Ice Network

Rejuvenated Tuktamisheva skates clean, takes lead

Mihara, Daleman sit second, third at Nebelhorn; Glenn spins into fourth
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Russia's Elizaveta Tuktamisheva, seen here with coach Alexei Mishin, said she will not as many risks with her skating this season. -Klaus-Reinhold Kany

Elizaveta Tuktamisheva gained a two-point lead over the field after skating a clean short program at the 2016 Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany, on Friday.

Skating to a modern tango and Mozart's "Piano Concerto No. 23" in a very expressive way, Tuktamisheva opened with a high triple toe loop-triple toe loop combination, followed by a solid triple lutz and a double axel done with one hand over her head. She earned 65.20 points for the performance. 

This is the second competition of the seasonn for the 2015 world champion, who took part in the St. Petersburg Cup a few weeks ago.

"It did not go well," Tuktamisheva said. "Therefore, I am double happy that I could skate a clean short program today."

After an outstanding 2014-15 season, during which she won the European and world championships, Tuktamisheva fell off last season, finishing eighth at Russian nationals and not being selected for the European or world team.

"This is a huge step forward for me because last season I could not show any clean short programs," Tuktamisheva said. "I was quite unconsistent, which I did not expect after the good season before. But you cannot always be high; there are always lows in your career. Maybe the triple axel in both programs was too much last year; therefore, I will take fewer risks this year."

The skater also reexamined her choice of music.

"I watched ballets (in the offseason) and listened to Mozart's music, which I like very much," she said. "I want to skate more to lyrical music."

Japan's Mai Mihara sits second with 63.11 points after a clean program to Camille Saint-Saëns' "Rondo Capriccioso." Her outing included a triple lutz-triple toe loop, double axel and triple flip.

"This was my first competition of the season, and I am very happy that everything went so well," Mihara said. "I expressed the music very well." 

Gabrielle Daleman of Canada is third with 60.15 points. Skating with expression to two pieces from Hérodiade by Jules Massenet, she opened with a triple lutz-triple toe loop (the toe loop was judged under-rotated). She fell on her triple flip, but her spins and step sequence gained high Grades of Execution (GOEs).

"I have worked very hard in the summer to improve my second mark, and I am happy that most of my elements were good and I got high components," Daleman said. "The music shows my strengths. I have a lot of power. The character in the opera is strong, and I like that."

U.S. skater Amber Glenn is fourth with 55.92 points. Skating an energetic program to Susan Boyle's rendition of Stephen Sondheim's "Send in the Clowns," she made small mistakes on each of her jumping passes, resulting in negative GOEs for all three of those elements. Her performance featured nice spins and a dynamic Level 3 step sequence.