Yay I finally predicated a podium correctly! Alexandra Trusova (no surprise) won the Rostelecom Cup, followed by Evgenia Medvedeva and Mariah Bell came in third place. However, as much as I am a massive fan of Trusova, I do think that Medvedeva probably should have won the event because of her marvellous performances and clean skates, yet there was no way she was going to beat Trusova with her ridiculously high base value. Both of Trusova’s performances felt a little subdued than they had done at Skate Canada; her lutz-loop is clearly bothering her as she did a triple lutz-triple toe in the short program (which didn’t look easy) and then fell on the lutz-loop in her free skate. She fell taking her starting position in the short program which then proceeded to look a little rushed and panicked and not as natural as it usually does. Overall, she did not look very sure of herself at this competition and fell quite a few times during the warm up for the free skate. She fell on the quad salchow in the opening of her free skate as she did at Skate Canada; it’s a shame because we saw her do this program cleanly at the Japan Open so she’s more than capable of doing it so I hope we get to see it clean again at the Grand Prix final as I would love for her to win at the final, but I’m not sure if she will unless she skates cleanly as she will be against, most likely all of, her teammates and will also probably be coming from behind in the short program. Nevertheless, she did her job here and won and is going to the final so we will simply have to hope that she is able to get it together over the next couple of weeks.
Despite Trusova’s high technical score, she only beat Medvedeva by less than nine points which probably isn’t as big of a lead as Trusova would have wanted and suggests that if things go wrong, she’s not unbeatable. I think it’s good that Evgenia changed the lutz in the short program to a loop because she was able to skate cleanly here without the worry of an edge call and I’m so happy because it’s a heavenly program. I was not a Medvedeva fan while she was under Eteri Tutberidze, but since she switched to Brian Orser I have gained so much respect and admiration for her. I don’t really have much to say except that her two programs here were excellent and it’s a shame she didn’t skate like this in her short at Skate Canada because I would really have liked her to make the final simply because it would have been amusing to have a mini Russian nationals to see how they would have stacked up against each other. At least her performance here told Russia not to forget about her just yet because she is still a great skater. Also Brian fist-pumping when she landed her last jump in the free skate brought me so much joy and I really recommend watching her exhibition from this competition because it is exhilarating.
Mariah Bell came third! Let’s say that again: Mariah Bell came third! She won two grand prix medals! I certainly wasn’t expecting this to happen when the assignments came out in the summer, but I am so pleased for her and it shows that her hard work is paying off. I think people have tended to forget about the U.S. ladies in the past couple of years, with many looking to the future when Alysa Liu is able to compete as a senior, but Mariah Bell is certainly wanting to remind everyone of her existence this year and really show what a consistent and beautiful skater she can be. Unfortunately she fell on her combination in the short program and I was concerned that she wouldn’t be able to medal. Hopefully these two medals will now give her a lot of extra confidence – especially combined with her win at the Nebelhorn Trophy. U.S. Nationals are going to be very interesting this year – especially now that Gracie Gold has also qualified for Nationals with a sectionals score that was nearly 40 points higher than her score at regionals. I don’t think a lot of people were expecting this, but it proves that anything can happen. Unfortunately, these two medals do not qualify Mariah for a place in the Grand Prix Final and she will most likely be the last alternate, but they are something of which she can be very proud.
Satoko Miyahara came in fourth place after a strange double lutz the she sort of stepped out of in the short program, along with a fall and under-rotations in the free skate. It’s unfortunate because she’s a really nice skater to watch so we will now have to see what happens at Japanese Nationals in December. In fifth place was Ekaterina Ryabova who is also a really good skater to watch and she does seem very sure of herself that it’s not stressful to watch her. I think she was a bit underscored in her free skate personally, but I’m looking forward to seeing her more in the future. I also think that Alexia Paganini had quite a successful birthday weekend – apart from that strange tiny waltz jump instead of an axel at the end of her free skate. That said, she delivered a really nice short program and was in fourth place after this segment (seventh overall) and got three new season’s best scores so while she is probably disappointed with her free skate, this is certainly something positive she can take away from this event. I also love Yuhana Yokoi’s free skate and it’s very impressive that she leaves her combinations until the second half of the program; hopefully she will be able to gather herself for the short at Japanese Nationals (and even next week at NHK) so that she can have a good outing there because she is clearly a very capable skater.
Next week is the last event of this Grand Prix season before the final with the NHK Trophy and we will know who will be in Torino, although one can hazard a guess for now. My podium prediction is: Alena Kostornaia, Rika Kihira and Alina Zagitova.
What was your favourite moment from Rostelecom Cup?
My highlight: both of Evgenia’s programs, but also Alexandra falling at the beginning of her short, Eteri looking outraged, then realising the cameras were on her and having to laugh it off as well.
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I love to watch Alexia Paganini. She was a special guest at my college rink’s end of season show in like 2015 so I’ve been following her a long time and it’s been great to see her progress. But also it was AMAZING to see Evgenia hit like that on home ice.