Golden Skate

Domnina and Shabalin maintain easy lead

Russia's Oksana Domnina of Maxim Shabalin maintained their overnight lead after their performance to "Boys, Unharness The Horses!".

Russia’s Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin easily maintained their overnight lead, winning the Original Dance (OD) with a new personal best of 63.20 (32.70/30.50) points.

Domnina had a minor stumble in the step sequence right before the twizzle sections, but she quickly recovered, and the team never stopped expressing the character of the dance.

The 2007 European silver medalists received a level four on all their elements except for a level three on a non-touching midline step sequence. The home crowd eagerly supported the team throughout their powerful performance to “Boys, Unharness The Horses!”, and the Russian champions also earned some loud catcalls from the cadets of the local military academy who received free tickets for the event.

The Russian champions, who have a total of 103.25 points, were the only team today who weren’t overshadowed by their music . They matched its power and speed throughout the dance.

“We have worked a lot on our technique since the Cup of China,” said Domnina, “and maybe the technical side was five percent better than in China. The artistic side was already good in China.”

Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France are currently second overall (92.90 points) after placing second in the OD with a new personal best of 58.03 (30.20/27.83) points.

The 2007 Skate America silver medalists only received a level three for their their two step sequence and dance spin, but were awarded positive GOEs on all their elements, and nearly straight +2 GOEs across the board on their opening stationary lift.

Their elaborate flamenco expressed the character of the Spanish dance perfectly, but their performance fell a bit flat on the audience who just spent all its energy on supporting Bobrova and Soloviev’s Russian folk dance. Nonetheless, the French silver medalists were one of the few teams who chose a different dance (other than a Russian, Ukrainian or Gypsy dance), and it was a welcome distraction amidst the 10 powerful Slavic dances.

“We beat our personal best, and we’ve worked very hard,” said Pechalat. “We’ve worked especially on our style and we’re pleased with the progress we’ve made in the three weeks since Skate America.”

Russia’s Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev won the audience over with their authentic “Kalinka”. The 2007 World Junior Champions were immediately in character at the opening of their routine, but ran out of stream towards the end of the performance. Nonetheless, they placed third with 52.44 (28.30/24/14) points and are currently third overall (82.66 points).

“Our job is just to skate our best and then hopefully we’ll get good marks,” said Bobrova when asked about their placement.

Katherine Copely and Deividas Stagniunas of Lithuania placed fourth in the OD with a new personal best of 50.83 (28.50/22.33) points, but with a total of 78.51 points, still remain in sixth overall.

The 2007 Golden Spin bronze medalists were somewhat timid with their interpretation of the “Two Guitars” Gypsy dance, and were only awarded a level two on their circular step sequence. However, their better grades of execution allowed them to earn higher technical scores than the Ukrainian team.

Despite finishing fifth in both the CD and OD (50.76 points), Anna Zadorozhniuk and Sergei Verbillo of the Ukraine are currently fourth overall (80.04 points). Their Gopak also had a true authentic feeling to it, but their circular step sequence only received a level two as well.

Anastasia Grebenkina and Vazgen Azrojan of Armenia are in a close fifth (79.37 points) overall. The 2007 Ondrej Nepela Memorial bronze medalists received a level two for both step sequences and their program lacked the complexity of the other teams.

Ekaterina Rubleva of Ivan Shefer of Russia are currently in seventh overall, followed by Germany’s Nelli Zhiganshina and Alexander Gazsi.

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