by Klaus Reinhold-Kany
The men’s competition had an outstanding level. There were nine Russian entries and three from other countries who train in Moscow.
25-year-old Mikhail Kolyada won the event with 281.89 points. He had to skip almost the whole last season because of several health problems including a severe sinusitis which needed nasal surgery. He had been third at Worlds 2018 and sixth at Worlds 2019. Since this summer, the elegant skater who is married since 2019, is back and had been convincing in the monitoring event of the federation and in a local event in October. In springtime 2020, the skater from St. Petersburg left his longtime coach Valentina Chebotareva and now works with Alexei Mishin. This 79-year-old star coach gave him new confidence and stabilized most of his jumps. In the later season he plans to add the quad Lutz again which often did not work in previous competitions.
Kolyada had planned to open his short program to “Let’s Get Loud“ by the German Rock group “The Baseballs“ with a combination of quad toe loop and triple toe loop. But he almost fell on the quad (which was a bit under-rotated) and could not add a second jump. His triple Axel was excellent, the three spins and the step sequence, all level 4, as well. He added a triple toe loop to the triple Lutz, therefore he had a good combination. Because of his superior style, his components were around 9.4. He won 93,34 points, but this was only enough for third place in the short. He commented, ”Everything worked out today except the quad toe. I also enjoyed the atmosphere. The high level of competition is a good thing, it’s always pushing you forward.”
His new free program revealed a different, more balletic style than before. He performed to the soundtrack of ”Nureyev – The White Crow” by Ilan Eshkeri, which former ice dancer and show manager Ilya Averbukh choreographed with him about the life of famous Russian ballet dancer Nureyev. The judges awarded him components of around 9.5. This time the combination of quad toe toop and triple toe loop was stellar, as well as the second quad toe loop. His only mistake was a singled Axel. Later he performed two very good triple Axels and two more triples. Step sequences and spins were as excellent as usual.
He said, “Coming back is always hard, but also nice. I knew basically everything about (Rudolf) Nureyev. When I visited the ballet museum and met (Russian-Georgian ballet dancer) Nikolai Maximovitch Tsiskaridze, he told me about Nureyev’s life, some stories and showed me the costumes. So I know what I am skating. However, I have my own idea of the program.”
Moris Kvitelashvili from Georgia, who trains in the school of Eteri Tutberidze in Moscow, won the silver medal with 275.80 points. He had taken the lead in a flawless short program with 99.56 points which included a very good combination of quad Salchow and triple toe loop as well as a quad toe loop and a triple Axel. The jumps and spins looked very easy and had a very good quality but were not very spectacular. The 2020 European bronze medalist interpreted Belgian singer Jacques Brel’s "Port d’Amsterdam“ from the 1960s. This is perhaps not the best choice of music for him because he is not the type of a dirty and drunken sailor but more the type of a well-educated and polite young man. His components had an average of 8,7.
The 25-year-old explained, “It has been a long preparation and I am pleased that I finally was able to compete and to present myself. I am happy it worked out. My choreographer Daniil Gleikhengauz showed me this music, and I instantly liked it. The story behind my program is that I am a seaman who is on shore after a long trip and has fun, and all this happens in Amsterdam.”
In the free program, he interpreted Puccini‘s opera “Tosca“. The two combinations with quad Salchow and quad toe loop were very good, but he fell on the second quad toe loop. Five more triples, including an Axel, were no problem, but the last spin was not perfect. As his jumps looked easy again his components were relatively high, around 8.8. “I am happy how everything came together, even though not everything worked today,” he said. “I skated much better in the short program.“
18-year-old Petr Gumennik from St. Petersburg took bronze with 268.47 in his first international senior competition after winning bronze at Junior Worlds 2020. In the flawless short program to a modern arrangement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, the student of Veronika Daineko (who had been thrown out of Mishin‘s school three years ago because of bad behavior) collected 96.26 points with a good triple Axel, an excellent quad Salchow, a good combination of triple Lutz and triple loop and four other convincing elements. He said, I'm happy I could deliver a clean performance today. I was preparing to skate it with two quads, a lutz and a salchow. But my coach Veronika Daineko told me not to risk the Lutz just before the warm-up. At first, I couldn’t believe it because I was working on a program with two quads in the past month. But then I accepted it and it was a relief because a short program with just one quad is much easier to skate.”
In the free program to Webber’s musical “Phantom of the Opera“ Gumennik landed a good combination of quad Salchow with double toe loop and double loop, a shaky triple Axel and six more triples, but fell on the second quad Salchow and on a linking step. He commented, “I am happy to have won a medal at my first (international) senior competition, but I am a bit sad that my program wasn’t that great.”
17-year-old Andrei Mozalov, World Junior Champion eight months ago, skated the second best free program and moved up from sixth to fourth place with 266.69 points. In the short to “Sadeness“ by Enigma, he performed an excellent quad flip, but stepped out of the quad toe loop and could add only a single toe loop and his triple axel was a bit awkward. In the free to the soundtrack of “The Man With the Harmonica“, he popped the flip, which was planned quadruple, but later had two quad toe loops (one with double toe loop) and six triples, all of them in good quality.
Dmitri Aliev, the 2020 European Champion who was injured in the summer, is fifth with 265.11 points and was not yet in top shape. In the short to the music “Masquerade Waltz“ by Khatchaturian, he under-rotated and stepped out of the triple Axel after performing a good combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop and a very good quad toe loop. In the free to the 2015 version of “L’Immensita“ by Il Volo, he under-rotated the quad Lutz, had a good and a shaky quad toe loop and five triples, but none of them was very good.
Evgeni Semenenko came sixth with the third-best free program and 260.78 points. A quad toe loop and a quad Salchow were excellent and seven triples at least good. Makar Ignatov from the St. Petersburg school of Evgeni Rukavitsin finished on seventh position, earning the same 260.78 points as Semenenko, but less points in the free program. Since he surprisingly won Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany in 2019, he gained a lot of confidence and is a safe jumper. In the short, he landed a very good quad loop and a quad toe loop with an under-rotated triple toe loop. In the long, his quad loop was impressive again, two quad toe loops and five triples were good, he only popped the flip.
Roman Savosin, student of Alexei Chetverukin in Moscow, sits on eighth place with 250.07 points. His combination of quad toe loop and triple toe loop in the short was good, but he missed the quad Salchow. In the free, he collected a lot of points with a quad Salchow and a quad toe loop, but fell on the second quad Salchow.
17-year-old Ilya Yabokov finished on ninth position with 242.52 points. He fell on the quad toe loop in the short, but landed a good quad toe loop and one with a step-out in the free. Vladimir Litvintsev from Azerbaijan is tenth with 239.79 points. He touched down on the quad toe loop in the short, but landed two excellent ones in the free.
Artem Kovalev from the school of Evgeni Plushenko finished 11th with 212.50 points after falling on a quad Salchow in the short and falling on his first three jumps in the free. Alexander Lebedev from Belorus ended up 12th and last with 182.30 points after his triple Axel in the short was downgraded and he almost fell on the triple Lutz. In the free, four triples were clean, but he missed two others and was the only skater who did not try any quad.