in figure skating is at the peak now. Online transmissions of the Russian Cup were on without commercial breaks, with the demonstration of the athletes' warm-ups. In the meantime, host of the transmission Aleksandr Grishin had to fill the pauses and paid attention to a worthy audience in the local Sports Palace even if the competitions were on working days and during office hours. Apart from it, Grishin told about manoeuvres that people who didn't manage to get tickets to the women's short programme resorted to. The most interesting thing was linked with… pastry. An old lady came to the Sports Palace with a big bag full of pastries and argued with the security staff she was carrying them for sale having agreed on it with officials. So after going in, she immediately handed out the pastries to all people, then sat down with them to watch the competition.
The thing is that the tickets disappeared immediately after it became known Evgenia Medvedeva would come. Competitors even said they saw real fights to the long-awaited tickets. And the audience that gathered in the palace was so thankful and responsive that emotionally reacted not only to jumps and the ends of the athletes' performances but Medvedeva, Tuktamysheva & Co's some coquettish movements. Sadly, in comparison with Kazan in this regard, we can speak about almost no interest in both cup stages of the country and last year's Russian championships when despite free admission no more than several hundreds of onlookers gathered in the Sports Palace. And most of them were from the figure skating community, which used competitions in Kazan as an extra reason to meet up. Though Elena Ilinykh, who was already an Olympic champion, and future stars including Medvedeva, Zagitova and the whole current brood of Eteri Tutberidze competed here.