Alexandra Trusova continued her dominant form during the opening event of the Cup of Russia series.
The 17-year-old leads the way after the short program with a 74.53, ahead of 2020 world silver medallist Elizaveta Tuktamysheva with 70.66.
The small town of Syzran became the centre of the figure skating world on Thursday (23 September) with the two stars dazzling the local crowd.
The level of media attention was unprecedented after most international figure skating competitions were cancelled last season due to the pandemic. This year, the competition is taking place with strict COVID-19 protocols and very few spectators at the Ice Arena.
In recent times, Trusova has had a very busy calendar.
The 17-year-old began her Olympic season with a schedule filled with cross-Atlantic travel and time zone changes. Only days ago, she made history with her five quads at the Russian test skates event in Chelyabinsk.
Last weekend, she won the US International Classic at the Skating Club of Boston. Today, her short program captivated the Syzran Ice Arena.
It may be a different hemisphere, the list of competitors may have changed but one thing remains the same: Trusova’s dominance on the ice.
The day’s biggest question was whether she would finally land the triple axel she has been unsuccessfully attempting since the beginning of the season. However, as she did at Russia’s test skates in Chelyabinsk and in Boston, Trusova fell while attempting the element. However, her triple flip and triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination saw her vault into the lead at the end of the short program.
However, with the Olympic Games in Beijing in sight, Trusova’s team will continue to attempt to master the element. After her win in Boston, she confirmed that she had a long-term plan in place ahead of the Games.
"The long-awaited season is now open,” she said. “There may have been mistakes at this competition, but this is just the start of the season. Thanks to everybody who patiently helps me get closer to my goal."
The 2021 world silver medallist Tuktamysheva landed an impeccable triple axel but struggled with the triple flip. It put her in second place after the short program.
Both women will resume competition with the free skate program tomorrow (Friday 24 September) at 13:45 pm local time in Syzran.