POSTED: Thursday January 21st 2010

ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2010 - Day Three

The ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2010 continued in Tallinn, Estonia, on Thursday with the Original Dance and the Men’s Free Skating.

Domnina/Shabalin (RUS) retain lead in the Original Dance
World Champions Oksana Domnina/Maxim Shabalin of Russia retained their lead in the Original Dance, but Italy’s Federica Faiella/Massimo Scali won this segment. Defending European Champions Jana Khokhlova/Sergei Novitski (RUS) slipped to third place before the final Free Dance on Friday.

Domnina/Shabalin unveiled an inventive Aboriginal dance in international competition, dressed in colourful costumes. The dance was highlighted by a curve lift, well synchronized twizzles and difficult transition moves, but the side by side footwork was graded only a level two. The 2008 European Champions scored 61.49 points (28.90 element score/32.59 program component score) which added up to 104.27 points overall so far. “It was fun today. I think we skated better than in our last competition, but it wasn’t ideal”, Domnina said. “Like last year we wanted to go into a little different direction. Our coach suggested the idea to us and saw us in this dance when we didn’t see ourselves in it yet. This dance suits my soul very well. The most important thing is that people are not left indifferent by the dance. There are reactions, and that is already a plus. It is impossible to please everyone”, she continued.

Faiella/Scali put out a very characteristic Italian Tarantella that got the crowd going right away. They produced smooth footwork, earning a level four for the side by side step sequence and a level three for the circular steps. The 2009 European silver medallists beat Domnina/Shabalin in the segment with a season best score of 61.68 points (31.20/30.48) and moved up from third to second at 99.15 points. “We worked hard on the technical side of the routine, because it is really important now with the new system. We almost got to the level four (on all elements). Also both of us were really concentrated about the edges. At the same time we find a strong connection between us and the public. I hope we find the same connection on the ice tomorrow. Our free dance is completely different - it is dramatic and powerful, it is not cheerful like our folk routine, but it is definitely something that we really feel!” Scali explained.

Khokhlova/Novitski danced to the Russian song “Alongside the road to St. Petersburg”. Novitski was off balance on the sequential twizzle, and the couple was ranked fourth in the Original Dance with 58.59 points (28.80/29.79), but held on to third place overall at 96.46. “We have chosen a Russian folk dance because we are Russians and this dance is very close to us by its character, and we danced it with lots of passion”, Khokhlova said. “We were in the wonderful crazy mood today, the audience is great, and we were so carried away by it, that’s why probably we made some mistakes”, Novitski offered.

Grand Prix Final bronze medallists Nathalie Pechalat/Fabian Bourzat (FRA) are just 0.02 points away from the podium with 96.44 points. They showed an entertaining American Country Dance. Current European bronze medallists Sinead Kerr/John Kerr (GBR) are standing in fifth place. She wobbled on the twizzle section (93.81 points).

Evgeni Plushenko (RUS) takes his sixth European title
Evgeni Plushenko of Russia took his sixth European title ahead of Switzerland’s Stéphane Lambiel and Brian Joubert of France in what was an exact repeat of the 2006 European podium.

Performing to “Tango Amore” by Edvin Marton, Plushenko nailed his opening quad-triple toeloop combination followed by a high triple Axel, a triple Axel-double toe and three more triples. The only glitch in his confident performance came when he doubled a Lutz. The 2006 Olympic Champion earned 164.09 points, a new seasons best and racked up a total of 255.39 points. “There was one stupid error, I did a double Lutz. I repeated it as a triple later on, though, but you have to do everything”, Plushenko said. “I’m especially happy about the quad-triple because once again I had trouble with it in the warm up. But apparently I still benefit from my experience and can pull myself together when it counts. I’m very happy for myself that I’m still competitive after such a long break. At the Olympic Games, I’ll need to skater better. I want to do two quads”, he continued.

Lambiel skated last of the 20 Men in the Final. He put his hand down on the first quad toe but recovered to land a quad-double toeloop combination and five triples, but he fell in the serpentine footwork and the triple Salchow was shaky. Lambiel earned 160.79 points for his expressive routine to “La Traviata” and moved up from fifth to take the silver with 238.54 points. “It was good, but it wasn’t perfect. I felt great this week in Tallinn. The competition is very tough, the level is very high. There is a lot of stress. It could have been worse, but it could have been better. Now I feel very confident with the silver medal and I want to win the gold in Vancouver”, the 2006 Olympic silver medalists told the press.

Joubert skated second in the group. His routine to “Ancient Land” included a quadruple toeloop and six triples, but he doubled the planned quadruple Salchow. The defending champion scored 147.90 points and settled for the bronze at 236.54 points overall. “I am very disappointed with my free skating, but it was not a big surprise because I knew I wasn’t ready for my free skating. But I know what I have to work on”, the 2007 World Champion commented.

World Junior silver medallist Michal Brezina (CZE) came in fourth with a strong performance to “An American in Paris” (224.74 points). Samuel Contesti (ITA) moved up from seventh to fifth with a clean program (221.33 points).

The ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2010 continue Friday with the Ladies Short Program and the Free Dance. For more information, full entry lists and results please see: and

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