At the Russian Grand Prix in Kazan, the girls showed genuine passion in the short program!
When Kamila Valieva appeared on the ice, the audience reacted enthusiastically. Her return to her homeland was accompanied by loud support, which was especially important given the CAS hearing on her doping case held the day before.
It’s amazing that Camila got to the start at all after such pressure. She showed her love for figure skating and her steadfastness. There was no triple axel in her short program, but even the double was magnificent and impressive. She presented a dizzying triple flip with a perfect exit and a cascade of triple lutz – triple tulup.
Kamila impressed not only with her technical skills, but also with the art of presentation. Her performance of “I See Red” was flawless and her red dress emphasized her femininity. The performance started coquettishly at the board and ended spectacularly at the judges’ table, creating the impression of a real mini-performance.
Eteri Tutberidze greeted her student with a smile and even expressed praise, which was rare for her. However, the praise was well-deserved: Kamila’s performance was truly royal.
The judges expressed their sympathy for Kamila through the scores: 81.09 points for the short program, including 42.85 points for the technical performance.
Kamila Valieva’s powerful and flawless performance forced her competitors to reconsider their plans for the triple axel. Alina Gorbacheva and Sofia Muravyova’s ambitions for the execution of this difficult element changed dramatically, realizing that even a small mistake could put them a dozen points clear of Kamila. Thus, both decided to stick to stability and replaced the triple axel with a less difficult dupel.
Alina Gorbacheva’s rejection of the triple axel was not surprising. She had not previously presented this element at competitions, and all her attempts were focused on training. Perhaps she will present it in the future, but at a different tournament. However, it was noticeable that she was actually preparing to perform the triple axel in Kazan, as indicated by the unstable landing after the double axel. One of the judges noticed this and rated the quality of the element execution minus one point. Going from a triple to a lower number of turns also carries its own risk.
Fortunately, Alina avoided additional mistakes and demonstrated a great performance, earning 73.29 points.
Sophia Muravyova, experienced in triple axel, also decided not to risk competing with Valieva. Her inspired performance drew a standing ovation, but her technical skills were inferior to the leader. The only difference was one rotation performed on the third rather than the fourth difficulty level, which cost her 0.6 points. In the end, her score was 77.02 points, but she was four points behind Camila, causing discontent among the fans.
Daria Sadkova, only 15 years old, successfully closed the girls’ performance. Her debut in the adult division was flawless, she avoided mistakes and demonstrated acrobatic elements. With a score of 73.15 points she almost caught up with Alina Gorbacheva, which gives her hope for a prize in the free program.
Eteri Tutberidze would probably be happy to see both her skaters on the podium. At the moment, Kamila Valieva is leading the battle for gold, Sofya Muravyova is going for silver and Alina Gorbacheva is going for bronze at the Grand Prix in Kazan.