Spain’s Javier Fernandez celebrated a golden farewell in his last competition, taking his seventh consecutive European title as the ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2019 continued in Minsk (BLR) on Saturday with a dramatic Men’s Final. Russian Alexander Samarin claimed the silver medal and Matteo Rizzo of Italy surged from tenth to take the bronze, the first European medal for an Italian man in ten years.
Alexander Samarin (RUS) Javier Fernandez (ESP) and Matteo Rizzo (ITA) at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Skating to “Don Quixote”, Fernandez hit a somewhat shaky quadruple toe-triple toe combination, a quadruple Salchow, triple Axel-double toe, triple Axel, loop and two triple Salchows, but he popped a flip. The Olympic bronze medalist earned a level four for two spins and scored 179.75 points to win the Free Skating and move up from third to first place at 271.59 points. “I feel amazing. I knew that was going to be my last skate, although I don’t know about professional skating after this, but I’m super proud to have been able to skate like that today,” the two-time World Champion said. “I hope people will think of me as a different type of skater, a more complete skater than the ones we are supposed to have. Skaters are not just jumps but they are about complete skating. I hope I have left something like that in figure skating,” he continued.
Javier Fernandez (ESP) at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Samarin’s program to “The Greatest Showman” featured a quadruple Lutz, quadruple toeloop, two triple Axels and three more triples as well as difficult spins. He only two-footed a triple loop. The National bronze medalist set a season’s best with 177.87 points and totaled 269.84 points. “I tried to switch off from what was going on around me. I didn’t manage everything I wanted but I’m glad I kept going to the end, fought for every element, made my team happy and represented my country decently, finally, on my third go (at the European Championships),” the 20-year-old commented.
Alexander Samarin (RUS) at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Rizzo opened his program to a “Queen Medley” with a quad toe and followed up with seven triples, including two triple Axels. However, he almost fell on a triple Axel. The Italian achieved a season’s best of 165.67 points and collected 247.08 points. “Of course there are a lot of emotions inside me, as going from tenth to third place was kind of incredible, and I’m really proud of myself and the work me and all my team have done. It brings a lot of joy and emotions so I’m really happy about this. It was very unexpected because I was first in the third group so 11 skaters had to skate after me and there was a lot of time before the result so we just watched and waited. We couldn’t have expected it but it’s amazing,” Rizzo commented.
Matteo Rizzo (ITA) at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Kevin Aymoz (FRA) remained in fourth place on 246.34 points. 2018 European bronze medalist Mikhail Kolyada (RUS), who led after the Short Program, dropped to fifth (240.87 points) after several errors and injuring his left hand on a fall on a triple Axel. Daniel Grassl (ITA) moved up from ninth to sixth place in his debut (236.70 points).