Golden Skate

Alexander Samarin wins gold in Russian sweep at Rostelecom Cup

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2019 Rostelecom Cup

Men’s Free Skate

Russia’s Alexander Samarin maintained his overnight lead to take gold in his first appearance at Rostelecom Cup in Moscow on Saturday. Teammates Dmitri Aliev and Makar Ignatov also held their positions to win the silver and bronze, respectively.

Samarin nailed his opening quad Lutz-triple toe, earning mostly +5 in grades of execution (GOE) across the board in his routine to “Good News” by Apashe. However, the 2019 European silver medalist lost points when he tripled his intended quad flip (edge call) and quad toe (foot down). He was otherwise solid, landing two triple Axels while showing level 4 spins and level 3 footwork throughout. The 21-year-old earned 171.64 for first in the Free Skate and 264.45 overall.

“Even though it was not my best performance, I am overwhelmed with emotions,” said the 2019 Internationaux de France silver medalist. “There were mistakes, big mistakes and we’ll work on it, but I’m glad to have qualified for the Grand Prix Final. That is not a bad result for the first half of the season.”

Aliev also scaled down his opening jumps (quad Lutz and quad toe) to triples, however, the 2019 Skate America bronze medalist did land a quad toe-triple toe and solo toe in his routine to Disturbed’s “The Sound of Silence”. He also landed a triple Axel and delivered two level 4 spins and footwork to finish second with 169.24 points in the Free Skate and overall (259.88)—both of which were new personal bests.

“I had to make changes in the program while skating, put in quad jumps,” the 20-year-old from St. Petersburg said. “When you start doing this, it affects the program. Like I got a repetition of the jump today, though I thought everything was okay.”

“I am pleased that I was able to show the character and save the program, because the first half did not go as planned,” he added. “I don’t want to repeat these mistakes. I did an extra triple Lutz that cost me a few points.”

In his Grand Prix deubt, teammate Ignatov popped the last jump on a triple Lutz-Euler-triple Salchow, but was otherwise nearly clean in his program to “In This Shirt” by The Irrepressibles. The 2019 CS Nebelhorn Trophy champion landed a quad Salchow, quad toe, triple Axel, and triple Lutz-triple toe and was awarded a new personal best of 165.33. His overall score was 252.87—also a personal best.

“There was an incredible support that gave me strength when I had no strength left,” said the 19-year-old. “I made one mistake. I did a single Salchow instead of a triple and that threw me off a little. I am very happy that three Russian men are on the podium and I didn’t expect that to happen.”

With massive changes in his planned program content, Japan’s Shoma Uno fell on his opening quad Salchow, as well as an underrotated quad toe at the end of his program, but showed good footwork and spins. The 2018 Olympic silver medalist also underrotated the back end of a triple Axel-Euler-triple flip, but managed a solid solo triple Axel and quad toe to finish fourth in the free skate (164.95) and overall (252.24).

“This is the first time I felt uncomfortable in my boots like this,” said the 2019 Four Continents champion, “but I could manage to skate after the fall. Training in Switzerland was really good for me. Not a good result, but I feel that towards the end of the season, I’ll be able to jump a quad flip.”

“After Rostelecom, I go to Japan and then to Switzerland again to train for Nationals,” he added.

Morisi Kvitelashvili of Georgia landed a quad Salchow, quad toe and five triple jumps in his program to “Confessa” to finish fifth in the free skate with a new personal best of 161.72. With a new personal best total score of 237.59, the 24-year-old rose from ninth to seventh overall.

Nam Nguyen of Canada landed a quad Salchow-triple toe and four clean triple to finish sixth in the free skate (159.19) and fifth overall (246.20).

“This program is fun,” said the Canadian champion, “but I think it’s harder when I’m not feeling physically well. I’ll go home, rest for a bit and then prepare for the rest of the season.”

Deniss Vasiljevs of Latvia placed sixth overall (241.09) while Japan’s Kazuki Tomono came in eighth (237.54).

“The first part of my skating was very focused on jumps,” said Vasiljevs. “The second part was exactly what I searched for. The connection with the audience, finding this flow. I feel bitter about the first part because I made the last season’s mistake of focusing on jumps.”

Daniel Samohin of Israel withdrew due to injury following the morning practice. He stood in 11th place following the Short Program.