Three Russians performed flawlessly and lead the European Championship


Russian singles skaters are not always distinguished by the stability of their performances. But for the pre-Olympic European Championships, which started in Tallinn, they seem to have arrived in good shape and with the right attitude. After the short program, Andrey Mozalev, Mark Kondratyuk and Evgeny Semenenko are the leaders of the competition with a confident lead over their closest competitors. But all of them are debutants of continental championships.

Mozalev gave a clean performance, jumping a combination of “quadruple toe loop – triple toe loop”, quadruple salchow and triple axel. So it is not surprising that he updated his personal best – 99.76 points.

His teammates also showed the best results in their careers. Both Kondratyuk and Semenenko made two quads in the program, including one in the combination. The guys’ marks are 99.06 and 99.04, respectively. For comparison: the fourth is Maurice Kvitelashvili, representing Georgia, but training in the group of Eteri Tutberidze (92.76).

Andrei Mozalev tries not to think that in Tallinn he can earn a ticket to Beijing. Another ride ahead. Photo: RIA Novosti

But the world champion among juniors Andrei Mozalev, although he took the “bronze” at the qualifying championship of Russia, was initially only a substitute. The coaching decision made Semenenko the third number of the team, who took fourth place in the Czech Republic, but has already shown himself well at the 2021 World Cup. Mozalev also ended up in Tallinn after Mikhail Kolyada withdrew from the tournament due to a foot injury received in training.

Can also slip

According to experts, Kolyada’s damage is not serious. It will take about a week to recover, but the skater will return to action by the Beijing Olympics.

For the rest, in the Russian national team, which, as always, claims to be the strongest team in the Old World and the whole world, all of our leaders.

Other teams also have a few injured athletes. However, the most discussed was the removal from the competition of the French dance duo Gabriella Papadakis – Guillaume Sizeron.

All our single skaters performed two quadruple jumps in the short program

The French are silver medalists at the 2018 Olympics, four-time world champions and five-time European champions. But at the European Championship 2020 they were beaten by our Victoria Sinitsina – Nikita Katsalapov. The following season, the students of Alexander Zhulin became world champions. True, in the absence of Papadakis – Sizeron, who felt a lack of competitive practice and confidence in a pandemic year. Everyone was looking forward to a new face-to-face rivalry between the two duets, which are considered favorites in the fight for the “gold” of the Games. But the showdown is being postponed until Beijing. The French will not come to Tallinn for fear of contracting the coronavirus.

– We decided to play it safe as much as possible to protect ourselves from infection. Flying, competing without a bubble is too big a risk, Papadakis told France TV Sport. – The decision was not easy, because this is a prestigious tournament, but we think it would be wiser to miss it.

The pre-Olympic European Championship is special. There is inevitably a tactical struggle going on. We can talk about the unwillingness of the French to meet with their main competitors before the Olympics, to whom they have already lost, but, more likely in the era of covid, about the natural desire to protect themselves and preserve their health and strength for the sake of the Games.

Moreover, while the number was being made up, information came about the first case of infection at the tournament. A positive test for coronavirus was passed by single skater Nikolai Mayorov, who plays for Sweden. Even earlier, the Israeli team – and this is one of the safest countries in terms of the risk of infection – refused to travel to Tallinn almost in full force. Several members of the team became infected, including the coach of the figure skater Mark Gorodnitsky. As a result, only singles Taylor Morris will represent Israel.

Swede Nikolai Mayorov passed the first positive test for covid in Tallinn

As for the covid protocol for the European Championship, participants, coaches and journalists take rapid tests every 24 hours. In case of a positive result, a repeated rapid test will be done, as well as a PCR test. And until the result will have to sit in isolation. If the infection is confirmed, the infected person is placed in quarantine, the minimum period of which is 10 days, and the maximum is 14.

Of course, you follow all this news with anxiety, but without panic. So far, the organizers of the competition, who are trying to keep this difficult situation under control, do not see any reason for serious concern.

According to the Director General of the Russian Figure Skating Federation Alexander Kogan, all tests of our skaters gave a negative result.