Rostelecom Cup: what has just happened in Moscow?

Well, I’m not a judge, but if you ask me, I’d have the Canadians Weaver and Poje above the home crowd favorites, Bobrova and Soloviev, in the ice dancing event at Rostelecom Cup. I haven’t understood the Canadians’ scores after the short dance (61.50 points – almost ten points down from Skate Canada), nor have I understood their final placement after the free. Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje skated a brilliant long program in Moscow – but even with an important mistake in their routine, Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev still won the gold.

by Florentina Tone

Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev are the winners of the gold medal at 2013 Europeans in Zagreb

Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev are the winners of the gold medal at 2013 Europeans in Zagreb

What do you say after that? Jeffrey Buttle tweeted: “Skating cannot afford this kind of judging. Epic fail at Cup of Russia. Is a medal for your country worth the demise of the entire figure skating world?”. Well, I wouldn’t go that far, bringing politics into the subject – but others did just that, already asking themselves about figure skating at the Olympic Games, next year, in Sochi-Russia. On facebook, Jenny Kirk and Dave Lease from The Skating Lesson were categorical as regards the Canadians’ free program: “People love this dance. Does it even matter how they skate given the politics on display this weekend? Is it over for the non-Russian bronze medal contenders?”

One thing is sure: this particular result in the ice dancing event was followed by a chorus of questions and disappointment – and opened the Pandora’s box; a figure-skating Cold War is on the verge of bursting (and questions have been asked about the results of other Russian figure skaters too at the final Grand Prix in Moscow…)

I’ll say just that: Ekaterina and Dmitri have definitely improved their free program since Cup of China. Their power and speed across the ice are just tremendous; a force to be reckoned with. The first part of their free dance was skated on the edge of disaster, no time to breath, no time to rest for those two frightened birds on the point of being shot. You could almost sense something dramatic was about to happen; and it did: Ekaterina lost control of her body and fell, just like a bird touched by the bullet. And, in a way, you might have felt this was a part of their program too. But it wasn’t. And given the previous performance, the exquisite tango program skated by Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, the first place awarded to the Russians was a little bit strange – to say the least.

As for me, at the end of the Canadians’ routine, that wonderful free skating on “Maria de Buenos Aires”, I felt the urge of standing up and applauding them in front of the TV. For me, Kaitlyn and Andrew were even more convincing now than in Skate Canada, where they received 175.23 points (comparing to 163.14 points in Russia). The Canadians were indeed the highlight of the ice dancing event in Moscow, with an emotional performance that I could watch a thousand times. I just hope things will normalize in Fukuoka, at the beginning of December: unattached to national bias (at least, in the ice dancing event), the Grand Prix Final will hopefully manage to provide an accurate ranking of the ice dancers fighting for medals in Sochi.

Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje at 2012 Worlds, when they were very close to winning the bronze medal

Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje at 2012 Worlds, when they were very close to winning the bronze medal