Russia’s Alena Kostornaia sealed a memorable victory in her Grand Prix debut at the Internationaux de France in Grenoble on Saturday. Olympic Champion and teammate Alina Zagitova took the silver medal and Mariah Bell (USA) claimed the bronze medal.
Kostornaia, 16, scored a personal best of 159.45 points in the Free Skating © International Skating Union
Skating to ‘Twilight’, ‘New Moon’ and ‘Supermassive Black Hole’, Kostornaia reeled off a triple Axel-double toeloop, triple Axel, six triples as well as level four spins and footwork. The ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champion achieved a personal best of 159.45 points and totaled 236.00 points.
“I am pleased that I was able to skate well and to show a clean program. I hope to improve my jumps and my program with each competition and to perfect myself. I had a show number to this music and I liked it so much and we decided to use it for this season,” the 16-year-old said.
Zagitova was third in the Free Skating but held on to second overall © International Skating Union
Zagitova landed a triple Salchow, triple flip-double toe-double loop and another triple flip in her ‘Cleopatra’ program to ‘The Feeling Begins’, ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and ‘Ramses’. However, the 2019 World Champion stumbled on her opening triple Lutz and underrotated four jumps.
With 141.82 points, the 17-year-old ranked third in the Free Skating but held on to second at 216.06 points overall.
“I think my performance was OK, but obviously there is room to grow and that motivates me. I will try to improve in all aspects of my program, the spins, footwork and jumps and get more points on the GOE (Grade of Execution),” the Olympic Champion said.
Bell’s program to ‘Hallelujah’ was highlighted by six clean triples and difficult spins and steps that merited a level four. With a personal best of 142.64 points, the Nebelhorn Trophy Champion was ranked second in the Free Skating segment but remained in third place on 212.89 points.
Mariah Bell (USA) performed to ‘Hallelujah’ by KD Lang © International Skating Union
“I’m really proud of how this competition went. I think the season started very well for me. I really worked on my training and it’s paying off which I’m really excited about,” the 23-year-old said.
“I’ve got Russia (Rostelecom Cup) coming up next, so I’m looking forward to just going in and bringing my programs out again.”
Kaori Sakamoto (JPN) moved up from sixth to fourth place with a dynamic performance to ‘Matrix’ (199.24 points). Starr Andrews (USA) finished fifth (180.54 points) followed by 2018 World silver medalist Wakaba Higuchi (JPN/174.12 points).
Overall, 59 skaters/couples representing 13 ISU members compete at Internationaux de France November 1-3. The top six qualifiers of the Grand Prix series in each discipline will proceed to the Final in Torino (ITA), December 5 to 8, 2019. Full entry lists, results, the General Announcement of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series are available on isu.org.
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ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2019/20
The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series started in 1995 (previously known as the ISU Champions Series) and consists of six international senior invitational events and the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. The skaters are seeded and invited to the six Grand Prix of Figure Skating events based on the results of the previous ISU World Figure Skating Championships. Competitors collect points in their ISU Grand Prix events towards the qualification for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. Only the top six Skaters / Couples in each discipline can qualify for the Final.