Vanessa James, Morgan Ciprès: “the best possible start for the Europeans”

The French said that themselves, at the end of their short program, not really knowing they’ll be the overnight leaders in Moscow – Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov were still to skate at the time. But Vanessa and Morgan put out a strong, convincing performance in Moscow, to Ed Sheeran’s “Make It Rain” – one that was awarded 75.52 points.

by Florentina Tone

In the mixed zone, Vanessa will summarize the highs and the lows of their short program: “We are very happy with the skate. We were a little bit nervous. We’ve been doing great practices and great programs, but last year was our first medal. We have the Olympics in three weeks and those things have us a little stressed out. The program was a little hesitant, not the most liberated, but it was a clean program and we’re very proud of it”.

On second place, with 72.95 points, the soft, smooth “Summer of 42”, as brought to life by Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert. They’re such an elegant pair these two, fully commiting to the music, and their arms in the air, their ballet positions, one of the highlights of the pairs’ SP. “The program felt good and easy to skate”, Alexander will say in the mixed zone.

With their “Tango de Besame” marred by a fall, Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov finished the first day of Europeans on the the third place (72.05 points). But apart from that mistake, this was such a powerful, commanding performance: Ksenia in particular owned the music and the character, selling that tango to the fingertips. But she was clearly upset with her fall on the triple Toeloop: “We felt good in the program, in spite of my major mistake. It is a problem in my head. I need to think less and go out and just do it”.

On 4th place, with 71.89 points, the joyous interpretation of “Tu vuo’ fa’ l’americano” by Valentina Marchei and Ondrej Hotarek. We felt like dancing during their performance – the Italians embody their characters like no others. And Ondrej conducting the applause of the audience, during the death spiral? Priceless. They felt the support of people in Megasport Arena, Ondrej will say in the mixed zone: “We had so many people cheering for us already at practice so we felt at home. We felt we were obliged to perform well”.

Reigning European champions Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov are currently standing in fifth place (70.37 points) after a series of mistake during their Rachmaninov short program.

The pairs competition resumes today with the long program – at 19:05 local time.