by Klaus Reinhold-Kany
(21 November 2018) The men’s event at the Rostelecom Cup 2018 in Moscow had a mixed level, there were many mistakes and surprises. The Technical Jury was very mild with the spins, with the big majority of these elements getting a level 4.
No surprise was the first place of double Olympic Champion Yuzuru Hanyu who had arrived in top shape and finished with 278.42 points. To the delight of several thousand Japanese fans, he had taken the lead in an superb short program with 110.53 points, much more than anybody else in this season. For six of the seven required elements he had some GOEs of +5 and almost all were outstanding and had mainly GOEs of +4.
Competing to "Otonal“ by Raul di Blasio, he began with a quad Salchow (four +5), followed by a triple Axel (three +5) and a combination of quad toe loop and triple toe loop with two arms over his head on the triple toe loop (one +5). Two spins had two and three +5, the step sequence (level 4) three +5, only the flying camel spin had no +5, but mainly +3. His components had an average of 9.6, with four perfect 10.0 as highest ones. Like at his first Grand Prix in Finland two weeks before, the fans showered the ice with hundreds of flowers, toys and other gifts. He commented, “I am satisfied with my performance. I can’t say it was perfect, especially not the quad toe - triple toe. But I am happy I got a level four for each element and the GOE for the triple Axel and the quad Salchow was really good.”
But during the next morning’s practice he had a bad fall on a quad loop attempt while his music was being played. He injured his ankle, got up slowly, limped a bit and left the ice before the end of his music. Nevertheless he showed up for his long program (to the music “Art on Ice“ by Edvin Marton) and began with a very good quad Salchow, followed by an outstanding quad toe loop. Later he performed a triple loop which he did instead of the planned quad loop. The triple flip got a small warning for an edge call and his new sequence of quad toe loop and triple Axel was shaky. He fell on the first (under-rotated) triple Axel and singled the second one. His spins and steps were excellent and his components around 9.1.
Later he commented, “The injury is not the same as last year, but it is very painful and it forced me to change my program. I wanted to skate perfectly in Russia - too bad that it was not possible. I did what I could do considering my condition. I thought about withdrawing because of the injury, but it is my choice. I really wanted to skate this program in Russia.”
Morisi Kvitelashvili from the Republic of Georgia who trains in the Moscow school of Eteri Tutberidze, was a surprising silver medal winner with 248.58 points. He had already been second in the short program. Besides Hanyu, he was the only skater to try and land two quads there to the music “Bloodstream“ by Tokio Myers. His combination of quad Salchow and triple toe loop was excellent, his triple Axel good and for the quad toe loop he needed the second foot soon after landing on one foot, but the spins were not impressive. His components were around 7.7. “I did everything as planned“, he explained. “But there is still room for improvement and I will continue to work to please the audience. I really enjoy skating in this competition, there is a positive atmosphere.“
In the free program to music from the rock opera Mozart, Kvitevashvili performed an almost clean combination of quad Salchow and triple toe loop, a good combination of quad toe loop and double toe loop and another quad toe loop with one hand on the ice. Three other triples were clean, but two more were not. His components had an average of 7.8. “I did everything as planned, but not everything went as smoothly as I would have liked,” Kvitelashvili commented.
Kazuki Tomono from Japan finished on third position with 238.73 points. In the short program, his quad Salchow was under-rotated, his combination of triple flip and triple toe loop so-so and his triple Axel excellent. In the free program to Riverdance, he moved up from fourth to third place, opening with a good first quad Salchow and another almost clean one. Five triple jumps were good, but a toe loop under-rotated and a flip got a small edge call. He explained, "This is the first time I made the podium at a Grand Prix and I am very happy about that.”
Mikhail Kolyada from St. Petersburg in Russia finished on fourth position, accumulating 225.42 points. In the short program, he turned the planned quad toeloop into a messy triple one. Later he singled the Axel and his combination was only triple Lutz and double toe loop. But with a relatively good free program to Bizet’s Carmen he rose from eighth to fourth place. He began with a very good combination of quad Salchow and triple toe loop which got mainly GOEs of +3. Next was another very good combination of quad toe loop and triple toeloop. Two other triples were excellent, but he missed two more.
Keegan Messing from Canada, who lives in Alaska and competed for the USA until 2014, finished fifth with 220.75 points after being seventh in the short (with three mistakes) and sixth in the free program. There, he fell on both attempts for a quad toe loop, but performed five very good triples.
Paul Fentz from Germany came sixth, winning 220.57 points. In both programs, he did not risk a quad. In the short, he skated clean with a combination of triple toe loop and another triple toe loop, plus an excellent triple axel and a good triple Lutz. In the free program, he performed six good triple jumps, only his second triple Axel in combination with a double toe loop was shaky. At the Berlin airport he had been told that he had no correct visa. Therefore he had to go back to the Russian embassy in downtown Berlin the next morning once more to get a correct visa and missed the first practice.
Andrei Lazukin from Russia is seventh, earning 215.78 points. After a bad short program with almost falling on the quad toe loop and performing only a double Axel and a combination of triple flip and double toe loop, he moved up from eleventh place in a free program with two quad toe loops and two triple Axels.
U.S. skater Alexei Krasnozhon finished eighth with 208.01 points. He opened his short program with a very good combination of triple flip and triple loop, followed by a so-so triple Axel and a good triple Lutz. In the free, five triple jumps were clean, but three others not. He did not try a quad.
Alexander Majorov from Sweden came third in a good short program. But he dropped to ninth place with 205.59 overall points in spite of beginning with a good quad toeloop. But later he made four mistakes.
Brendan Kerry from Australia ended tenth with 197.59 points. He missed two jumps in the short program and several jumps in the long were not clean. He had come as an alternate for the Italian Maurizio Zandron who switched nationality and will compete for Austria.
Artur Dmitriev Jr. from Russia finished eleventh, earning 189.58 points. He missed the quad toe loop as well as the triple Axel in the short program. At the Nebelhorn Trophy he had landed a very unusual combination of triple Lutz and triple flip without a linking step in-between. He and his coach, who is his father, asked the ISU if this was counted as an official combination. The ISU gave an O.K. for this new element, but in Moscow he stepped out of the flip. In the long program he was the first skater to try a quadruple Axel in an ISU event. But he fell and the jump was downgraded because it was landed forward. He made four other mistakes on jumps.
Julian Zhi Jie Yee from Malaysia, who trains in Barrie, Ontario, had been invited as an alternate for Denis Ten from Kazakhstan who had been killed in his home country in July in a knife attack by a burglar who wanted to steal the outdoor mirrors of his car. Yee ended up 12th and last with 178.71 points after missing many jumps in both programs. The Canadian border authorities at Toronto airport did not let him board the plane to Europe and Russia because on his ticket (which the Russian federation had sent him), the first and the family name were mixed up. They insisted that he had a buy a new ticket for 5,800 Canadian dollars out of his own money to be allowed to fly to Russia. He hopes to be allowed to fly back without further problems.