The unspoken “curse” of the world team championships has fallen – the Russian national team celebrates success at these competitions for the first time in its history. The tournament, which is officially called the World Team Trophy, has been held six times prior to this year. Three times our team received prizes at it, but the athletes were able to raise the long-awaited cup only today, on April 17, in Osaka, Japan. The victory of the national team was beautiful and confident. But whether our athletes will be just as easy in a year at the Olympics in Beijing, Izvestia figured out.
Without a single fall
The Russian team initially went to Osaka as the favorite, so the current success is quite expected. It was difficult to imagine a scenario in which a team with three reigning world champions would lose the cup to someone. Just three weeks ago, with almost the same squad, the Russians beat everyone in Stockholm.
But the rentals themselves are much more impressive. Our athletes did not even give anyone a chance to think about hypothetical scenarios for victory. Incredibly, during the entire tournament there was not a single fall of a skater from the Russian national team.
“We have been proving our dominant status in the world of figure skating all this season and have won here on all fronts,” Honored Coach of Russia Inna Goncharenko told Izvestia. – We even have boys in Osaka excelled. We skated very well, added a good mood to all fans and specialists. Do not forget that this is the pre-Olympic season, and such a confident victory will be a good step for the whole team to win the Olympic Games.
In Japan, the Russians have surpassed the United States by 15 points – this is a huge margin, into which even local failures or a loud failure of one of the singles will fit perfectly. Still, it is dangerous to make serious assessments of the team’s prospects a year before the Games in Beijing.
“Such a bright victory will instill both confidence in our athletes and fear in their rivals,” said the champion of Russia Katharina Gerboldt. “But I try to avoid the word“ favorite ”. Practice shows that favorites do not usually win the Olympics. Therefore, we will be ill and hope for success. Today our guys are the best in the world.
A completely different scoring system and the format of the Olympic competitions of the Russian team, even in plus – the current system levels our trump cards in pair skating and dancing. The main question is the readiness of competitors, because now most of the national teams have not trained in full mode due to various quarantine restrictions.
“In my opinion, we can calmly talk about our chances of winning in Beijing right now,” Inna Goncharenko continued. – These chances are very high. But, of course, you shouldn’t relax. The opponent will rise, it will be more difficult. The holiday is over, we must continue to work and look ahead. But if you take stock of this particular season, then they are wonderful.
She recalled that this year, a number of competitors’ leaders did not participate in the competition, which directly affected the results. For example, in ice dancing it is still unclear who will be higher in clean skates – Victoria Sinitsina with Nikita Katsalapov or multiple world champions Gabriela Papadakis and Guillaume Sizeron? Surely the Chinese Wenjing Sui and Tsun Han would like to recoup Anastasia Mishina and Alexander Gallyamov for the defeat in Stockholm. But they did not reach Sweden, as a result, the Chinese team withdrew altogether, and instead of them the French flew to the team World Cup.
But Herboldt is sure: Russia’s success is too obvious to look for any other reasons besides our victorious performance.
– We brought the first numbers according to the regulations, and the fact that the leaders of other teams did not come is their problem, – explained Katarina. – Our task was to perform well our skates, and the Russian skaters coped with this. Even if all the competitors were in the optimal composition, no one would have beat ours anyway, today we are much stronger than everyone else. This year Russia’s victory was expected and obvious. At least I had no doubt that our team would win. No country has such athletes to claim the highest standard of medals in every sport.
Separately, experts note the successful performance of men. It was men’s single skating that in past years slowed down our chances of winning, and various jokes were constantly circulated about the fall of Mikhail Kolyada. But this time both men were led by an experienced coach Alexei Mishin and he coped with his task as brilliantly as his charges.
– Mishin knows how to prepare athletes, he is such an experienced specialist that I have not been surprised by the success of his students for a long time, – said Herboldt. – I am especially pleased with Evgeny Semenenko, who unexpectedly went first to the World Cup in Stockholm and there he not only did not get lost among the leaders of world skating, but also successfully performed at the team tournament. In terms of technique, he is now the third in the world after Yuzuru Hanyu and Nathan Chen, and the guy is only 17 years old.
Inna Goncharenko also praised the athlete from St. Petersburg.
– Zhenya is the main discovery of this year, – added the expert. – He’s a newbie, a debutant and gave us all hope to return to the leading positions in men’s single skating.
Herboldt also noted the girls. Anna Shcherbakova and Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, according to her, even improved after the World Cup.
– The girls performed luxuriously and very relaxed, – said Katarina. – They understood that they were already the best. And unlike the rentals in Stockholm, they weren’t so worried. They just enjoyed their work.
Truth, refereeing slightly spoiled the impression of the performances of the last day. Tuktamysheva cleanly skated her program with two triple axels, but in the individual competition she lost to the Japanese Kaori Sakomoto. Sakomoto also lit the hall, but still she had blots at the box office, and most importantly, there was no ultra-si. But even on a technical assessment, Kaori was superior to Elizabeth.
“Everyone considers the World Team Championship as a holiday, the desire of the judges to support the Japanese audience is felt,” Goncharenko explained. – Moreover, this is a rare international start with spectators now, and emotions, of course, were on the side of the hosts. Kaori skated the program cleanly, very brightly, and the judges wanted to appreciate and support her as highly as possible. Everyone understood that no layouts would affect the result of the Russian team, so why not add joy to the local audience. It is unlikely that Tuktamysheva was seriously upset because of this. She is an experienced athlete and understands everything perfectly.
On Sunday, April 18, our athletes will delight fans with demonstration performances. At this, the brilliant 2020/21 season can be considered officially closed.