2019 European Figure Skating Championships review: what a wicked game you play

Hello, I’m still alive. Yes, I survived the nightmare of Euros, US Nationals, and the first week of my new online school program that conveniently decided to stack up in the same week, and yes, I have a load of math homework to do because I decided to watch skating. So without further ado, here’s the scoop on Euros and whether it was worth skipping algebra for.

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PAIRS:

Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres:

It’s another great competition in the bag for the French pair. Once again, they delivered two strong performances and showed that they’re contenders for that world title. And to be honest, I really enjoyed watching them – especially in the free. But I have mixed feelings about their scores. In the short, they lost levels on most of their stuff and still got a 76, and in the free the judges gave positive GOE for jumps that looked a little shaky to me. They have all these transitions and epic lifts, but should that boost their skating skill mark higher than Tarasova/Morozov’s? As happy as I am for them, my critical mathematical self still pipes up about this.

Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov:

Can I get on the next plane to Minsk so I can hug these two? It was so hard to watch her struggle with that stupid toe loop when clearly everything else about their skating is so first-class. If I was going to teach someone how to skate fast, I’d pull up a video of these guys. They are finally growing into that mature, beautiful Russian pair we need, but what good will that do them if their toe loops are downgraded?

I’m really happy they switched back to the Rachmaninoff short program. I didn’t mind “I Feel Good”, but I think Rachmaninoff works better for their skating style and gives them a fighting chance. I am so glad they got new costumes for the short program – now they look serious, elegant, and professional. I had more than my fair share of reservations about Trankov coaching them, but he seems to be making good decisions in the best interest of his team. Crossing my fingers that they can deliver it all clean at Worlds.

Alexandra Boikova/Dmitri Kozlovskii:

What a great debut for these two! Their short program still isn’t my favorite program of the year, but they laid it down clean, and the free skate just sparkled! He had a bit of a problem on the combo jump but overall it was excellent. I’m really excited to see a young team that’s already this polished and technically strong. They’ve definitely earned their spot on the team, and I could even see them making a run for the top spot in Russia within the next few years. In fact, we very well might have three teams piled up at the top: Tarasova/Morozov, Zabiiako/Enbert, and Boikova/Kozlovskii. They actually remind me of a very young Tarasova/Morozov, and I hope they have the same quick rise.

Although let’s be fair, if Ksenia Stolbova comes back, I’m abandoning everyone and welcoming back my one true queen.

Nicole Della Monica/Matteo Guarise:

This was so close that I wish there could’ve been two bronze medals. Really, they earned it. I think they’re really hitting their stride this season and I will not object if they continue killing it. The short program is cool, and while the free skate does feel a little “vintage”, like a program from another era, I don’t mind it. Tristan and Iseult is beautiful music and their lifts are gorgeous. To be honest, I think they were just a little lowballed on these scores.

But let’s be fair: their best program is their sexy Rocky exhibition. Don’t argue with me on this one.

Daria Pavliuchenko/Denis Khodykin:

It was a bit up and down for these two. The short program makes them look like better skaters than they are, and the free skate makes them look like worse skaters than they are. I don’t think they’ll pass up the aforementioned trio of Russian pairs, but stranger things have happened. Denis looked better this time, I don’t know why, but I’d like to take this as a sign that he’s catching up to his tiny diva at last.

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LADIES

Sofia Samodurova:

Can I just tell you how much I love this girl? She has such a cute, sassy, confident style, and she can lay it down consistently like no other. You can tell she’s an Ashley Wagner fangirl (and it was so sweet how Ashley gushed over her on her Instagram story 😊), but Sofia also has this cheerfulness that’s completely her own. I’m so excited to see her storming onto the scene like this; I wouldn’t be surprised if she medaled at Worlds.

Alina Zagitova:

Is it possible for me to adopt a child who is the same age as I am? Because someone needs to get Alina out of that horrible Eteri camp. The short program wasn’t even bad, but Eteri was looking at her as if she’d just committed a mass murder because she underrotated her loop. That, of course, was the easiest way to cause a meltdown in the free. Some skaters have gruff coaches who get them angry, and that makes them skate better, and that’s fine if it works for them. But Alina is a sweet, sensitive girl, and the last thing she needs is this coach telling her she’s a crappy skater every five seconds. So if you happen to see a little girl standing between Bellatrix Lestrange and Littlefinger from Game of Thrones, please rescue her.

That said, I think the Russian fed will still send her to Worlds, because it’d be pretty hard to deny the reigning GPF and European silver medalist a spot at Worlds. But I’m worried for her.

Viveca Lindfors:

You know the quickest way to my heart is to skate to Phantom of the Opera and Les Mis. She did a great job, her jumps are nice, and her final combo spin was amazing. A spoiler for sure, but there wasn’t anything to object to.

Stanislava Konstantinova:

I know I’m probably the only Stanislava fan in the world, but I’ll stand by this little fighter until the end. Seeing her crying at the end of the short program was just a little too much for my heart. They won’t send her to Worlds now. But I’m proud of the way she fought in that free skate. I hope we’ll still see her next year.

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MEN:

Javier Fernandez:

I am about to confess an unpopular skating opinion: I was never really invested in Javi’s career. I respected what he did, but my heart was always with Jason Brown and Jason Brown only. However, he skated well and it was a sweet note to end a career on. Whenever he skates, there’s just a sense of ease, charisma, and joy, and I’ll miss that. Adios, Javi!

Alexander Samarin:

Samarin’s edgy SP works for him, not because he’s a great skater but because it works with the skater he is instead of trying to pretend he’s graceful. With the angsty music, he can just tear around the ice throwing quads around and look cool. He reminds me of Maxim Kovtun – explosive jumps and still unpolished in skating skills – except he uses it to his advantage while Kovtun lets it get in the way. However…The Greatest Showman was a bad idea. Very bad. When I picture a Greatest Showman program, I picture someone who can be quiet and introspective and portray emotion on the ice, and poor Alexander just falls short of that. I imagine he watched the movie, fell in love with the music, and picked it for his free skate without asking himself whether this would work for his skating style, or at least that’s what it looks like. On that note: I think Dmitri Aliev could do this music justice.

Matteo Rizzo:

I really like this guy! He does seem to have an obsession with skating to old-time rock and roll like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and now Queen, but he makes it work. I’m really happy to see him medal.

Kevin Aymoz:

I really like Kevin’s skating! There’s just an easy pleasantness about it that’s refreshing. Good for him finishing 4th here – beautiful performances!

Mikhail Kolyada:

I screamed in joy when I saw his short program and screamed in pain when I saw his free skate. It’s so frustrating that such a talented guy who can score over 100 points in a short program is cursed to never skate a clean free skate. His skating skills are simply breathtaking, and I honestly think he’s one of the most talented male skaters alive right now, right up there with Nathan, Yuzuru, and Shoma.

At least we’ll always have his short program to watch when we get discouraged.

ICE DANCE:

Papadakis/Cizeron:

I don’t know if many of you know my opinions on ice dance, so here I go. The French are beautiful, talented skaters with lovely programs. Their programs feel a lot like the stuff they’ve always skated to, but I didn’t see anything unattractive in their skating.

But are they eleven points better than Stepanova/Bukin? Of course not. I don’t like watching a sport where they hold one team so far out of reach. (And this is NOT a suggestion to the judges to start giving Hubbell/Donohue 130!). However, I really like both of Gabriella’s dresses, especially the green one for the tango rhythm dance. She looks like a gorgeous Head of Slytherin.

Stepanova/Bukin:

This year I haven’t been really invested in ice dance, but I do love Stepanova/Bukin. The rhythm dance was solid, and the free dance is just STEAMING hot. I would honestly have this up there with Virtue/Moir’s Carmen when it comes to sensuality. And not only are their programs good, they have the skating to back it up. I really want these two to take their place as Russia’s number one and keep it until they can get an Olympic medal in 2022.

Guignard/Fabbri:

This year I started watching Charlene and Marco, and I’m so glad I did! They have the loveliest programs this year. The tango is hot and sharp, and the free dance is everything a La La Land program should be. I’m very happy they got a bronze here.

Sinitsina/Katsalapov:

I wish I could say I was sad when Nikita epically fell on the twizzles in the short dance and Victoria stumbled out of surprise. But I’m just really not a fan of his attitude and I’m not sorry. After “Jack fell down and broke his crown, and Jill cane tumbling after”, they managed to deliver a technically excellent free dance, but the program really doesn’t work for me. I’m sorry. It’s boring until the last 60 seconds.

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Best moment: Sofia’s reaction to her clean free skate makes me so happy.

Best dressed: Gabriella Papadakis’ rhythm dance dress is stunning!

Crush of the event: Mr. Guillaume Cizeron, would you please bring back that black tank top you wore for the short dance last year and wear it for every program? Thank you.

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I would love to keep rambling, but I am a Girl with a Life and right now I need to do homework. Until next time, happy skating, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

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