Alexander Samarin became the first Russian man in a decade to win his home Grand Prix event as he led his countrymen to a rare podium sweep at Rostelecom Cup in Moscow on Saturday. Dmitri Aliev and debutant Makar Ignatov claimed the silver and bronze medal.
Samarin follows in the footsteps of Evgeni Plushenko in 2009 to claim the men’s title in only the second podium sweep for Russia in the history of this event. Alexei Urmanov, Plushenko and Alexander Abt claimed the first all-Russian podium back in 1998.
Samarin led an all-Russian men's podium for only the second time in history © International Skating Union
Samarin, who had drawn to skate last, opened his program to “Good News” by Apashe with a huge quadruple Lutz-triple toeloop combination and followed up with six triple jumps including two triple Axels and collected a level four for his three spins. The 2019 European silver medalist set a new season’s best of 171.64 points and totaled 264.45 points to take his first ISU Grand Prix title. With gold from Moscow and silver from France, Samarin qualified for the first time for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final.
“Even though it was not my best performance, I am overwhelmed with emotions. There were mistakes, big mistakes and we’ll work on it. But I’m glad to have qualified for the Grand Prix Final. That is not a bad result for the first half of the season,” the Muscovite commented.
Aliev achieved a season's best score in Moscow © International Skating Union
Aliev’s performance to “Sound of Silence” feature a quadruple-triple toeloop combination, a solo quad toe and six triple jumps, however, one Lutz did not count as it was the third repetition of a jump, which is not allowed. The 2018 European silver medalist achieved a season’s best with 169.24 points and remained in second place at 259.88 points. The Skate America bronze medalist will now have to wait and see if this will get him to Turin.
“I am pleased that I was able to show the character and save the program, because the first half did not go as planned. I don’t want to repeat these mistakes. I did an extra triple Lutz that cost me a few points,” the 20-year-old from St. Petersburg said.
Ignatov landed a quadruple Salchow and quadruple toeloop plus seven triples. The only error came when he popped a Salchow into a single. The Nebelhorn Trophy Champion picked up 165.33 points, a personal best score, which added up to 252.87 points overall. Ignatov won the bronze in what was his debut at the senior-level ISU Grand Prix.
“There was an incredible support that gave me strength when I had no strength left. I made one mistake, I did a single Salchow instead of a triple and that threw me off a little. I am very happy that three Russian men are on the podium and I didn’t expect that to happen,” the 19-year-old noted.
Ignatov took home bronze on his Grand Prix debut © International Skating Union
Olympic silver medalist Shoma Uno (JPN) remained in fourth place at 252.24 points. Skate Canada silver medalist Nam Nguyen (CAN) finished fifth (246.20 points) and Deniss Vasiljevs (LAT) came sixth at 241.09 points.
Daniel Samohin (ISR) withdrew due to injury following the morning practice. He stood in 11th place following the Short Program.
ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Standings Men.
Overall, 60 skaters/couples representing 19 ISU members compete at Rostelecom Cup November 15-17. The series continues next week with the sixth and final event NHK Trophy in Sapporo (JPN). The top 6 qualifiers of the Grand Prix series in each discipline will proceed to the Final in Turin (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