2019 Finlandia Trophy: the girl with the unicorns and the triple Axel

You’ll have to agree with us: Alena Kostornaia’s triple Axel is a beauty.

And Alena’s Axel, and her overall presence – a blend of power, elegance and grace (just look at the picture above) – has surely been the highlight of 2019 Finlandia Trophy.

The 16-year-old won the gold over last year’s winner, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (also with gorgeous triple Axel jumps in her arsenal), and she’s getting ready for her senior Grand Prix debut in Grenoble, at Internationaux de France.

What’s with the unicorns, you ask? Alena loves them – and so she received lots of them in Espoo.

In the men’s event, to the enjoyment of fans, and the enjoyment of skaters themselves, Japan’s Shoma Uno and Sota Yamamoto got to compete together, as in their junior years. They talked and smiled a lot during practices, press conferences, and they also shared the podium, with Shoma winning the gold, and Sota taking silver (anyone remembers the Junior Grand Prix Final in Barcelona, some years ago?). And, during the medal ceremony, Shoma was definitely the center of attention – fans screamed his name and fellow skaters made him stop for a picture or two.

Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov, the Master and Margarita, took the gold in the pairs event, in their first senior season, but Canada’s Liubov Ilyushechkina and Charlie Bilodeau were, in fact, the talk of the town: the new pair made its competitive debut at Finlandia Trophy, showed wonderful unison in their dance-like programs and introduced a spectacular lift that made our hearts beat a little faster.

Madison Chock and Evan Bates were too darn hot in Espoo – look at the pictures below, if you don’t trust us – and their gold medal was such a beautiful match to Madison’s snake dress in their Egyptian free dance this season.


This is the photo-story of this year’s edition of Finlandia Trophy – and while looking at the photos, remember this is also a preparation for the next Grand Prix event: all gold medalists in Espoo will take the ice of Patinoire Polesud in Grenoble at the end of this week.

Gold: Alena Kostornaia, Russia, 234.84 points
Silver: Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, Russia, 212.53 points
Bronze: Yuhana Yokoi, Japan, 191.90 points

1st: Alena Kostornaia

SP: Departure (Lullaby) from “The Leftovers” (soundtrack) by Max Richter, November by Max Richter
(choreo. by Daniil Gleikhengauz)
FS: The Meadow (from “New Moon” soundtrack) by Alexandre Desplat, Eyes on Fire (from “Twilight” soundtrack) by Blue Foundation, Supermassive Black Hole by Muse
(choreo. by Daniil Gleikhengauz)

Alongside Daniil Gleikhengauz in the Kiss and Cry after the short program

Lots of unicorns surround Alena in the Kiss and Cry. And she will surely remember 2019 Finlandia Tropy – as we will remember her glorious senior debut.

2nd: Elizaveta Tuktamysheva

SP: Drumming Song by Florence and the Machine
(choreo. by Shae-Lynn Bourne)
FS: Caravan performed by The Hot Sardines, Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen performed by The Hot Sardines
(choreo. by Tatiana Prokofieva, E. Grez)

Our favorite moment from Elizaveta’s short program this season

Alongside Tatiana Prokofieva and Alexei Mishin, after the short program

3rd: Yuhana Yokoi

SP: Ten Dark Women
(choreo. by Misao Sato)
FS: The Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber
(choreo. by Miho Kawaume, Akiko Suzuki)

Gold: Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov, Russia, 210.18 points
Silver: Alisa Efimova and Alexander Korovin, Russia, 194.28 points
Bronze: Liubov Ilyushechkina and Charlie Bilodeau, Canada, 193.58 points

1st: Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov

SP: Je suis malade by Lara Fabian
FS: The Master and Margarita (soundtrack) by Igor Korniliu

2nd: Alisa Efimova and Alexander Korovin

SP: Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
(choreo. by Elena Maselennikova, Alexander Stepin)
FS: The Sound of Silence peformed by Disturbed
(choreo. by Elena Maselennikova, Alexander Stepin)

With coach Oleg Vasiliev

Russian pairs, gold and silver in Espoo, at 2019 Finlandia Trophy

3rd: Liubov Ilyushechkina and Charlie Bilodeau

SP: My Funny Valentine performed by Michael Bublé
(choreo. by Marie-France Dubreuil and Guillaume Cizeron)
FS: Je voudrais voir la mer by Michel Rivard
(choreo. by Marie-France Dubreuil and Guillaume Cizeron)

A highly anticipated debut: Liubov Ilyushechkina and Charlie Bilodeau took the ice in Espoo and awed us with their programs, their partnership.

Liubov and Charlie, as the sea waves in Espoo

This lift is fabulous – dare to contradict us

First competition, first medal: bronze for Liubov and Charlie

We thought you might like this one too. Lift-variations in front of the camera.

Gold: Shoma Uno, Japan, 255.23 points
Silver: Sota Yamamoto, Japan, 223.24 points
Bronze: Roman Sadovsky, Canada, 222.23 points

1st: Shoma Uno

SP: Great Spirit by Armin van Buuren and Vini Vici feat. Hilight Tribe
(choreo. by Shae-Lynn Bourne)
FS: Our Life (Finale) performed by Brock Hewitt, Dancing on My Own performed by Callum Scott,
Your Last Kiss by Karl Hugo
(choreo. by David Wilson)

Shoma Uno may be alone in the Kiss and Cry, but he definitely feels the love and support of his fans – roses are here to prove it.

Alongside Pikachu

Smiling, laughing even during the press conference after the free skate

A young man, a medal and a flag

Running away with the gold medal in Espoo. Quite literally.

…and why not taking a picture? Alongside Alisa Efimova and Alexander Korovin.

…or a selfie? Shoma Uno and pair skater Aleksandr Galliamov at the end of medal ceremony.

2nd: Sota Yamamoto

SP: East of Eden by Lee Holdridge
(choreo. by Pasquale Camerlengo)
FS: In This Shirt by The Irrepressibles
(choreo. by Pasquale Camerlengo)

Sota received the traditional Moomin in Espoo – and a picture with it is more than suited, coach thinks

During the press conference after the free skate

Reunited. Shoma Uno and Sota Yamamoto got to share the same international competition, as they used to do in their junior years. And this encounter in particular, on and off the ice, and Sota’s performances have been some of the nicest, most emotional moments of 2019 Finlandia Trophy.

3rd: Roman Sadovsky

SP: Fly Me to the Moon performed by Chris Mann
(choreo. by David Wilson)
FS: Theme of Schindler’s List, Prelude in C-Sharp Minor, Hatikva performed by John Bayless
(choreo. by Mark Pillay)

Gold: Madison Chock and Evan Bates, USA, 198.26 points
Silver: Shiyue Wang and Xinyu Liu, China, 183.09 points
Bronze: Betina Popova and Sergey Mozgov, Russia, 175.24 points

Birds? Definitely. Golden and silver ice dancing birds in Espoo, at this year’s edition of Finlandia Trophy.

1st: Madison Chock and Evan Bates

RD: Too Darn Hot by Cole Porter
(choreo. by Marie-France Dubreuil and Sam Chouinard)
FD: Egyptian Snake Dance: Yearning by Raul Ferrando, Sahara Nights by DJ Quincy Ortiz,
Layali Al Sharq performed by Al-Ahram Orchestra
(choreo. by Marie-France Dubreuil and Sam Chouinard)

Happy team in Espoo: Madison, Evan and Romain Haguenauer.

2nd: Shiyue Wang and Xinyu Liu

RD: The Look-A-Like Contest by Christopher Curtis, Life Can Be Like the Movies,
Titine (from “Modern Times”) by Leo Daniderff
(choreo. by Marie-France Dubreuil, Romain Haguenauer)
FD: Nina’s Dream, Perfection, A Swan Is Born (from “Black Swan” soundtrack) by Clint Mansell
(choreo. by Marie-France Dubreuil, Romain Haguenauer)

Shiyue Wang and Xinyu Liu ran away with our attention in Espoo

3rd: Betina Popova and Sergey Mozgov

RD: Willkommen, Money Money, Mein Herr (from “Cabaret”)
FD: Bohemian Rhapsody by Freddie Mercury performed by Queen

All smiles: Betina, Sergey and coach Anjelika Krylova

No better time than the end of medal ceremony to take happy, joyous pictures: Betina and Sergey, alongside Alena and Elizaveta.


2018: Russian skaters, good as gold in Finlandia Trophy

2017 Finlandia Trophy: top men debuted their programs in Espoo

2017 Finlandia Trophy in Espoo: the blue dance, the blue dream

2017 Finlandia Trophy: beauty, strength, elegance on the ladies’ podium in Espoo

2017 Finlandia Trophy: the butterflies