Harumi, our photographer at Golden Spin of Zagreb, was able to send us photos, so they have been added to the gallery. These include the junior and senior events, plus the awards ceremonies.
NATIONALS-PALOOZA: Last week, 11 nations held their championship events. This includes the Four Nationals Championships where the countries of Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia competed in combined event. In addition to the crowning of national champions, several countries named their Olympic teams (based on previously set criteria). Spain’s ice dance representatives in PyeongChang will be Sara Hurtado & Kirill Khaliavin, while Germany will send Kavita Lorenz & Joti Polizoakis.
CHANGING IT UP: Canada’s Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier announced via social media that they will debut a new free dance at the Canadian National Championships in a few weeks. They discussed the switch to the new Bond-inspired free dance on Episode 48 of PJ Kwong’s podcast (link opens in new window).
As we mentioned last week, there are no international competitions between now and January 15, which is the start of the European Championships. Our focus continues to be on the various national championship events taking place. Russia and Japan are up this week with the U.S. championships beginning on December 29th and Canada’s getting underway on January 8th.
Happy Holidays from all of us at Team IDC!
Until next time,
PREVIEW: 2018 RUSSIAN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
The top ice dance teams in Russia will head to St. Petersburg for the 2018 Russian National Figure Skating Championships. In addition to crowning national champions, the event will also at least narrow down the selections for the 2018 Olympics.
As we mentioned in the December 5th Observer, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) banned Russia’s Olympic Committee (ROC) from February’s PyeongChang Olympics. Although the ROC is banned, the IOC did pave the way for athletes who meet specific criteria to compete under the name Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR). To review the criteria or read the press release in-full, please visit the Olympic.org website. It’s possible Russia will still send athletes to South Korea, but there has not yet been an announcement one way or the other.
Russian Nationals are headlined by six-time Russian champions Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitry Soloviev, who are likely to repeat again. The two-time Olympians narrowly missed making the Grand Prix Final and instead attended Golden Spin of Zagreb, where they decisively won the gold medal and in turn, captured the top spot at the conclusion of the 2017-18 ISU Challenger Series. When not injured, Bobrova & Soloviev have been Russia’s go-to team due to consistency.
Though Russia has been an ice dance powerhouse in the past, they were unable to secure three Olympic spots, so only two teams will head to PyeongChang. The battle for silver may or may not determine the recipient of Russia’s second Olympic spot. Because Russia will send three teams to the European Championships, they may wait until after that competition to determine who will compete in South Korea.
Ivan Bukin has the Olympics in his blood. He and partner Alexandra Stepanova have even worked with Bukin’s father Andrei, the 1988 Olympic Gold medalist with Natalia Bestemianova, this season. The team has medaled in all of their international events this season, including a silver at Finlandia Trophy and bronze medals at their two ISU Grand Prix events. Stepanova & Bukin are the reigning Russian national silver medalists and while they might not contend with the leaders, they certainly could take silver again and snag the Olympic spot.
Reigning Olympic silver medalist, Nikita Katsalapov moved on post-Sochi with a new partner, Victoria Sinitsina (who also competed in Sochi with Ruslan Zhiganshin), and the team has finished as high as second (2016) and low as fourth (2015) at the Russian championships. This season has brought better placements, as the team won a bronze medal at the ISU Challenger series event in Minsk and capped their Grand Prix season with a bronze medal at Skate America. To return to the Olympics, Sinitsina & Katsalapov will need to win silver here to have a chance.
Tiffani Zagorski & Jonathan Guerreiro have finished fifth at the past three Russian national championships. Although they were not able to compete internationally for the first season of their partnership, in their fourth year as a team they finished fourth and sixth at their Grand Prix events and won the silver medal at the Minsk Arena Ice Star, where they also finished ahead of Sinitsina & Katsalapov. They could be a podium thread in St. Petersburg and a bronze medal should earn them a spot at the European Championships.
The event starts with the short dance on Thursday, December 21 at 8:30 PM (Saint-Petersburg time), with the free dance at 8:20 PM on December 22.
NEW ON IDC
EVENTS THIS WEEK
Russian National Championships
St. Petersburg, Russia
Japan Figure Skating Championships