Kamila Valieva breaks short program world record score again at European Championships

Valieva was ethereal in her routine as she broke the 90-point barrier, while world champ Anna Shcherbakova suffered an unexpected fall and sits fourth. Russians Mishina/ Galliamov won the pairs event.

By ZK Goh
Picture by Olympic Channel 2021

Can anyone stop Kamila Valieva? Not on this form.

The ethereal Russian, who already holds the world record scores in women's figure skating in both segments and overall, set a new short program mark on Thursday (13 January) at the European Figure Skating Championships in Tallinn, Estonia.

Valieva, still only 15 years old, became the first woman to break the 90-point barrier in the short program under the current judging system with a stunning routine.

It was quite the display from the youngster, who will be hot favourite for gold at the upcoming Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.

Valieva landed a brilliant triple Axel for her first jumping element, receiving a high grade of execution score of 3.54 (of a maximum of 5) from the judges. She followed that with a triple flip and a triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination, and was seemingly flawless on her spins and choreo elements too.

Her score of 90.45 points was more than three whole points ahead of her previous best.

She leads Loena Hendrickx of Belgium and her own Russian training mates Alexandra Trusova and Anna Shcherbakova after the short program.

"I really feel at home here and when I went out on the ice, I remembered the junior world championships two years ago and it was like I never left, everything was so harmonious so maybe it helped me," Valieva said of skating in the same arena in which she won world junior gold in 2020.

In the pairs event, Russia's Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov, the reigning world champions, continued the world record theme as well as their golden run this season, capturing the title behind a superb Georgi Sviridov medley free skate. Their 157.46 long program score gave them a total of 239.82.

Both the free skate and overall scores were records, as was their short program on Wednesday (12 January).

Compatriots Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov won the silver medal with an overall score of 236.43.

Hendrickx made the most of falls by Trusova and Shcherbakova to skate her way into second place with a huge new personal best of her own.

The Belgian, who won her first Grand Prix medal earlier this season with bronze at the Gran Premio d'Italia in Turin, looked sharp out on ice.

While she did not have the jumping power of Valieva – it seems no one does at the moment – landing a double Axel rather than a triple, there was little to fault in her routine.

Upon seeing her mark of 76.25 points, bettering her old best of 73.52 which was set in Turin, Hendrickx and her brother and coach Jorik embraced, with Loena crying in shock.

"I feel like Kamila is too good for me, but I just do my best skating and try my best," Hendrickx said.

Trusova sits in third place despite falling on an attempted triple Axel to open her routine.

That is a jump Trusova normally struggles on and it appeared surprising that she attempted it over the double Axel, but she recovered well to land a triple flip as well as her planned jump combination, a triple Lutz-triple toe loop.

Trusova, with her hair dyed red and wearing a red-coloured dress, had a wry smile on her face at the end of her performance, perhaps rueing her mistake.

Her score of 75.13 points was enough for second but is well behind Valieva's mark.

"I'm upset I missed the Axel but everything else was fine," Trusova said. "I need to land the Axel [to catch Valieva]," she added.

But that mistake paled in comparison to her teammate Shcherbakova's, the world champion failing to complete her combination.

The 17-year-old opened cleanly with a double Axel followed by a triple flip, but when the time came for her planned jump combo, Shcherbakova fell on landing the first element, a triple Lutz.

She looked devastated waiting in the kiss and cry, perhaps worried at what that fall might mean for her ROC Olympic aspirations.

A strong program components (performance) score was still enough to boost her total to 69.05, but outside of the small medal positions for the short program.

Pairs: Mishina/Galliamov lead Russian podium sweep

The golden streak continues for the reigning world champs Mishina/Galliamov, their 239.82 their best ever score - and best score of any team so far this season by some 10 points. 

They were strong in opening a side-by-side triple Salchow-Euler-triple Salchow combination, then went from strength to strength in a program that looks Olympic ready for next month's Games.

Mishina/Galliamov - once they are named to the ROC team - are likely to go head-to-head with host China's Sui Wenjing and Han Cong for the gold medal.

Tarasova/Morozov, champions at Europeans in 2017 and 2018, had an early mistake as Tarasova put her hand down to stay up on side-by-side triple Salchows. But the duo recovered from there, hitting element after element, including a massive triple twist lift which received a Level 4 (the highest) and a +2.83 Grade of Execution (GOE).

The bronze was captured by another Russian duo in Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii, who were particularly impressive in their free skate following struggles in the short. They scored a 227.23 to easily put them in third place.

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