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Tuktamisheva puts full repertoire on display

Russian dynamo claims second Grand Prix win; Czisny finishes first in free

Elizaveta Tuktamisheva's next competition will be the Grand Prix Final.
Elizaveta Tuktamisheva's next competition will be the Grand Prix Final. (Getty Images)

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By Jean-Christophe Berlot, special to icenetwork.com
(11/19/2011) - Diminutive Elizaveta Tuktamisheva of Russia claimed the gold medal Saturday at 2011 Trophée Eric Bompard. With her victory at Skate Canada, Tuktamisheva is the first ladies skater to win both events in her debut season in the Grand Prix Series.

Alissa Czisny won the free skate and beat her season's best to take the bronze, just .17 points behind Italy's Carolina Kostner.

Tuktamisheva skated a perfect program, precise and clean. Her opening triple Lutz-triple toe brought her 11.50 points. She then went over her repertoire of triples (although she did double her flip), compensating for her youthfulness with expressive arm movements, as was highly visible in her final layback spin. Her program, however very smartly devised, was strangely limited to the left half of the rink (as seen from the judges stand).

"My program is just set up like that," she explained. "Next time, I will have more ice coverage."

At last year's Trophée Bompard, Czisny said, after taking the bronze medal, "I have the skating, now I need the tricks."

This year, she did display some of "the tricks." She landed her triple Lutz and triple flip, and then a triple Lutz-double toe. She scored 121.90 points for her free, a new career best, and 179.15 overall.

"I am still working a lot on that program." she said. "We did change the program slightly since Skate America to maximize the points. It's still early in the season. I need to keep up with what the other girls are doing. I keep learning and growing."

Kostner continued her own personal interpretation of the classical repertoire. After skating Claude Debussy's "Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune" last year, she elected to skate her free program to Mozart's lesser-known "Piano Concerto No. 23."

She opened with her perfect triple loop, but then missed the triple flip-triple toe combination she had landed successfully during practice and in the warmup.

"I am very happy to have finished. After three Grand Prix events, I am glad to get some rest at home finally," said Kostner, who won silver at Skate America and gold at Cup of China. "My program was not really bad, but I was telling myself, 'Keep going, it's almost over'."

Kostner skated against Czisny for the second time this season. At Skate America, Czisny beat her by .13 points.

Kanako Murakami of Japan placed fourth in the free skate just as she did in the short program. She skated her free to Felix Mendelssohn's "Violin Concerto," with that precise balance Japanese skaters so often cultivate while skating, appropriately so for a violin masterpiece.

The next encounter for the three ladies who medaled in Paris is in a few weeks at the Grand Prix Final. That may prove to be a good rehearsal for the world championships, which will be staged a few hundred miles south of Paris, in Nice.

Tuktamisheva will not join Czisny and Kostner then, though, as she still is under the ISU age limit.

"I do not think it is unfair," Tuktamisheva said. "I can use this year to achieve a higher rating next year.