A year ago, Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov withdrew from Russian Nationals during the free dance as he suffered an injury and their season was over. This year, they came back to take the title. Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin settled for the silver medal as they did the previous year, while Sofia Evdokimova and Egor Bazin somewhat unexpectedly captured the bronze medal.
Sinitsina and Katsalapov turned in a beautiful performance of their “Air” program, seemingly effortlessly executing intricate footwork and exiting lifts. The ISU Grand Prix Final silver medalists earned a level four for the lifts, their spin and her part of the synchronized twizzles. The other elements were rated a level three. The Muscovites scored 128.31 points, which added up to 212.32 points overall.
“We left everything on the ice today,” said Katsalapov. “I was very nervous before the performance, but we looked in each other’s eyes and skated like one. I am grateful to Vika that she helped me to become Russian Champion.” It was the first National title for the team and for both partners.
Stepanova and Bukin’s blues routine to “I am the One” by Beth Hart is a completely different, but not less fascinating program, and shows the dancers from a new, sultry standpoint. They had almost the same levels as the winners, except that both picked up a level four for the twizzles. The two-time European bronze medalists earned 126.54 points and remained in second place at 208.49 points.
“We didn’t skate without mistakes at nationals and we know what we have to work on, ” Stepanova noted and elaborated: “There is nothing we can leave out. We have to work on everything—on technique, emotions and our mistakes, every day. You need to skate perfectly.”
Evdokimova and Bazin delivered a powerful dance to “Nocturne” by Secret Garden and “Sarabande” by Globus that featured four level-four elements. The team from Togliatti in the Samara region in the south of Russia received 109.34 points and pulled up one spot on 179.21 points overall.
“We fought until the end and we were not looking at the marks of others,” said Bazin. “From the beginning of the season, we aimed at third place at nationals and we got this result.”
Betina Popova and Sergey Mozgov came in fourth with their dramatic program to “The Master and Margarita” with 176.93 points, followed by World Junior Champions Anastasia Skoptcova and Kirill Aleshin, who skated to an unusual version of Michael Jackson’s song “Bad” (175.10 points).
Anastasia Shpilevaya and Grigorii Smirnov placed sixth on 173.23 points.
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SOURCE: Golden Skate, by Tatjana Flade