Golden Skate

Sinitsina and Katsalapov take second consecutive Grand Prix gold in Moscow

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2019 Rostelecom Cup

Free Dance

Russians Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov maintained their overnight lead to win their second consecutive Grand Prix (GP) gold at 2019 Rostelecom Cup in Moscow on Saturday. Canada’s Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier took the silver in their third appearance at this event, while Sara Hurtado and Kirill Khaliavin of Spain earned the bronze—their second GP medal.

Sinitsina and Katsalapov were solid in their technically difficult, yet romantic routine to “I Giorni: Andante” and “Songs My Mother Taught Me”, showing level 4 twizzles which garnered many +4 grades of execution (GOE) across the board. The 2019 World silver medalists also earned a level 4 on their straight-line and curve lift, as well as the combination spin, but the rotational lift was a level 3. The level 3 one-foot and serpentine steps were also very good and team scored 126.06 points for first place in the Free Dance and overall (212.15).

“We left everything on the ice,” said Katsalapov. “We’re very tired, exhausted. We did all we wanted to do at this competition.”

“We’re glad to have overcome the challenge of doing two Grand Prix back to back and we were able to get better scores here at our second event in both Rhythm dance and free dance,” he added. “Now we’ll have a little rest and then we’ll get ready for the Grand Prix Final and hope to show our very best there.”

Performing to “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell, Gilles and Poirier executed level 4 twizzles, combination spin, and top-notch lifts. The diagonal steps received a level 3, but she earned a level 2 on the one-foot, while he a level 3. The 2019 Four Continents bronze medalists finished second in the Free Dance (125.08) and overall (207.64).

“It’s been five years since we last competed at the Grand Prix Final,” said Poirier. “In those five years, we’ve had a lot of ups and downs in our career. We faced a lot of challenges. And I think in that time we also had a lot of doubts whether we’d be able to make it back on that stage and really be contenders on the international stage, vying for medal at the World Championships. I think these results just really encourage us,” Poirier said.

“Coming from an NHL-sized rink to an Olympic-sized rink feels different,” he added. “With this result, we’ll qualify for the GP Final. We have nines in our components in both programs, so we’re moving in the direction that we want to.”

Hurtado and Khaliavin finished third in the Free Dance (113.00) and overall (185.01) after their routine to “Orobroy” and “Puerta del Sol by Manolo Carrasco”.  The Spanish champions also earned a level 4 on the twizzles and all lifts, while the diagonal and one-foot steps were a level 3. The team actually had a strong base value score for their elements, however, the GOEs were not as high as the top teams.

“It was a great experience for us to close the competition after such a high level of skating,” said Hurtado. “We want to bring our programs to the point that it deserves and we feel we’re on the right way. We hope that everyone enjoyed our little Spanish presentation here. We’re very happy to see so many Spanish flags in the audience and to represent our culture to the crowd.”

Natalia Kaliszek and Maksym Spodyriev of Poland finished fourth overall (178.70) after their engaging “Dirty Dancing” routine.

“We skated very good,” said Kaliszek. “We put in a lot of work to show what we could, so we’re very pleased with today’s performance.”

Allison Reed and Saulius Ambrulevicius of Lithuania were fifth (175.43).

“It’s a step in the right direction,” said Reed of their performance. “We wanna keep moving forward.”

“In the beginning of the season, we started strong, but there was a lot of changes to be made to make the program better and we did them,” added her partner Ambrulevicius.

Russia’s Anastasia Shpilevaya and Grigory Smirnov finished sixth overall (172.93) followed by Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha of Canada (169.90).