Medvedeva on top of her Game at Grand Prix Final
by Klaus Reinhold Kany
The senior ladies competition had an excellent level because all competitors master the jumps up to the triple Lutz and triple-triple combinations and nobody took a big risk and tried a triple axel or even a quad.
Evgenia Medvedeva from Russia, the reigning world champion, had no problems to win the competition, this time with 227.66 points. In the short program, she even had the highest score ever for a lady, so her 79.21 points were a new world record even if the ladies had to perform eight elements until a few years ago instead of seven now. Skating to the music “River Flows in You” by Lorenza de Luca, all her elements were excellent and looked easy, either the combination of triple flip and triple toe loop or the three level 4 spins. All her jumps were in the second half and therefore are rewarded with 10 per cent more points. Half of the GOEs were +3, half of them +2 and nothing lower. She also showed a lot of mimicry and pantomime playing a teenager who grows up. Her components had an average level of 9.2.
Later she said: “Setting records is not important to me, I’m not chasing after them. I just want to show what my coaches have taught me and the work we do every day in practice. Today I’m happy with my performance, but there is still room to grow. I can do the interpretation of my program better, and my spins. I want to spin faster. Every person has their strengths and weaknesses and I always strive for perfection and you cannot stop doing that because when you do you stop progressing. My coaches chose this kind of music for me, I think they and my choreographer are better than me for this. They know me better than I know myself. They’ve watched me for eight years and they know my character and my character traits. It is absolutely collaborative but the image is created by them.”
In the long program to the soundtrack of “Extremely loud and incredibly Close”, Medvedeva interpreted somebody who learns that a beloved person gets killed in a terror attack. She stepped out of her opening triple flip and could not add a triple toe loop. But the rest of the program was very good, including six other triple jumps and three outstanding spins. Being quite critical to herself she commented: “I expected more from myself. I wanted to do more and I could have done more. The mistake was hard to overlook. It happened to me for the first time that I missed that first jump and the combination, but there is always a back-up plan. I had to move the combination to the second half and I did it well, so I’m happy about that. The Grand Prix Final is the most important competition of the season, because it is the only one that has the juniors and the seniors and only the best skaters.”
Satoko Miyahara from Japan, second at the World championships 2015, won the silver medal, gaining 218.33 points. Her flawless short program included a combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop and four level four elements. All of her jumps were elegantly landed, but a bit small. “I think it wasn’t bad,” she commented. “I am not fully satisfied so I want to do my best tomorrow. My short program’s aim is to skate with more speed and not do confusing steps but simple steps with more speed. My task was to have more speed and skate speedy in my program so I want to perform like this and have a happy face.”
In her long program, she performed six clean or even very good triple jumps, only the flip was under-rotated. The elegant spins and step sequences are also highlights of her programs. GOEs of +2 dominated, but the spins also had many +3. The music of “The Planets” by Gustav Holst seems a bit too aggressive for her elegant and sometimes a bit shy style. She commented. “I am very happy today. The flip was not my best, but that was the only not so good part of my program. I am happy but I still can do more and better. My feeling was getting higher and higher towards the end of my program. And yes, I think my speed was better than yesterday.”
Anna Pogorilaya from Russia finished third with 216.47 points. In her short program to the romantic Tango “Scent of a Woman” her combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop was impressive, but she stepped out of the triple loop. Another highlight was her dynamic step sequence with level 4. “There were some mistakes today,” she said. “I´ll talk about them with my coach later, but overall I´m happy. My entrance onto the ice was pretty funny, if anyone in the audience was bored I definitely woke them up! I slid and hurt my back a bit but I was just being careful with it. I´m an athlete and skating is my life, and what is sport without injuries? I am fine though, there is no problem and nothing to worry about.”
Her free program to two Italian music pieces and Michael Nyman’s “Memorial” was completely faultless and included seven triple jumps. For the step sequence and the choreographic sequence she got several GOEs of +3. She skated with a lot of style. Later she said: “I’m so grateful to everyone that cheered for me and lived it with me. My whole team has really supported me. I’m really pleased but the skate was still far from perfect. If I look at the performance as a whole then it was great and of course I am insanely happy, but there were still a few mistakes.”
Kaetlyn Osmond from Canada impressed the judges and the audience again with her high jumps and an excellent sparkle. Skating to two songs of French singer Edith Piaf, her flawless short program included a huge combination of triple flip and triple toe loop and a high triple Lutz and she was sat second. “I`m super happy with my skate,”, she commented. It`s only my third or fourth time I´ve skated it clean in competition so I´m super happy, especially after last season it is so rewarding to be able to get a season´s best and a personal best. It´s my first time at Grand Prix Final and it´s so rewarding to skate with the best skaters in the world. It´s also my first time in France, so it´s a lot of firsts for me which is super exciting.”
But in the free she dropped to fourth place, winning 212.45 overall points, because she doubled a Salchow and a toe loop which were planned triple. The rest of the program was very good again. Later she said. “I went out there and had a couple of things in mind that I wanted to do and I did them. Of course it wasn’t perfect. I wasn’t completely comfortable in the whole program. I didn’t feel fully in the ice and I made some silly mistakes which I don’t usually make. But to do the loop which I don’t usually land put the cherry on top of a great skate and then to be able to get a season’s best and sell the program at the end, great. I got to the end of the program and was like, why is it over?”
Maria Sotskova from Russia was fifth with 198.79 points. The combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop in her short program was clean, but her triple flip and the double Axel under-rotated. In her free program, four triple jumps were good, but three other not completely clean. She commented: “This was my little Olympics and I feel like I won it today. I wasn’t even nervous really. I loved it, my coach loved it and I hope everyone watching loved it too. I came here just to show clean skating and to show the judges I can compete for the top places and the top marks.”
Elena Radionova from Russia ended up sixth, earning 188.81 points. Her short program to Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” was good, but the loop was a bit under-rotated. Generally the landings of her jumps are not as elegant because she often puts her body too much in front, and therefore she does not get the best GOEs. She said: “I feel fine, I don’t know how to explain what happened in the program. If I´m honest, I’m not very happy with how I skated. I know I can skate better. My landings weren’t very clean and overall it just wasn’t very good.” In the free program to Puccini’s “Turandot”, she fell on the opening triple Lutz and later a triple Salchow was downgraded and a triple toe loop under-rotated. “These things happen. It’s not ideal to fall on the first jump. I don’t really know why it happened. I rarely skate first after the warm-up so maybe that explains the problems I had. I don’t know. Of course it’s a shame. I’ve grown a lot and that’s created some