by Klaus-Reinhold Kany
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS)
Mariah Bell (USA)
(30 October 2018) The ladies competition at Skate Canada 2018 in Laval, Quebec, had a relatively good level. There was an interesting fight at the top between Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, the 2015 World Champion, and Evgenia Medvedeva, the 2016 and 2017 World Champion and 2018 Olympic silver medalist. Tuktamysheva, a student of Alexei Mishin, took the gold medal with 203.32 points thanks to the best short program in which she was almost eight points ahead. Skating to the “Assassin’s Tango” from “M. and Mrs Smith,” she began her short program with a good and confident triple Axel, followed by an excellent combination of triple toe loop and triple toe loop. Her triple Lutz was also excellent, the three spins had a level 4 and the step sequence was impressive as well. Her speed not being so high, she had components of 8.0. She commented, “I feel great. I skated a clean short program with the triple Axel for the first time (this season). I am so happy that I did everything what I want. Not a long time ago, I remembered how I came to Skate Canada for my first Grand Prix and everything seemed so easy. I didn’t think it was such a serious event, I just enjoyed competing at the senior level. I had a lot of ups and downs since, and now I want to put all that experience I have into my programs.”
In spite of performing only the third best free program, she could keep her first position, but it was close.
Skating to the Lindy-Hop “You Don’t Love Me” by Caro Emerald, “Petite Fleur” by The Hot Sardines and “Cat Groove” by Parov Stelar, she fell on her opening triple Axel, but then pulled herself together. She continued with a good combination of triple Lutz and double toe loop (which was planned triple), four other triple jumps and two double Axels. Again she was a bit slow and had components with an average of 8.1. She commented, “I didn’t skate so well today, I fell on my triple Axel and I was nervous to be honest. I’m happy I am in first place but I need to work a lot. My next event is the NHK Trophy in Japan and I’m very glad I can go there. I want to improve my triple Axel.”
15-year-old Japanese skater Mako Yamashita, bronze medal winner at this year’s Junior Worlds, would almost have beaten Tuktamysheva and finished second with 203.06 points, just 0.26 points less. Her short program combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop was excellent, the double Axel good, but the triple flip got an edge call. Skating to not often heard pieces of the Opera “The Barber of Sevilla” she had components of around 7.7. In her free program to the Puccini opera Madam Butterfly, she performed flawlessly and did everything she planned, including six very good triple jumps and an under-rotated triple loop near the end. This time her components went up to 8.1. “I didn’t expect to win a medal today. I did the best I could and this led to me winning a medal. I learned a lot and I need to improve a lot,” she said.
Evgenia Medvedeva has moved from Moscow to Toronto this summer and has been training with Brian Orser since June. She won the bronze medal, earning 197.91 points. She skated to “Orange Colored Sky” by Natalie Cole, a style which is new for her and not yet a hundred per cent convincing. She began her short program with a clean, but not extraordinary triple Lutz, followed by a good double Axel which was technically better than this jump in previous years. But then she landed the triple flip forward, could not add a second jump and therefore had no combination. Her spins and steps were excellent and the components around 8.6, but this mistake cost around 10 points, he sat only on seventh place, and had to skate her free program in the first group. Competing there to three Tangos by Astor Piazzola, she fought her way up with the best free program to the third overall place, but more was not possible.
Five triple jumps were clean, the second Lutz got an edge call and the loop was under-rotated. The step sequence was excellent, but two spins only had a basic value. After her performance she said, “Yesterday I was mad at me and discussed with Brian (Orser) until one o’clock at night about my mistake which was a lack of concentration. But today the wild animal in me woke up. I did not look to the spectators, but put an imaginary wall around the rink and just fought. It wasn’t my best at all, there were a lot of mistakes. My next Grand Prix is in France and I have three weeks. In three weeks, I can do a huge [amount of] work. I want to improve my skating skills and focus on my technique, on the spins, my jumps. In France I have to win in order to be sure to go to the Final.”
U.S. skater Mariah Bell from California is ranked fourth with 190.25 points. Her short program to “To Love You More” by Celine Dion was choreographed by Adam Rippon. Her double Axel was good, but her combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop not clean and the Lutz under-rotated. The five other elements including the triple flip, however, were very good. In her free program to the soundtrack of “The Piano” and to “Experience” by Ludovico Einaudi, her first element was a combination of a clean double Axel and a triple toe loop on which she stepped out. Shae-Lynn Bourne had choreographed it and Bell said she liked working with her very much. Four good triple jumps followed, but she fell on the second triple Lutz. She had said before she thought her triple jump combinations were more stable this season thanks to the intense training with Rafael Arutunian (who had come with her) and she was right. Her spins and step sequences were excellent and had mainly GOEs of +4, even two +5. Her components had an average of 8.0.
Elisabet Tursynbaeva from Kasakhstan placed fifth, winning 185.71 points. After training with Brian Orser for a few years, she returned to Moscow this summer and is now again in Eteri Tutberidze’s school. Her triple Lutz was not clean, her double Axel good and in her combination she under-rotated the triple toe loop (with two arms over her head) after the triple flip. In the free program, she fell on the opening triple Lutz, but could perform six other good triple jumps.
Wakaba Higuchi from Japan has not been in a similar shape as during the World Championships 2018 in which she finished second. In Laval, she was sixth with 181.29 points. She had been second in the short program to the music “Energia” by Sofi Tukker. After an excellent double Axel, her combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop and the three level 4 spins were very good as well, but her triple flip got an edge call and was not really clean. “I am happy to perform better than in practice and that I didn’t pop any jumps. That was good for me. Compared to my last competition, in my practice I tried to improve each element, to do better jumps and to spin faster.” But with only the seventh best long program she dropped to the sixth overall place. After doubling the opening Salchow which was planned triple, she continued with a combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop , but the toe loop was under-rotated. Her triple loop was downgraded, the triple flip stepped out. The best elements were her three spins. Her components had an average of 7.8.
Starr Andrews from California, who is coached by Derrick Delmore and Peter Kongkasem, was much better than the week before at Skate America and finished on seventh place with 174.72 points. She came as an alternate for Dabin Choi from South Korea who is injured. Andrews skated a clean short program to George Gershwin’s Summertime with a very good combination of triple toe loop and triple toe loop , followed by an excellent double Axel. Her triple loop was good as well, her spins got a level 4 and her step sequence a level 3. She skated her free program to a jungle medley of five different pieces. She touched down on the opening triple Lutz and fell on the triple flip. She continued with a combination of double Axel and triple toe loop , but the toe loop was under-rotated. The triple Salchow was good, but the other three triple jumps (one toe loop and two loops) were under-rotated. Her spins and steps were excellent again and the layback spin even had mainly GOEs of +4.
Alaine Chartrand from Richmond Hill, Ontario, just North of Toronto, trains with Tracey Wainman and Gregor Filipowski. She is on eighth place, earning 172.17 points. She was also better than at Skate America the week before. She began her short program to “Paint it Black” with a good double Axel, followed by a combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop in which the toe loop was under-rotated. The five other elements including the triple loop were good. She started her free program to “Sunset Boulevard” by Andrew Lloyd Webber with the same combination as in the short program, but again the toe loop was under-rotated. Then she doubled the flip which got an edge call. Later the triple lop was o.k. but the two triple Salchows were under-rotated again.
Daria Panenkova from Russia finished on ninth place with 168.54 points. She had been fifth in the ISU Junior Final last year and also fifth at Junior Worlds 2018 and trains with Anna Tsareva in Moscow. In the short program she singled the flip which was planned triple. Her double Axel was good, but in her combination she under-rotated the triple toe loop after the triple Lutz. In both jumps she had both arms over her head. In the free program, five triples were good and two not clean.
Alicia Pinault from Canada came as an alternate for Gabrielle Daleman who had withdrawn because of mental stress and said she wants to pause for several months. Pineault ended up tenth with 158.29 points. She stepped out of the second triple toe loop in her short program combination. In her long program, five of the seven jumping elements were not clean. Canadian spectators also missed World Champion Kaetlyn Osmond, but she decided to sit out the whole season and was on tour through Canada in October and November.
Yura Matsuda from Japan had big problems with under-rotated jumps and finished eleventh with 157.59 points. Veronik Mallet from Canada withdrew from the competition after an old foot injury got worse in her first practice in Laval. She had been an alternate for Larkyn Austman who is injured. Therefore only 11 ladies competed.