Figure skating champs Zagitova and Medvedeva return to the ice
Russian test skate provided pair's first meeting since PyeongChang 2018.
Alina Zagitova fell twice while presenting her new free skate program to the Russian public for the first time.
She brushed off the falls at the national test skate in Moscow, attributing them to feeling nervous in her new status as reigning Olympic champion.
It was a chance for Russia's top skaters, including 2017 world champion Evgenia Medvedeva, to prepare for the new season in front of a crowd but without the pressure of competition.
The skaters' short programs were held away from the public at the team's training camp in Novogorsk, but the free skate routines were open to spectators.
Zagitova will skate to Phantom of the Opera for her short programme this season, while her new free skate is set to Carmen, Georges Bizet's opera that was also famously the backdrop to the Calgary 1988 battle between Katarina Witt and Debi Thomas.
The 16-year-old revealed earlier that she would have done this routine last season, but it was felt she wasn't ready for it.
"I wasn't old enough," she said. "I had to grow up, not only age-wise but experience-wise. We decided to keep it and try it this year."
Zagitova is scheduled to compete at the Helsinki Grand Prix from 2–4 November and the Rostelecom Cup in Moscow two weeks later.
Former Soviet Union coach Tatyana Tarasova, who was in attendance at the test skate, said the teenager had put together good routines, but her skating needs work.
"You did both programmes well, both are great. But the sliding has disappeared for some reason," she told Gazeta.ru.
Back from Canada
Medvedeva attended the test skate with her new coach Brian Orser, with whom she now trains in Toronto.
It was the first time she has come face-to-face former coach Eteri Tutberidze since she split from the latter after the Olympics.
Tutberidze left the stands midway through Medvedeva's performance, Gazeta also reported.
Like her younger compatriot, Medvedeva also suffered a fall on her free skate, a tango to the music of Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla.
The fall left Medvedeva "disgusted" with herself, as she told media after the event that she had only performed to "20 per cent or even less than I can."
She added that she has only been able to work with Orser intensively for "a month and a half".
Despite the fall, Tarasova was positive about Medvedeva's programme.
"I like what you did with Brian Orser. I understand that you did not have much time to be together, but I already like it."
—Tatyana Tarasova on Evgenia Medvedeva
The young Russian later posted on social media to thank her fans for attending.
"You can’t imagine what kind of faith in myself you are giving me," she wrote.
"To be honest I was absolutely shocked by the amount of banners, words of support from tribunes and just words of your love. You are my eternal engine."
The 18-year-old's short programme for the forthcoming season is set to Nat King Cole's Orange Colored Sky.
She is due to compete at Skate Canada (26–28 Oct) and the Internationaux de France (23–25 Nov) Grands Prix this season.