As predicted, Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov captured their first national title at the 2012 Russian National Figure Skating Championships in front of an enthusiastic home crowd.
Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov rose from third to take the silver, while Anastasia Martiusheva and Alexei Rogonov slipped to the third to take the bronze.
Bazarova and Larionov were focused but tentative in their performance to Lara’s Theme from the Dr. Zhivago soundtrack. Bazarova had to fight for the landing of a triple toe loop and later singled and stumbled out of the second double Axel attempt.
Otherwise the team was clean and the quality of their non-jumping elements, especially the level two triple twist, allowed them to win the event by a comfortable margin. They received 126.03 for the free program and 194.86 overall.
“I am somewhat disappointed with the way we skated,” said Bazarova. “We had very good practices, but today we were not able to avoid mistakes. It was my fault, I missed both jumping passes. I guess we will have to work even harder on jumping elements.”
The skaters admitted to having mixed feelings about the Championships at the press conference.
“You know it very strange,” explained Bazarova. “We won, people approach us and congratulate us, they are happy for us, and yet we do not truly feel satisfied because we did not skate as well as we could have.”
The 2011 European Championship bronze medalists claim that were not nervous to skate at home.
“We did not feel any extra pressure because of it,” said Larionov. “We stayed at the official hotel with all other skaters and we tried to treat this as any other event. But we were pleased that the audience supported us so well. After the short program we tried to put all the thoughts about the title and the fact that we are in the lead aside. Maybe we were not fully successful.”
Stolbova and Klimov, who were last to skate among the twelve participants, delivered a clean program to Polovetsian Dances. The team only did a double twist, but in terms of choreography and interpretation of the theme, their routine was among the best of the night. The students of Ludmila Velikova earned 123.67 for the free, and with 182.13 points overall, won their first silver medals of the Senior National Championships.
“We are happy with the way the skated tonight,” said Klimov, who pumped his fist in triumph when he saw his partner nail the landing of throw triple Salchow. “We skated a clean program which was our goal for this competition. It was our best performance of the season.”
The 2011 World Junior Championship silver medalist said that being nervous was not an issue for them today.
“We were not nervous,” claimed Klimov. “We had a lot of troubles at the beginning of the season. Ksenia was ill, so while other teams were worried about their nerves, our main fear was that we would not have enough strength to really attack the program all the way through.”
Despite their medals, the skaters are unlikely to qualify for the national team for the European and World Championships. They plan to focus on preparations for next season rather than participate in minor international events. The immediate goal is to learn new elements: triple twist and the triple Salchow.
Anastasia Martiusheva and Alexei Rogonov, were able to maintain the level of performance they had in the short, delivered the most intricate and touching routine of the night. Their program to tango music was highlighted by their excellent lines and skating skills. The only mistake came later in the program then Martiusheva singled the second planned double Axel in sequence. The students of Natalia Pavlova received 119.69 points for the long program and earned a total of 179.94.
“Overall, we are happy with the way we skated today,” said Rogonov. “We were almost able to do everything we do in practices. Naturally, we are very happy to win a medal of the national championships. It is a great honor.”
The skaters claimed that they have not changed their training regiment much from the last two disastrous seasons.
“I could not say that we have changed anything in particular,” said Rogonov. “I guess we have simply matured. All those failures were a great learning experience. Now we have to keep this level up and deliver everything we can at every event. I hope it will be easier now.”
Katarina Gerboldt and Alexander Enbert rose from fifth place to finish fourth. The students of Tamara Moskvina delivered the season-best performance of their Umbrellas of Cherbourg, which was only marred by a flawed catch on a triple twist and Gerboldt’s stumble out of an underrotated triple Salchow landing. They received 117.72 points for their effort and 174.39 overall.
“Today we skated with pleasure,” said Gerboldt. “I hope that the audience was also pleased. We did almost everything we planned, except for the warm up; that was quite a disaster for me. We were in a good fighting mood today. It’s a pity that the short program went so poorly, but we are happy that we were able to pull ourselves together and kept fighting till the end.”
The Championships’ debutants, Vasilisa Davankova and Andrei Deputat, posted the highest technical score of the night with a flawless performance to Nino Rota’s Romeo and Juliet. The skaters, for whom it is their first season together, nailed side-by-side triple toe loops, double Axels, two triple throws, and a high triple twist.
The team still needs to develop a stronger connection to sell the theme of their program, but otherwise their presentation is also quite strong. The students of Sergei Dobroskokov scored 115.47 for the free program and and placed fifth overall (168.79).
Lubov Iliushechkina and Nodari Maisuradze struggled with side by side jumps (Iliushechkina missed both) and finished sixth with 167.74 points.