Record holder Valieva wins the Rostelecom Figure Skating Cup |
SOCHI, Russia (AP) – Kamila Valieva dominated the Russian women’s podium at the Rostelecom Figure Skating Cup on Saturday to underline her status as the favorite for the Olympic gold medal in Beijing.
15-year-old Valieva managed three quadruple jumps, including two in combination, on Ravel’s “Bolero” and scored 185.29 points in freestyle for a total of 272.71 points. His short program, free skate and overall competition scores were all world records.
Valieva won by an overwhelming 43-point margin over Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, the 2015 world champion who doesn’t perform quads jumps but remained in contention with triple jumps and still strong presentation skills.
Tuktamysheva scored 229.23 to stay ahead of fellow Russian Maiia Khromykh, who landed two quad jumps, coming out on the landing of one of them. Khromykh’s score of 219.69 reflects her strong recovery from an erratic short program as she climbed to the final podium ahead of Mariah Bell of the United States.
Russian women have secured five of six qualifying spots for next month’s Grand Prix final in Japan as they battle for the country’s three Olympic quota spots. The highest score for a non-Valieva skater this season is 236.78 for world champion Anna Shcherbakova in Italy this month.
Russia won three of the four disciplines in the general classification on Saturday. Male winner Morisi Kvitelashvili represents Georgia but was born in Moscow and trains there with coach Eteri Tutberidze, the coach behind many Russian Olympic and world champion skaters over the past decade including Valieva, Shcherbakova and Khromykh.
Kvitelashvili became the first Georgian to win a grand prize in figure skating after edging out Mikhail Kolyada and Kazuki Tomono in a tight competition.
Each of the top three skaters once fell in a free skate decided by close judges as Kvitelashvili won with a score of 266.33, edging Kolyada with 264.64 and Tomono with 264.19.
Tomono was the leader of the short program and, skating last to the soundtrack for the movie “La La Land”, was clean on two of his three quadruple jumps but fell on a triple axis. This ensured he couldn’t get past Kvitelashvili, who overcame his own fall on a quadruple toe loop in his program to a Frank Sinatra medley.
Russian skater Kolyada posted the highest score in the free skate at 180.16 as he moved from fourth place in the short program to second and secured a place in the Grand Prix final.
Russia swept the pairs podium as world champions Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov dominated the free skate after second in the short program, to claim victory with a total of 226.98 points.
Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin finished second in 212.59 and Iasmina Kadyrova and Ivan Balchenko took third place in 193.58.
There was another Russian victory in ice dancing after Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov scored 211.72 points to beat Italians Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri by eight and Canadians Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Soerensen by 20.
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