Russian ice dancers live up to golden expectations

Russia took the top two spots in Monday’s free dance to claim a 1-2 in the overall ice dance rankings, confirming their standing as the in-form figure skating team at the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games.

Picture by OIS

Irina Khavronina and Dario Cirisano secured the gold medal, with teammates Sofya Tyutyunina and Alexander Shustitskiy taking silver. Katarina Wolfkostin and Jeffrey Chen of the United States placed third.

It means Russians have taken six of the nine figure skating medals available at Lausanne 2020 so far, and two of the three golds up for grabs.  

Khavronina and Cirisano went into Monday’s free dance as leaders following Saturday’s rhythm dance segment and performed brilliantly to earn a combined winning score of 164.63.

Despite their lead, the duo had been far from happy with how they performed in the rhythm dance. “We can do better,” Khavronina had said as she left the Lausanne Skating Arena on Saturday.

Figure skating Lausanne 2020
Picture by OIS/OIC

And her review of Monday’s performance? “Today, yes, we did better,” the 15-year-old said, smiling as she was reminded of her earlier statement. “We showed more emotion. I did my twizzles better. I hope everyone enjoyed it.”

Khavronina and Cirisano both live in Moscow and have been skating together for two years. The pair live with their families, meeting up for training six days a week.

Cirisano was confident that news of their gold medal would have already reached home. “My friends and family have all been watching the Games online, so I won’t have to tell them we have won the gold medal,” he said. “When I turn on the phone it will be them contacting me to share this moment. We are very happy.”

Silver medallists Tyutyunina and Shustitskiy also hail from Moscow. They started Monday ranked second and again achieved the day’s second-best score for their free dance.

Figure skating Lausanne 2020
Picture by OIS/IOC

The duo enjoyed the special atmosphere created by the hundreds of local primary school children who made up a sizeable section of the crowd.

“It’s very special for us,” Tyutyunina said. “Today, before we even got to the arena, we were being asked for our autographs by the children. That was a lot of fun.”

Bronze medallists Chen and Wolfkostin improved on their fifth place in the rhythm dance.

Figure skating Lausanne 2020
Picture by OIS/IOC

“It’s been a great experience going to the Youth Olympic Village and being surrounded by so many good athletes and competing here and having this super energetic crowd,” said Chen.

Japan’s Yoshida Utana and Nishiyama Shingo, a popular pair with a large social media fan base, placed sixth.