2023 Russian Nationals: Pairs’ Recap
In what turned out to be a very close competition, Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii snatched the Pairs gold from defending champions Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov at Russian Nationals in Krasnoyarsk. On top, Kozlovskii had to overcome a scare in as a hook of his skating boot had come off in the morning practice. Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov claimed the bronze – their ninth medal in the event.
Boikova/Kozlovskii and Mishina/Galliamov had turned in clean Short Programs and the latter took a 1.05 points lead thanks to slightly better levels. Mishina and Galliamov collected a level four for all elements in their program to “Waltz No. 2” by Shostakovich (85.37 points). Boikova and Kozlovskii had a level three for the twist and the step sequence in their routine to “Hit the Road Jack” (84.32).
Boikova and Kozlovskii’s dramatic free skate to “Anna Karenina” featured a triple twist, side-by-side triple toes and throw triple flip. There were two smaller errors as the second jump in the triple Salchow-Euler-triple Salchow combination was underrotated, and Boikova stepped out of the throw triple flip. The 2020 European Champions scored 150.07 points and totaled 234.39 points to recapture the title they had won once before in the 2019-20 season.
“In the morning, our performance was in question, because a hook came off after a single Salchow in practice,” Kozlovskii told the press. “I think that luck was on our side today, because this could have happened in the competition. We grabbed luck by the tail, we deserved this win.”
“We are happy that we again became National Champions,” added Boikova. “This is very important to us. I had a little error in the program, and to be honest, I don’t know why I did it.”
Mishina and Galliamov have been rock-solid in their Russian Grand Prix events this season, but this time Mishina made a decisive error on the triple Salchow-Euler-triple Salchow: she stepped out of the first jump and therefore, it did not count as a combination. The 2021 World Champions continued with their fun Elvis Presley program as if nothing had happened and reeled off their triple throws and side-by-side triple toes. However, with such formidable competitors as Boikova and Kozlovskii, there is no room for error. Mishina knew that and was in tears at the end of their performance. The 2022 Olympic bronze medalists earned 148.51 points and slipped to second at 233.88 points.
“Today we did not have an ideal performance,” noted Mishina. “Probably I can’t name any reasons for that. We had many clean programs and you also need to learn how to deal with mistakes. It was hard for me to move on after the mistake (on the Salchow) in the free program, but I am proud that I managed. Second place is also good, we’ll be happy and we’ll work on our mistakes.”
After a short break for New Year, the couple will prepare for the St. Petersburg city championship at the end of January and maybe try something new in the program, as Galliamov pointed out. The skaters are probably thinking of their side-by-side triple Lutz that they showed at the Russian Jump Championships earlier this month.
The competition did not go so smoothly for Tarasova and Morozov. The 2022 Olympic silver medalists ranked third in the short program as she had stepped out of the throw triple loop. They struggled with the solo jumps in their romantic program to “Lighthouse” by Patrick Watson that they had kept from the past season. Tarasova doubled the Salchow, as well as the toeloop, and singled the Axel in the planned triple toe-double Axel-double toe combination. Morozov landed a shaky triple and put his hand down on the double Axel. He did not add the third jump. Tarasova also stepped out of the throw triple flip. The Muscovites remained in third place at 218.60 points.
Iasmina Kadyrova and Valerii Kolesov, who train together with the gold and silver medalists under Tamara Moskvina and Artur Minchuk, debuted at Nationals as a team and came in fourth (213.45 points). They turned in a clean short program, and if Kadyrova hadn’t fallen on the throw triple loop in their free skate to “Who Wants to Live Forever,” they even could have had the bronze.
“We are not upset (to have lost to Tarasova and Morozov), because we realize that they are great skaters that have come a long way,” Kadyrova told reporters. “They have been skating together for a long time, and we are together for only one season. We didn’t show the maximum. It’s a shame about the throw, we knew we could have made it, so we will work even harder. Maybe it cost a medal.”
Ekaterina Chikmareva and Matvei Ianchenkov from Perm are a young and promising team that still competes mostly at the junior level. Their short program was strong, but tiredness kicked in in their free skate to “Hit the Road Jack” and “Gangsta’s Paradise.” They hit their side-by-side triple Salchow and triple toe-double Axel-double Axel, as well as triple throws. However, their Axel lasso lift was wobbly and they collapsed at the exit of their pair combination spin when he lifted her up. They finished fifth (211.44 points).
“We were probably tired, the legs were heavy,” Ianchenkov explained. “I lifted her up at the end as usual and unfortunately, I lost my balance.”
The teams ranking sixth to 10th showed good levels and are promising. Natalia Khabibullina and Ilya Knyazhuk finished in sixth place (209.53) and included a side-by-side triple Lutz in both programs. Anastasia Mukhortova and Dmitri Evgeniev (8th-202.12) also left a nice impression.
Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin sat out the season due to injury.
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