Sochi, Russia

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2020 ISU World Junior Champion Kamila Valieva of Russia set a new record score en route to winning the Women’s Short Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Rostelecom Cup in Sochi (RUS) Friday. Teammate Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS) came second and Mariah Bell (USA) finished third on the first day of competition.

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Kamila Valieva (RUS) set a new record in the Short Program but insists there is room for improvement © International Skating Union (ISU)

Valieva delivered an excellent performance to “In Memoriam” by Kirill Richter, reeling off a triple Axel with both arms raised above her head, a triple flip, triple Lutz-triple toe and level-four spins and footwork. The 2020 World Junior Champion set a new record score with 87.42 points for the Women’s Short Program.

“I almost did my maximum today. There is always a place for improvement, the combo was not so great,” said 15-year-old Valieva.

“I enjoyed skating today, especially in the step sequence and I hope I was able to project the character I was trying to.”

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS) in the Women's Short Program on day one of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating - Rostelecom Cup

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS) felt the energy coming from the Sochi crowd lifted all the skaters © International Skating Union (ISU)

Performing to “J’oublie (Oblivion)”, Tuktamysheva hit a triple Axel, triple Lutz-triple toe and triple flip and collected a level four for her spins and steps. The 2021 ISU World silver medalist scored 80.10 points.

“I am happy with my skate today, I enjoyed it. I think it's thanks to the support of the audience and the crowd cheered so much for all girls and we felt it,” said the 2015 World Champion.

“When the mood and the energy is so high you feel great skating and you don’t get tired by the end of the program.

“I was a bit ill a week ago and my preparation was affected, so am happy with the skate,” she added.

Mariah Bell (USA) in the Women's Short Program on Day One of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating - Rostelecom Cup

Mariah Bell (USA) skated to a season's best in the Women's Short Program in Sochi © International Skating Union (ISU)

Bell’s program to “River Flows In You” included a triple flip-double toe combination, triple Lutz and double Axel. The American netted a season's best of 69.37 points.

“I was in France last week and obviously I didn’t have a great Short Program there. And here, not doing the planned triple-triple, so still leaving points out. I was able to get the points on the levels and spins that I missed in France,” Bell commented.

“This program is really enjoyable for me, but I haven't really competed yet this year except for last week so it feels very new to me, but I really enjoyed it and I am pleased with how today went and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Madeline Schizas (CAN) is currently ranked fourth at 67.49 points with a clean performance. Gran Premio d’Italia silver medalist Maiia Khromykh (RUS) fell on her triple Lutz to come fifth (64.72 points) while Premio d’Italia bronze medalist Loena Hendrickx (BEL) singled her flip and placed sixth (64.44 points).

For full results, click here