Ice Network

Medvedeva fends off Radionova to win Europeans

Pogorilaya completes Russian sweep of podium; Kuchvalska places fourth
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For the second year in a row, the ladies podium at the European championships consisted of a trio of Russians. -Getty Images

Russia did it again, sweeping the ladies podium at the European championships in convincing fashion. Evgenia Medvedeva won her first continental title, ahead of teammates Elena Radionova and Anna Pogorilaya. Latvia's Angelina Kuchvalska finished more than 10 points off the podium in fourth place.

Medvedeva and Radionova really won the night, as their overall scores -- 215.45 points and 209.99 points, respectively -- outclassed the field in Bratislava, Slovakia, Pogorilaya (187.05 points) included.

The task wasn't easy for Medvedeva, who skated second in the final group. She took the ice right after Radionova's clean program and the half standing ovation that followed (only half of the audience rose, but all roared with applause). Medvedeva didn't let it distract her.

Medvedeva flew over the jumps of her program, light and aerial across the ice.

She landed a pure triple flip-triple toe combination, followed by a triple lutz, triple flip and triple loop. She then landed her second difficult element, a triple salchow-triple toe combo. Everything seemed so light in her program, until a mysterious fall on the landing of her final double axel.

Medvedeva has learned to "Tano" most of her jumps (that is, to raise an arm over her head while she rotates, just like Brian Boitano used to do with his own triple lutz), which gives the elements an original (yet repeated) look. Medvedeva's three spins and step sequence earned Level 4's, and she received components ranging from 8.04 points for transitions to 8.71 points for interpretation. She scored 142.90 points for the segment.

"I didn't know how Elena had skated. I shut my ears as she received her marks," she said. "But actually, even when I don't shut my ears, I don't really hear much anyway. That's why I was so sick when I missed the double axel. Then in the kiss and cry, it was the first time I cried from happiness. There was so much emotion; it was so unexpected and I was so happy beyond words."

Radionova opened the last group of skaters with her usual poise and determination. Her Titanic program was clean from start to finish, and included a triple lutz-triple toe, triple flip, triple lutz and triple salchow-triple toe combination in the second half of her program. Many thought she would be impossible to top, until Medvedeva decided otherwise.

Radionova has increased her speed on the ice over the past year, but it was not enough. She said that "she made small errors on her jumps but was overall pleased with her performance," but she in fact was quite disappointed in taking her second straight silver medal at this event. Her presentation may have been the difference, as Medvedeva scored 2.2 points more for her Grades of Execution (GOEs) and 2.67 points for components for what was similar technical content. Radionova's free received a score of 139.03 points.

"I'll work to correct my mistakes," she said.

Pogorilaya managed to hold onto the podium (by more than 10.05 points), but her "Scheherazade" routine included two substantial falls: one on her second triple lutz and another one on her triple loop, a jump she rarely misses. Pogorilaya proved she is strong, however, as she managed to maintain her standards for spins and step sequence, all of which were rated Level 4. She also managed to place the double toe she failed to launch earlier in the routine after her final triple flip. She scored 123.24 points for the segment.

"I have very mixed emotions after this program," Pogorilaya said. "I didn't skate well, but it was a good experience for me. Now, I need to move forward."

Fourth place went to Latvia's Kuchvalska, who skated clean, although two of her jumps were deemed under-rotated. She earned 118 points for her free, a new season's best, finishing with 176.99 points overall.

Italy's Roberta Rodeghiero was so happy to remain in the top five after a clean program. She also received Level 4's for her three spins and step sequence. France's Maé Bérénice Méité rallied from eighth place after the short program to finish sixth overall after a solid performance. Méité stayed in the "green room," the post kiss and cry area where the leader stays until someone surpasses them, for more than an hour, kindly entertaining the audience with her mimics. 

Many of the segment's jumps were judged to be under-rotated. Sweden's Joshi Helgesson was certainly the most penalized, as five out of her six triples were declared under-rotated. Armenia's Anastasia Galustyan had a similar fate during both her short and free.