Pairs’ Short Program
Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii led a Russian sweep in the Pairs Short Program on Wednesday night in Graz, Austria. Teammates Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin and Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov are currently sitting in second and third, respectively.
Boikova and Kozlovskii delivered a stellar and polished performance to “My Way,” earning a new personal best of 82.34 points. Their program featured solid triple Salchows, triple twist and a throw triple flip. All elements, including the twist, earned a level 4 with many high grades of execution (GOE).
The team was very excited about their score as well as their clean skate.
“I don’t think we need to concentrate on the points, we need to do our job and we’ll get the points,” said Boikova. “It wasn’t a surprise for us. We work hard and a lot and it’s expected.”
“The hardest part is still to come, the long program,”noted Kozlovskii, “but the schedule here is good. It’s nice to have a day off tomorrow to catch our breath.”
“It doesn’t matter,” he added, regarding the point gap. “The free skate will have a lot of different elements. The short program is just one throw, one jump, one lift. The long program will be three lifts, two different jumps and throws. We will try to save this result in the free skating, but our short program (result) doesn’t matter.”
Pavliuchenko and Khodykin also gave a strong and solid skate, landing triple toes, a triple twist and throw triple loop in their program to “The Storm.” All elements received a level 4 and the 2018 World Junior Champions earned 74.92 points.
Pavliuchenko admitted to being very nervous going into the skate, but Khodykin said they were both very happy.
“We did our job,” he said. “Compared to nationals, we were much calmer here.”
“It’s funny to be sixth and second all the time,” said Khodykin. “It’s not a surprise. We work and we work on our mistakes.”
“It’s not the end of the competition,” added Pavliuchenko. “It’s just the middle and we still have the long program ahead of us.”
Skating to “Bolero,” Tarasova and Morozov had an excellent beginning in their routine, however, they forfeited points when Morozov lost his balance during a group 5 reverse Lasso lift which resulted in an awkward dismount. The 2019 World silver medalists otherwise produced a very good triple twist, triple toes, and throw triple loop. While the footwork was graded a level 3, all other elements were a 4 except for the lift, and they sit in third with 73.50 points.
“It was really a shame,” said Tarasova of the mistake on the lift. “We skated the first part of the program so well and then there was this stupid mistake. I was not frightened—Vladimir held me tight. It’s an annoying nuisance.”
“My blade was caught during the second turn,” added Morozov. “This lift is all about the balance. Generally, the rest of the short program was good except for the lift. It’s sports and things happen. The competition is not over yet and we’ll skate our best in the long program and everything is possible.”
“We didn’t feel any extra pressure,” he added, regarding the high level up-and-coming Russian pair teams. “We are happy to have new good pairs. Through the history, there always were good Russian couples. We need time for our skate, and we just keep working and working hard.”
Italy’s Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise are currently in fourth after their routine to “Crazy in Love.” Della Monica two-footed the throw triple loop, but the five-time national champions produced solid triple Salchows and a level 3 triple twist. All other elements were graded a level 4 and they scored a season’s best of 70.48.
It has not been an easy season as Della Monica dislocated her shoulder during practice in mid-July.
“It took us almost three months to be back on the ice,” she said. “We did the Grand Prix anyway, even if we knew we were not fully ready. When we came back from the Grand Prix, finally the pain was not a problem anymore and we were able to prepare ourselves for the Championships. Now it is back to normal.”
“Basically, for us, now is like the beginning of the season,” added Guarise. “We are not thinking about a medal, we just want to do our best. The short was almost clean.”
Germany’s Minerva Fabienne Hase and Nolan Seegert scored a new personal best of 70.43 for fifth place in their skate to “Open Hands.” The 2019 Rostelecom Cup bronze medalists delivered a level 2 triple twist, triple toes, and a throw triple Salchow while earning a level 4 on the lift, footwork, and combination spin.
“The short program today was right on the mark,” said Hase. “Each element was right and we did it to the maximum. We’re more than happy to have cracked 70 points for the first time. I was less tense and I think that feeling made it work today. I told myself, just to enjoy it. The audience was amazing and gave us power for the last few steps of the program.”
“Our goal is the top six, to keep the result from last year,” added Seegert. “The level of the competition has gotten higher, the scores are higher.”
Miriam Ziegler and Severin Kiefer of Austria finished sixth after a solid skate and new personal best of 67.90, followed by Germany’s Annika Hocke and Robert Kunkel (58.43) and Italy’s Rebecca Ghilardi and Filippo Ambrosini (56.85).