Golden Skate

Khokhlova and Novitski dominate at Russian Nationals

Jana Khokhlova (22) and Sergei Novitski (26) dominated the field throughout the entire event to win their first national title.

Jana Khokhlova and Sergei Novitski dominated the field throughout the entire event to win their first national title, while Ekaterina Rubleva and Ivan Shefer won their first silver.

Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev put a comfortable distance between themselves and the rest of the competitors to win the bronze medal with a 12 point advantage.

In the Free Dance (FD), Khokhlova (22) and Sergei Novitski (26) earned a level four on all their elements and gained impressive grades of execution (GOE) on their opening serpentine lift. Their routine to Night on the Bald Mountain was very well received by the audience and they only increased the tempo and power as the dance progressed. The students of Irina Zhuk and Alexander Svinin scored 106.04 (55.35/50.69) in the free dance and 212.82 points overall.

“We were very happy with the way the audience received us here in St. Petersburg,” said Novitski. “It’s always a pleasure to perform here. On the eve of the Orthodox Christmas the people here are all in a festive mood and are very responsive.”

Their goal now is to improve their Compulsory Dance before the European Figure Skating Championships in next month.

“It was the first time that we performed the Yankee Polka this season,” explained Novitski, “and it isn’t up to the European level. Naturally, we would also continue to polish our Original and free dances.”

Rubleva (22) and Shefer (24) delivered a smooth and intricate dance to Prayer in the Night in which all elements were graded a level four except for their two step sequences and a serpentine lift. They earned 91.21 (48.24/42.97) for a second place finish in the FD and overall (183.75 points).

“We are very happy to qualify for the European Championships again and to preserve our place on the national championships podium,” said Rubleva. “Our main task in preparation to Zagreb (Europeans) would be to improve our speed in all the dances.”

Bobrova (17) and Soloviev (18) finished third in the FD with 90.33 (49.61/40.72) for a third place finish overall (178.35 points). The team earned a level 4 on all their elements expect a diagonal step sequence, and finally performed the dance without any technical glitches.

“We are very happy with the way we skated today,” said Bobrova. “Unfortunately, we had some errors yesterday in the Original Dance, but today was by far the best we ever skated our free dance in competition. We hoped to win a medal and we are very happy that we did it.”

The team shared that they had been receiving a lot of feedback. “Mostly positive,” said Bobrova, “but some negative one as well. Now we know what we have to work at.”

Natalia Mikhailova (21) and Andrei Maximishin (23) preserved their fourth place overall (167.03 points) despite placing fifth in the FD with 81.23 (42.80/39.43) points. The students of Alexander Zhulin performed a dance to Peter Gabriel’s The Feeling Begins which uncannily resembled the dance Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov (former students of Zhulin) performed in 2003.

Despite certain stylistic similarities, however, the level of their skating isn’t yet as good as that of the 2006 Olympic Champions. Both their step sequences were once again graded only a level 2, nonetheless, the team made a pleasant impression which featured solid basic skating skills and nice lines.

Anastasia Platonova (21) and Alexander Grachev (23) placed fourth in the FD, but were fifth overall with 166.58 points. The team delivered an upbeat program to Latin rhythms, earning a level 4 on all elements except for their diagonal step sequence. Both skaters clearly enjoy performing for the public and Platonova especially seems to be a much more expressive skater in the new partnership. They received 86.69 (48.04/38.65) points.

Senior grand prix competitors Yulia Zlobina (18) and Alexei Sitnikov (21) finished sixth in all dances and overall.

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