2023 European Figure Skating Championships
Italy’s Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri took a slight lead in the Rhythm Dance at the 2023 European Figure Skating Championships on Friday. Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson of Great Britain are close on their heels in second, followed by Finland’s Juulia Turkkila and Matthias Versluis.
Guignard and Fabbri delivered a solid samba/rhumba routine to music by Grace Jones which featured strong level-four twizzles and rotational lift. The midline steps were graded a level three, as were the pattern steps. All elements were rewarded with high grades of execution (GOE) across the board, and the two-time European bronze medalists scored 85.53 points.
“It was a really nice performance for us,” said Fabbri. “We really felt from the beginning really comfortable on the ice. The audience helped us a lot! It’s nice when you have an audience supporting you from the first second to the last. We were very happy with our performance and this is why we also hoped for a little higher score, but it’s okay.”
The team had made some changes in the rhythm dance and Fabbri was disappointed with the score on the rotational lift.
“We thought that this rotational lift is more musical,” he explained. “It is underlining the more dynamic music.”
When asked about their goals at this event, Guignard said: “The gold medal. We are here for this medal. That is what we fight for. We know we are close to the British couple, but we try not to think about it. Tomorrow we just want to skate our best like we did today.”
Fear and Gibson were also spot on in their routine to music by Marc Anthony, showing good level-four twizzles and level three pattern steps. The team, who took silver in both individual grand prix events this season, received a level two for their midline steps. However, like the Italians, they collected a slew of positive GOES on all elements—particularly on the level-four rotation lift. They are in a close second with 84.12 points.
“It was so electric out there!” said Fear. “The crowd immediately got into the program, and we could feel their support and energy. It was just so uplifting and an honor for us!”
“I felt very free out there,” added Gibson, “and it’s not always the case, so I was very happy.”
The team noted that the competition level is fairly high this season, and are happy to be part of the competition.
“We always love competing with such wonderful skaters all throughout the year, and we love it here in Finland,” said Fear. “We’ve had so many really positive memories, so we’re just so excited to be back.”
When asked on how much they would like to win the gold, Fear responded: “We always want the gold medal in life. Take that as a metaphor if you want, but, yes, I think we’re here. We want to, like you said, do our best, and where that has us, it’s hopefully gold.”
Turkkila and Versluis earned a new personal best of 77.56 points for their samba/rhumba routine. The 2022 Grand Prix Espoo bronze medalists showed good level-three twizzles and a level-four curve lift. The pattern steps were graded a level two, while the midline steps were a level three for him and two for her.
“Wow!” exclaimed Turkkila. “It”s beyond belief what kind of energy you get. We have never skated in this kind of atmosphere before. Personally, I was more nervous at the beginning of the week, but once I got here, it began to feel better. I can’t deny that there was nervousness, but we were able to control it. We absolutely want to have this same experience also tomorrow.”
Turkkila sported a new maroon dress with a different hem-line, but keeping the fringes.
“We wanted to have a ballroom dance dress,” she explained. “We couldn’t realize it exactly the same way for the ice as in dance, but that was the idea. It worked out really well, I’m super satisfied.”
The team was in 11th place at this event in 2019, and are steadily climbing. Now that they are in the top three, they are feeling the pressure, but they are staying focused for the free dance.
Lithuanian’s Allison Reed and Saulius Ambrulevicius are close behind the Finns in fourth place with 77.33 points after their routine to music by Yello. Their routine was highlighted by level-four twizzles and rotational lift.
“Our performance went well and we’re just looking forward to the Free dance,” said Reed. “We will prepare as usual, nothing more nothing less—just practice, do our job, and the most important, just to have fun and enjoy skating together.”
The Ice Dance segment will conclude tomorrow with the Free Dance.