Monday, January 21, 2013

European Championships: Ladies preview

Photo by Luca Renoldi
The defending champion Carolina Kostner is one of the favourite for the gold at European Championships. Going for her fifth title, the reigning world champion has already won at the previous Europeans held in Zagreb in 2008 and competed in the same rink back in December at The Golden Spin of Zagreb where she won (see her results here). That was her debuting competition of the season since she had decided to skip the grand prix series in order to focus on main competitions as Europeans and Worlds. She came back stronger at Italian Nationals a week after the Golden spin
(where she performed a weak free skate as for jumping) being almost perfect in both programs. With the withdrawal of Kiira Korpi, she remains the most experienced and complete skater of the event and, unless the late preparation doesn't let her being on top form, she will likely win again. (If you want to know more about her fall competitions, here is a link to Italian Nationals results and Italian Nationals free skate practice, where she showed a beautiful triple flip-triple toe and a triple lutz).

The two young Russian girls, Elizaveta Tuktamisheva and Adelina Sotnikova, will try to screw up things. Elizaveta Tuktamisheva, the newly crowned Russian champion, is considered the most dangerous competitor for Kostner by many. Elizaveta struggled a little bit at the beginning of the season due to a knee injury that caused her to dump down her amazing technical content. However, she looked in a smarter physical condition at Grand Prix Final and National championships where she landed her trademark triple lutz-triple toe again. The young skater coached by Mishin have beaten Carolina Kostner once at last year's Trophee Eric Bompard, but this time she will need to deliver her jumping content in order to offset her maturity and experience.

Adelina Sotnikova, who seemed the most talented of all the young promising skaters coming from Russia, is now dealing with growth spurt and will need some time to get all of her technical repertoire back. If she won't maybe challenge for gold, other medals are well within her range. She is not very comfortable with toe-pick jumps at the moment, since she sometimes get wrong edge call on both flip and lutz, but overall she should get a higher technical score than other competitors in Zagreb.

Two times European bronze medalist (2010, 2012) Elene Gedevanishvili had a superb season debut at Skate Canada where she surprised everyone finishing first after the short program with an emotional interpretation of Shindler's List technically highlighted by a triple lutz-triple toe. She felt pressure in the free skate and lost her possibility of medaling for the first time in a grand prix event. If she can skate clean, she has very good possibilities of being on the podium.

Gold: Carolina Kostner (ITA)
Silver: Elizaveta Tuktamisheva (RUS)
Bronze: Elene Gedevanishvili (GEO)


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