by Klaus-Reinhold Kany
(8 November 2021) The women’s competition in Turin had a very good quality. More than half of the skaters showed impressive programs without or almost without any mistakes.
Reigning World Champion Anna Shcherbakova (17) from the school of Eteri Tutberidze won with 236.78 points. She was only third in her short program in which she had changed the music. In Torino she used “The Songs of Distant Earth“ by Kirill Richter. Her double Axel was excellent, the triple flip good, but in her combination the landing of her triple Lutz was a bit shaky, therefore she quickly decided not to add a triple loop which she had planned, but a double toe loop. Her spins were outstanding and her components around 8.7.
She commented after the Short Program, “I am not satisfied, I made a big mistake in the jump combination. I didn't do such mistakes in my practices, all was fine, I think it was not technical, it was a problem with my head. I am nervous every time, but this time I was thinking too much and when you do a combo with a triple loop you don't have time to think.”
In her free program Shcherbakova used three music pieces: “Ruska” by the band Apocalyptica, the soundtrack of “The Master and Margarita” and “Lacrimosa” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. She started with a very good quad flip and added seven excellent triple jumps (often with her arms over her head), two stellar double Axels which are planned triple in the future, three outstanding spins (which got some GOEs of +5) and excellent step sequences. Her components were around 9.1.
She said of the competition, “My main goal for this competition was to show that my quad is back and I reached that goal. I made some mistakes in the short program and I will work on it. The short program has to be clean every time, but am happy and satisfied with my performance today.”
Maiia Khromykh, also from the Tutberidze school, won the silver medal with 226.35 points. Six of her elements in the short program to “I’ll Care of You“ by Bath Hart were very good, only the combination of triple flip and triple toe loop only good. Her components were around 8.1. She commented, “I don’t really have any emotions now, it was all over so fast. I am not so happy with my step sequence, which was only a level three. I would rate my performance a four or 3.5 out of five.”
She opened her free program with two very good quad toe loops, one of them with a double toe loop. Five triple jumps were excellent, but she stumbled on the triple loop and landed it on the wrong foot. The spins were excellent, the steps good.
“I am satisfied, and at the same time I am not“, she remarked. “I made an error on the loop and the footwork was not so good. But I am very happy with my second place in my very first (senior) Grand Prix, so yes, Maiia can do it.”
Loena Hendrickx from Belgium claimed the bronze medal with 219.05 points. She is the first Belgian women ever the win a medal at a Grand Prix and had been fifth at the World Championships in Sweden in March 2021. On her birthday, she won the short program to “Caruso“, performed by Lara Fabian. She opened it with an impressive combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop, followed by double axel, triple flip, three fast level 4 spins, everything in very good quality, and an excellent step sequence which got four GOEs of +4. Her components had an average of 8.3. “It felt strange, a bit more pressure than normally, I wanted to skate clean and enjoy my day,“ she said. “I am very surprised with the result. I knew I was ready for the short program. I felt confident and I couldn’t have made myself a better present for my birthday.“
She made no mistake in the long program to an exotic music mix either, collecting points on seven good or excellent high triple jumps and other outstanding elements. Her components were around 8.8. She explained, “I was very emotional when I saw I became third, it's a dream that came true. I worked hard for that and I had to overcome many injuries and other setbacks. But this summer I could train without problems.“
Mai Mihara from Japan finished in fourth place with 214.95 points. In her short program to the French musical “Les Miserables,“ all seven elements were at least good, the spins excellent. Her free program to music by Yuko Toyoda was flawless as well and had seven very good triple jumps.
Also from Japan, Satoko Miyahara came fifth with 209.57 points. In the short program to the “Song For the Little Sparrov“ by Abel Korzeniowski, her triple toe loop after the triple Lutz was under-rotated, the triple flip and the double Axel, however, good, but all her jumps are not very high. Her spins and steps were world class and had even some GOEs of +5. The same was true for her free program to several pieces of Giacomo Puccini’s opera Tosca. Six triples were good, but she stumbled on her combination of triple flip, double toe loop and double loop. She trains with Lee Barkell, head coach in the Granite Club in Toronto.
Yelim Kim from South Korea’s capital of Seoul palced sixth with 193.50 points. In the short, she fell on the triple Lutz and did a good combination of triple flip and double toe loop instead. In the free program, six triple jumps were good, but she popped the loop. Sofia Samodurova from the Mishin school in St. Petersburg finished seventh, earning 180.59 points. Her combination of triple flip and double toe loop in the short was not ideal and the triple Lutz under-rotated, the other elements good. Six triple jumps in the free program were good, but she popped the flip which was only double and almost fell on this jump.
The second South Korean skater, Eunsoo Lim, finished in eighth position with 179.58 points. In her short program, the combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop was excellent, but she went down on the triple flip. In her free, four triple jumps were good, but she fell on the toe loop after the Lutz and had three more less serious mistakes.
Yi Zhu from China came ninth with 171.25 points. In her faultless short, the combination of triple flip and double toe loop and her triple loop were good. Three triples in the free were good again, but she doubled a toe loop and fell on the Lutz.
Nicole Schott from Germany came tenth, earning 167.20 points. She was an alternate for U.S. skater Bradie Tennell who withdrew from Skate America and also from her second Grand Prix due to a foot injury. In her short program to the Tango “Adios Nonino“, Schott stumbled on the second toe loop of her combination, but the other six elements were good. In her free program to “Rain, In Your Black Eyes“ by Ezio Bosso, four triple jumps were good, but two others not clean.
The two Italian skaters, Lara Naki Gutmann and Lucrezia Beccari ended up on 11th and 12th position with 158.57 respectively 148.29 points after making several mistakes in both programs.