Recap - Day 3 - Ice Dance Rhythm Dance and Ladies Free Program
Being totally honest - after working and concentrating on my actual job and figure skating 24/7 for the last two days, I fell asleep on the couch this afternoon for two hours and only managed to re-watch the top five Ice Dance teams after the rhythm dance.
I also have to admit that even after being a Figure Skating Fan for 25 years I still don’t really understand the scores in Ice Dance: I would never be able to differentiate between level 3 or level 4 twizzles or other technical nuances. So from my un-schooled point of view I would have rated the top 5 pairs in this order:
5th - Victoria Sinitsina / Nikita Katsalapov (1st)
They might be technically perfect, which I can’t differentiate. And they are undoubtfully super elegant. But unfortunately both of their programs are a bit boring for me and don’t have that “Wow“ factor for me.
4th - Piper Gilles / Paul Poirier (4th)
I am usually a fan of Piper and Paul, I think they have a very special charm and I love their Free Dance. The Rhythm Dance music choice is not really my taste though.
Tied 2nd - Alexandra Stepanova / Ivan Bukin (5th)
They apparently had some insecurities today, so probably the judges were correct with putting them in 5th for now. I love the energy and fire of this team and unlike many others I still especially enjoy Ice Dance programs to „Moulin Rouge“. And I can’t wait for their Free Dance. That program is one of my favorite Free Dances ever, make sure not to miss it!
Tied 2nd - Madison Chock/ Evan Bates (3rd)
Not completely my music but their charm and amazing interpretation is undeniable. And Madison would deserve a gold medal for that amazingly beautiful dress.
1st - Marion Hubbel / Zachary Donohue (2nd)
Usually I am not their biggest fan but this program totally blew me away. Great energy, power and fire! I had just woken up from my nap when they skated and I was totally awake in a couple of seconds.
Ladies Free Skate - The event of missed chances
What if Sasha Trusova would have had a clean Short Program?
What if Loena Hendrickx would have landed the Flip in the Short and would have had a starting position in the last group?
What if it would just be a bit easier to keep these nerves together?
Honestly, what if questions don’t make any sense but it’s hard to let go of them.
And this Ladies event - that overall really stayed behind my high expectations - brought me a lot of them.
But let’s cover this in chronicle order:
Dutch Teenager Lindsay van Zundert was the first skater out and is definitely one of the big winners of this competition. With two clean skates she secured an Olympic spot for her country that hadn’t sent a Ladies skater to the games in many decades. Seeing her skate so well was also very special to me as I had witnessed the very emotional moment when she earned her scores for attending Worlds live at the Challenge Cup. So it made me extremely happy seeing her making the very best for herself out of this event.
The next two happy faces belonged to Nicole Schott from Germany and Eva Lotta Kiibus from Estonia, who were both really pleased with their performances. “I really fought today, but I am happy about the outcome!“, Nicole told in the mixed zone. Nebelhorn Trophy winner Eva Lotta was also overly very happy with her entire season and is now looking forward to a very well deserved vacation.
In warm up group 2 my heart broke with Satoko Miyahara. The former World silver medalist has in my opinion the most beautiful Free Program of all skaters, but these World Championships weren’t meant to be for her. Seeing her stumble through her program was really hard to take and reminded me of Shoma Uno’s breakdown performance at the Grand Prix in Grenoble 2019. As things have been going only up for Shoma since, I have the same hopes for Satoko now.
And then the time had come for the fighter Alexandra ‚Sasha‘ Trusova to redeem herself. She was on a mission planing a jumping layout only Nathan Chen could possibly compete with. She had landed all of the five quads during her morning practice, so she was definitely able to do it. She went for it, and landed three out of five, even though the last one, the quadruple Toeloop, got downgraded by the judging panel.
She won the Free Skate with this performance, climbed all the way up to the podium, winning a bronze medal. And even though Sasha isn’t the classical elegant skater, she is an admirable role mode of strength and will-power and I am almost certain she will get fully rewarded for this at some point in the future.
The skate of the night - in my opinion - though came from Belgium’s Loena Hendricks. Totally clean, super strong expressions, quite a bit underrated in Program Components, but what an amazing success for the 21 year old. I interviewed Loena recently at the Challenge Cup in The Hague where we talked about her great comeback story. http://www.absoluteskating.com/index.php?cat=interviews&id=2021loenahendrickx
Kaori Sakamoto from Japan and Karen Chen from the United States both delivered respectable performances, but couldn’t fight for medal positions.
So it all came down to the last three.
First to take the ice was comeback queen Elizaveta Tuktamysheva. She landed both of her triple Axels, fell on the Flip - but it was enough to stay ahead of Sasha Trusova. Seeing her realize she had medaled gave me another goose bump moment. Hard to imagine how much hard work must have been behind this outstanding success. And Liza made it very clear afterwards that this work is far from being done yet: “Winning the silver medal at this event really motivates me and I want to qualify for the Olympic games!“
Japan’s Rika Kihira, who was outstanding in the Short Program, lying in second place, could have had the chance to prevent an all Russian podium, but she missed the chance making many unusual mistakes. She explained later in the mixed zone that she wasn’t used to skate at that late hour of the day and that she will take the opportunity to learn from this painful experience. She also claimed her goal for the Olympic season: Skating a clean program with two quads and two triple Axels.
Anna Shcherbackova didn’t even need her quad to win the event. She showed some strong fighting spirit that reminded me of Alina Zagitova’s winning olympic performance with adding the triple loop combination very late in the program after she had missed it before.
She is without the doubt the deserved winner of an event where my expectations maybe had been just a little too high, considering the difficult situation these young athletes suffered from this season.
I can’t help it though that my expectations are as high again for the last day, where the men and the Ice Dancers will fight for their medals.
Photos: Tatjana Flade
Report: Judith Dombrowski