Europeans 2015, Stockholm, day 4: Russian ladies rule Europe, Tuktamysheva skates to gold

February 1, 2015
By Titanilla Bőd (Új Szó)
Photos © Joy Geurts

For the ladies' free skating the Ericsson Globe arena was finally almost full. Sweden's crown princess Viktoria was present at the event, but the spectators cared more about another Viktoria and her sister Joshi. They skated well, but the dominance of the Russian ladies was unbreakable. As after the short program, they took all three spots on the podium, Tuktamysheva switching places with Radionova.

Kiira's withdrawal

Finnish fans woke up to some bad news: their medal hope Kiira Korpi had to withdraw due to illness. "Kiira felt bad on Friday and skipped the practice. She had a stomach problem and high temperature. She was in bed all day", Finnish teamleader Tarja Ristanen said. "She came to the rink for the off ice warm up this morning, but she still had fever. There is no point in risking her health. She wanted to compete very much and tried it, but we thought it was best to withdraw", Ristanen added.
On her Facebook profile, Kiira stated: "It breaks my heart that I'm not able to compete today because of stomach flu and fever. I was really looking forward to perform my long program and fight for a good placement. I'm still thankful I got the chance to skate the short program in front of the great audience here in Stockholm. thank you all for supporting me and I promise I'll get healthy and come back soon!"

Latvian mark on the ice

Angelina Kuchvalska of Latvia delivered the 5th best free skate of the night and climbed up from 17th to 7th place overall. She landed a triple flip, double toe loop combination and in total landed six triples. She was ecstatic after her free skate. "It was surely a great experience, I am very happy about this fantastic start and getting a season's best. I did all I could today and it was an amazing start for me at such a big competition. The most important thing for me when I skate is to enjoy it. All skaters want to enjoy it for themselves and also for the judges and the same is true for me," she said. She is 16 years old and this was her first Europeans - and she already managed to make her mark.

Little mistakes of Pogorilaya

In the last group Anna Pogorilaya was first to skate. She skated without mistakes but she couldn't beat her season's best and even though her performance was worth a bronze medal, she wasn't satisfied with how she skated. "I was less nervous than at the World Championships and I didn't feel much difference to a national competition on the energy level. So I don't think that I made mistakes because I was nervous, I was just a bit tired. The entry into the flip was not good, therefore I touched down with my hand and that led to the next mistake. It was a bit hard to skate, because it was warm," she commented on her performance.

Radionova has the drive

After that Elena Radionova took the ice. She has an amazing amount of energy, having fun out there and she performs the difficult elements with a natural, unforced smile. Skating to Rachmaninov she landed a triple Lutz, triple toe loop combination and five more triples. She beat her season's best and went into the lead. "I'm so happy I was able to show my best performance at my first European Championships, where I wanted so much to skate well. It was so important for me to put in a great performance here. My emotions were strong all the way through, I was nervous at the start but in a good way, and then the audience was so warm and supported me so much, they really pushed me and gave me such drive," the young Russian star told the press.

Happy Viktoria

For the home crowd, however, the Helgesson sisters were the biggest stars. Viktoria skated to Sunset Boulevard and received a huge applause from the Ericsson Globe arena. Even though she made a few mistakes and fell on the triple toe loop, she was blown away by the reaction of the audience. "It was amazing, just unbelievable! I am really happy with how it went. Just my leg died after the fall and it was a bit hard to breathe and that's why I had some problems in the end," Viktoria commented on her free program. She was third after she skated, but two more skaters were yet to come.

Nothing is impossible

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva has had an amazing season filled with great triumphs. Her confidence has grown a lot and she seemed super calm when she took her starting position. "Still inside my emotions are boiling up, but I try to stay focused and not to show it. Everybody gets nervous," she revealed after it was over. She skated flawlessly, starting off with a triple Lutz, double toe, double loop combination and then landed six more triples. All her elements had high quality, she didn't receive any negative GOE from any judge. No wonder she earned a new season's best - 141,38 points, and went into the lead. Since she had a huge gap from the short program, it was obvious that she has just won the title. "I am so happy that I skated clean. It was very satisfying for myself, my coaches and hopefully the judges. I am very glad that all three Russian girls skated a clean short and free program and I am excited to come out on top. This gives me confidence. I see that nothing is impossible and I never give up," the new champion said.

Screaming friends of Joshi

The last to skate was Joshi Helgesson, who was at the sixth place after the short program. She started with a triple Lutz, double toe combination and even though she struggled on her second Lutz and popped a Salchow, she still had the fourth best free skate of the day, and overall she climbed to the fourth place. "It feels unbelievable, I could never expect to skate like this. I think I could hear all my friends screaming while I was skating," she said with a huge smile.
At the press conference the Russian girls also said a few nice words about the Swedish sisters. "They are two very nice sisters, always smiley and kind. Although I haven't had the chance to talk to them they seem to be very good girls. They skate very nicely," Radionova emphasized.

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