Thursday, December 31, 2009

Kavaguti and Smirnov win third consecutive national title

Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov of St. Petersburg (SPB) defended their overnight lead to win their third consecutive national title.

Maria Mukhortova and Maxim Trankov (SPB) maintained second overall to win silver, while Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov of Perm (PRM) took the bronze.

Kavaguti and Smirnov did not attempt a throw quad Salchow, but landed two clean triple throws, side-by-side triple toes, and a sequence of two double Axels.

"Today our coach told us before the start not to attempt a quad throw," Smirnov later explained. "Even though we have landed a clean one in the morning practice. She told us that in the present circumstances it would be better to do a "simple" triple throw. You have seen the rest yourself: high flight, great landing, and Yuko's smile. You have to ask Moskvina for her reasons, frankly, we were a bit upset by her choice."

Though the students of Tamara Moskvina aborted one of their lifts, the overall level of their performance was much better than during Grand Prix season. The team expressed the waltz character better, and were smoother and more confident than before. They earned an ovation from their home crowd, and placed first in the long with 142.60 (67.92/74.68) points and overall (220.61 points) to easily defend their title.

"Winning the third straight title is as pleasant, as it is difficult," said Smirnov afterwards. "It's one thing to win the title once, but to repeat again next year and then the next is a completely different story. Believe me, it is hard."

"I think we have skated this program better in the Grand Prix event in Japan," he continued. "Today was a good performance, but I got worried during one lift. I was able to fix it quickly, but the aftertaste remains."

Mukhortova and Trankov gave an emotional performance which was very well received by the crowd, however, from the technical standpoint, it was their worst run-through of the season.

Full article.

No comments: