Anastasiia Gubanova struck gold at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships in Espoo (FIN) Saturday, making history for Georgia as the first Figure Skater to win a senior-levl ISU Championship.
Sublime Gubanova skates off with gold
Anastasiia Gubanova of Georgia skated off with the gold medal, making history for her country as the first to win an ISU Championship. Belgium’s World silver medalist and top favorite Loena Hendrickx settled for the silver medal, while Kimmy Repond of Switzerland earned the bronze in her debut at the ISU European Championships.
Short Program leader Gubanova took to the ice last, and seized control of her sublime Bollywood-themed program from the very first second.
The John Wilson Trophy bronze medalist started off with a triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination and reeled off four more clean triple jumps, including a triple flip-triple toe in the second half, as well as two level-four spins. The only glitch came when she stumbled on a triple flip attempt that was downgraded.
At the end, Gubanova knelt down on the ice, overcome by emotion, and broke into tears of joy and relief.
The 21-year-old posted a season’s best of 130.10 points and racked up 199.91 points overall to take the title. It was also the first Women’s medal for Georgia since Elene Gedevanishvili’s bronze in 2012.
“I have not realized it yet, I am in shock. I was so nervous before my skate and mentally it was very tough,” Gubanova said.
“At the end of my performance, there were a lot of emotions. Mostly I was happy that I was able to overcome myself. This medal means a lot to me.”
Hendrickx came out determined to fight. The ISU Grand Prix Final bronze medalist had a good start into her dramatic performance to “Heaven” and “Fallen Angel”, with a triple Lutz-triple toe combination, and followed up with a triple flip and two double Axels. However, she missed a triple Lutz and triple flip and ranked third in the Free Skating with 125.63 points.
Loena Hendrickx (BEL) takes silver in the Women's Free Skating at Espoo © ISU
Overall, the multiple Belgian Champion remained in second place at 193.48 points to win her first medal at the ISU European Championships - and the first for a Belgian woman.
“I am happy with the silver medal, but I would have been happier if I had skated better,” Hendrickx said.
“I wanted to show a good program and I didn't. And I'm really disappointed about this. I felt so confident, because yesterday and today's training couldn't have gone better.
“I did everything clean on practice and also on the warm-up now. And then I made two big mistakes and it's just too much. It was not good enough.”
Newcomer Repond surprisingly stood in third place, following the Short Program, and she kept her calm in the Free Skating. Performing to “Exogenesis Symphony” by Muse, the 16-year-old produced seven triples, as well as level-four spins and footwork to earn a personal best of 128.68 points. She totaled 192.51 points.
Kimmy Repond (SUI) takes bronze in the Women's Free Skating © ISU
“I feel incredible. I didn't expect that,” she said. “I tried not to expect any certain place, and I was just hoping to finish in the top six. I just wanted to come here and show my best.
“Of course, after the short program the medal was in the back of my head, and I just tried to focus on my jumps and my choreography. And it's huge for me. The medal is always something huge, it's my first European Championships and it came really unexpected.”
Ekaterina Kurakova (POL) moved up from fifth and finished fourth, as she had a year ago (186.90 points). Nina Pinzarrone (BEL) came fifth in her debut at the ISU European Championships with 185.92 points. Niina Petrokina (EST) rounded up the top six at 183.74 points.
Following the IOC recommendation and in order to protect the integrity of ice skating competitions and for the safety of all the participants of international ice skating competitions, the ISU Council based on Article 17.1.q)i) of the ISU Constitution, agreed that with immediate effect and until further notice, no Skaters belonging to the ISU Members in Russia (Russian Skating Union and the Figure Skating Federation of Russia) and Belarus (Skating Union of Belarus) shall be invited or allowed to participate in International ice skating competitions including ISU Championships and other ISU Events. The same applies to Officials listed in the respective ISU Communications and/or Regulations under Russia and Belarus (see ISU Communication 2469).
Schedule of the event
The schedule of the European Figure Skating Championships is as follows:
Wednesday, January 25: Pairs & Men’s Short Programs
Thursday, January 26: Women’s Short Program, Pairs Free Skating
Friday, January 27: Rhythm Dance & Men’s Free Skating
Saturday, January 28: Women’s Free Skating & Free Dance
Sunday, January 29: Exhibition Gala
Where to watch the ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2023:
The ISU European Figure Skating Championships will be live streamed on the Skating ISU YouTube Channel. Geo-restrictions will apply in markets where TV rights are in place. You will find the full list in the Where to Watch news here.
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ISU website: ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2023
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