What did we think of the #EuroFigure pairs short programme this evening? Here are the Top 3:— Europe On Ice (@europeonice) January 23, 2019
1️⃣ Vanessa James/ Morgan Ciprès 🇫🇷 76.55
2️⃣ Evgenia Tarasova/ Vladimir Morozov 🇷🇺 73.90
3️⃣ Nicole Della Monica/ Matteo Guarise 🇮🇹 73.70 pic.twitter.com/qA3eMInYXO
With national championships in the rearview mirror, Europe's elite skaters converged on Minsk, Belarus for the 2019 European Figure Skating Championships. Day 1 saw the short programs for the ladies and pairs.
Coming off disaster at Russian Nationals, reigning Olympic champion Alina Zagitova placed first in the European ladies' short program, as expected, albeit with a UR call that gave her a somewhat middling (for her level) score.
In second place (and, depending on who you ask, rightfully in first place) was Sofia Samodurova, Alexei Mishin's sassy mini-Tuktamysheva. She broke 70 in the short program for the first time, and came so very close to making Mishin smile.
With Italy's Carolina Kostner and Belgium's Loena Hendrickx both out due to injury, the default presumption of most people was that the three Russian ladies would comfortably rule the roost at Europeans. This failed to account for the fact that Stanislava Konstantinova, who placed fourth at Russian Nationals, slightly ahead of Zagitova, knows how to throw away a sure thing as well as any skater in the business. Opening with a popped Lutz, she then fell on the second half of her downgraded combination, and now languishes in eleventh place (she's not technically out of it, since she's about nine points back of third, but she's gotta dig herself out of a hole).
Instead, the small bronze medal (small medals are awarded at ISU championships for the top three finishers in each segment, in addition to the medals for the overall winners) went to
Oh so close to Paganini, and arguably better-positioned than her for the free skate since her personal best there is ten points higher, is Finnish national champion Viveca Lindfors.
Over in the pairs event, France's sexy team of Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres placed first in the short, skating cleanly despite losing levels on some elements (in particular, a base level triple twist).
Second place in the short went to Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, the defending European Champions, who went back to their Rachmaninoff short program (remember from the Olympics?) for the remainder of the season. While the performance had the increasingly-expected mistakes from them, this material is so much better-suited to their style.
Narrowly behind the Russians were the Italians, Nicole Della Monica and former competitive roller skater Matteo Guarise, with a clean program.
And just a bit behind them were the second of three Russian teams, national bronze medalists Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozklovski.
Tune in tomorrow, when the pairs play for all the marbles, and Javier Fernandez launches his bid for one final European title before sweet, lucrative retirement.
Della Monica/Guarise SP