Most skating observers will find their jaws dropping today when they see what happened in the ladies’ short program at the Russian Figure Skating Championships. It was not so much that defending champion Adelina Sotnikova has the lead, but more that the skater who has been the Russian star this season, Elizaveta Tuktamisheva, is in a shocking seventh place. The strong field of ladies took the ice and showed why they are the most talented bunch in the world.
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VIDEOS: Ladies’ short program video gallery
Sotnikova, who has struggled this season with the short program, saved her best so far for her own national championships, hitting her opening triple lutz-triple loop combination to put herself in prime position for her third title. With the most difficult and best executed short program of the bunch, her first place standing was well-deserved. The judges rewarded her with a 68.65, giving her a four-point advantage going into the free skate.
Another skater who has struggled this season, 2010 champion Ksenia Makarova, showed that she is not ready to give up on her season just yet. She put down a clean short program as well, landing a triple toe-triple toe and a solo triple loop on her way to a 64.30 and second place in the short.
Newly-crowned Junior Grand Prix Final champion Julia Liptniskaia put herself in podium position as well. She was clean with a triple toe-triple toe combination and triple lutz, earning a 63.11.
The next five ladies are separated by just over three points, with Sofia Biryukova at the top of that pack after two-footing the backend of her triple toe-triple toe combination. Reigning silver medalist Alena Leonova turned out of her opening triple toe and is in fifth.
After winning two Grand Prix events this season, Tuktamisheva came into the competition as the slight favorite to claim her first Russian title. But that unraveled at the very beginning of her short program when she fell on her triple lutz, which was supposed to have been in combination with a triple toe. And even though she tacked on a double toe to her solo triple loop to regain some of her base value, the damage was done. Her score of 58.32 puts her over ten points behind Sotnikova and six points behind Makarova.
LADIES (after the short program)
1. Adelina Sotnikova – 68.65
2. Ksenia Makarova – 64.30
3. Julia Lipnitskaia – 63.11
4. Sofia Biryukova – 60.95
5. Alena Leonova – 59.95
6. Elena Radionova – 59.10
7. Elizaveta Tuktamisheva – 58.32
8. Polina Korobeynikova – 57.64
9. Anna Shershak – 55.29
10. Maria Artemyeva – 55.25
11. Evgenia Medvedeva – 53.21
12. Alexandra Deeva – 53.21
13. Evgenia Gerasimova – 52.58
14. Anna Ovcharova – 52.51
15. Polina Agafonova – 50.30
16. Sofia Mishina – 46.55
17. Polina Shelepen – 45.44
18. Maria Stavitskaya – 43.10
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