Figure skater Valieva spoke about the operation before the start of the season
On Saturday, the test skates of the Russian figure skating team started at the Megasport Sports Palace in Moscow. The main stars of the day – Olympic champion Kamila Valieva and ex-world champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva – performed within a couple of hours after they started. And predictably, they received a standing ovation from the stands.
Muscovites chose dachas instead of figure skating
True, we must immediately state that fewer people gathered at Megasport on Saturday than one might expect. Either Muscovites decided to take advantage of the last warm days and close the summer season, or the ticket prices turned out to be slightly inflated – from 2000 rubles for seats on the lower tier, but in the end this very lowest tier turned out to be about half full.
In contrast to the memories from the final event of last season – the tournament of show programs, where people poured into the hall, the bald spots in the stands were very noticeable.
Perhaps the situation would improve in the evening, when potential viewers could finish their other business and drive up to Megasport to see the “highlights of the program.” However, oddly enough, the organizers put women’s performances not at the end of the event, but as a second discipline. True, this was done at all tournaments – in particular, the stages of the Russian Grand Prix – and last season. But, I think, it would be worthwhile in this case to act according to the obvious logic.
Greetings from a past life under “Radio Retro”
The test skates began with the performance of rhythmic dance dancers. Their theme this season is the music of the 80s, and experts have already expressed cautious concerns that one should not expect much variety in the melodies heard under the arches of the sports palaces. But no one expected embarrassment from the very first minutes. First, Russian champions Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva and Egor Bazin skated their program to the song Stop performed by Sam Brown. Next came Sofia Leontyeva and Daniil Gorelkin onto the ice, and when the same music started playing, the audience burst into healthy laughter.
And in subsequent performances, the playlist of radio “Retro” sounded, in general, familiar, as they say, to experienced fans. But when Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin appeared on the ice, the music faded into the background. As did her partner’s costume, which many found a little revealing. All this was no longer important.
Everyone at that moment seemed to have received greetings from a past life. Repeated winners of the European Championships and Russian champions missed the post-Olympic season, and during this time a lot has happened in our ice dancing. The duos separated, came together, changed partners, and the national championship gold was won by a couple who for half the season could not perform at least one program cleanly. Chaos, leapfrog – whatever words were used to describe this process, which has been going on for the second year.
But with their very first performance, Stepanova and Bukin at least inspired confidence that Russian dance again has an unconditional first couple. Their rental was convincing and convincing. “We really love what we do and really want to perform,” Bukin used this phrase to explain why he and his partner decided not to leave the sport. It will, of course, be a pity if Stepanova and Bukin return and are unable to compete at international tournaments. But this no longer depends on them – and for their loyalty to figure skating, fans, no doubt, will give them credit at every domestic competition.
“It’s Just the Blues”
The fact that the test skates, although an extremely important starting stage of the season, was recalled by the girls from the first group of participants. The three skaters who opened the performances – Anastasia Zinina, Sofia Muravyova and Maya Khromykh – demonstrated a technical set that cannot win anything even at the current level of international competitions, which have fallen significantly. Namely, in the cascade a double jump was added to the triple jump.
But now no one is expecting ultra-si elements. But they are waiting for progress in skating skills, choreography and everything that is called the second grade. In general, all the girls who performed, and not those whom we have already named, were good at this.
But Kamila Valieva, who received the fourth starting number at the draw, combined unparalleled skating with the appropriate level of difficulty. It was the Olympic champion who was the first to perform the “3-3” cascade – although this detail, of course, was far from key in her Saturday performance.
The most important thing, of course, was that Valieva appeared in a completely new image – to the song I See Red, which, as was noted more than once when it became known about this choice of the skater, is the soundtrack to the erotic thriller “365 Days”. Later, in the mixed zone, Camila emphasized that for her it was “just the blues and that’s all.” “My goal is for it to be flexible, beautiful and not look vulgar,” she noted.
Well, it was really impressive – the matured Valieva coped with the unusual role one hundred percent. Her rare ability to combine the highest technique and various styles once again reminded us of what a treasure she is not only for Russian, but also for world figure skating. And if someone thought that she was not in optimal shape, well, that’s true. Camila said that she suffered a retinal tear and two laser procedures on her eyes in August. And the fact that, having entered the ice only on September 6, by the middle of the month she managed to return all triple jumps – Valieva, of course, does not have a three-and-a-half rotation Axel yet – is a real sports feat.
But there were other feats that day. In particular, Sofia Akatieva, after a summer stress fracture in her foot, performed her short program cleanly, albeit with simplified technical content. And also to stylistically new music for myself – from the drama “Masquerade”. A sporting feat and something that continues the career of Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, vice-champion of Russia in 2009 and world champion in 2015.
True, she doesn’t have a triple Axel now either. And there are big doubts that Lisa will compete at all competitions this season – and the skater honestly spoke about this in the mixed zone. But on the ice, even if only in a show, we will, of course, see Tuktamysheva – and then, you see, she misses tournaments. After all, love for her work is her guiding star in this very, very difficult sport.