THE OLYMPIC SEASON IN PHOTOS. Women at 2021 Finlandia Trophy. In focus: Russia’s Kamila Valieva

Kamila Valieva putting a spell on us at 2021 Finlandia Trophy

At 2006 Olympics in Torino, Russia was winning three of the four gold medals on the table, through Evgeni Plushenko in the men’s event, Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin in pairs, Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov in ice dance.

You know what else happened in 2006 – that now has a strong bond to the upcoming Olympics in Beijing?

Future figure skater Kamila Valieva, of Tatar descent, was born in Kazan, Russia – and now, at 15 years of age, she is the heavy favorite to win the gold in the women’s event at 2022 Olympics.

She has been considered the favorite for a while now – and presented as such by Russian and worldwide media: we’ve been familiar with her name, her qualities and skating feats since junior years. Kamila was a wunderkind – and, in her last junior season [2020-2021], she already received what was meant to be her Olympic free skate music: the famous, trademark Bolero by Ravel.

And so she carries a lot of expectations on her shoulders – but only seems to thrive under the pressure: Kamila made her international senior debut at 2021 Finlandia Trophy, which she won, she won 2021 Skate Canada, 2021 Rostelecom Cup, won the Russian title in December and, just recently, was crowned as European champion. She won all her events so far this season: a golden debutante taking it all, breaking all records in the process.

20 days before Beijing, she is the world record holder for the women’s short program, free skating and total scores.


2021 Finlandia Trophy was Kamila Valieva’s first senior (international) competition – we’re starting from here, we’re starting from her, and tell you the story of the women’s event in Espoo through lots and lots of spectacular pictures taken by our photographer in place.

Enjoy – and come back to this photo-story after the Olympics as well. You’ll want to know/rewatch how Kamila Valieva’s Olympic Season started.

2021 Finlandia Trophy
October 7-10, 2021
Espoo, Finland

Gold: Kamila Valieva, Russia
Silver: Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, Russia
Bronze: Alena Kostornaia, USA

4th: Loena Hendrikx, Belgiumm
5th: Anastasia Gubanova, Georgia
6th: Karen Chen, USA
7th: Eva-Lotta Kiibus, Estonia
8th: Viktoriia Safonova, Belarus
9th: Madeline Schizas, Canada
10th: Amber Glenn, USA

12th: Jenni Saarinen, Finland
13th: Josefin Taljegard, Sweden

16th: Kailani Craine, Australia

It was an all-Russian podium in the women’s event in Espoo

In her short program this season, Kamila Valieva skates to “In Memoriam” by Kirill Richter

Determined eyes on the triple Axel, one of Kamila’s aces up the sleeve this season

Alongside coach and choreographer Daniil Gleikhengauz in the Kiss and Cry

For the free skate, the musical choice has been made a while ago – Bolero by Maurice Ravel; this is already Kamila’s second season skating to it, with the purpose of growing more and more into the program, the emotions, the details of it.

That’s how the Olympic Season started for Kamila Valieva: with a gold medal in Espoo, at 2021 Finlandia Trophy

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva blowing us a kiss at the start of her tango short program this season, to “Oblivion” by Astor Piazzolla

Happy Elizaveta in the Kiss and Cry alongside Tatiana Prokofieva and Alexei Mishin; she won this particular segment of the women’s event.

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva taking the ice for her Arabian long program, lots of layers, lots of details, lots of smiles

Once again arms in the air, a happy team, in the Kiss and Cry

Elizaveta won the silver medal in Espoo – what a start of the season for her as well

2021 Finlandia Trophy was Alena Kostornaia’s first international assignment this season – and fans were eager to see the comeback of this wonderfully talented skater who had won the trophy in Espoo two years prior. In October 2021, Alena debuted a short program to “Am I The One” by Beth Hart, which will be subsequently replaced.

Wearing an exquisite dress, Alena skated to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in Espoo – Summer and Winter, as her free skate; the long program would subsequently change to “Lovely” by Billie Eilish.

Loena Hendrickx hugs her brother and coach Jorik before taking the ice for her short program in Espoo. Loena finished 2021 Finlandia Trophy on the 4th place.

Spinning her way into the “Caruso” short program

“Andromeda”, “Spirits”, “Lost Desert”, “Arabian Night” – some of Loena’s musical choices for her free skate this season. Both programs have been choreographed by Adam Solya.

5th in Espoo: graceful Anastasia Gubanova, representing Georgia; she’s skating to “Une vie d’amour”, a short program choreographed by Alena Leonova.

Anastasia and her coach Evgeni Rukavicin in Espoo, at 2021 Finlandia Trophy, prior to her free skate

Karen Chen finished 2021 Finlandia Trophy on the 6th place; there you have her skating her short program to music from the movie “La califfa”; later in the season, she would change her SP to “Requiem for a Dream”.

What a stunning musical choice for Karen Chen’s free skate: Butterfly Lovers’ Violin Concerto, a program choreographed by Pasquale Camerlengo and Karen herself

Estonia’s Eva-Lotta Kiibus has a great set of programs this season: there you have her dancing the Brazilian-short one, to “Baianá” by Barbatuques, choreographed by Benoît Richaud

The free skate has been also choreographed by Benoît Richaud, to songs by Lady Gaga: “Shallow” and “I’ll Never Love Again”. Eva-Lotta finished the event in Espoo on the 7th place.

9th in Espoo: Canada’s Madeline Schizas. For her short program music, she has chosen “Dulcea şi tandra mea fiară” by Eugen Doga şi Cătălina Cărăuş, choreo. by Asher Hill.

While for the free skate, choreographed by Lance Vipond, Madeline is skating to music from “Madama Butterfly” by Giacomo Puccini

Finland’s Jenni Saarinen is such a joy to watch. She skates to Debussy’s Clair de Lune in the short…

…while for the free, she has chosen Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto no. 2. Jenni finished the event in Espoo on the 12th place.

Ready or not, Josefin Taljegard will catch your attention and run away with it – her short program music is exactly that, “Ready or Not, Here I Come”.

In the free, Josefin skates to music from the movie “The Joker”. She finished 2021 Finlandia Trophy on the 13th place.

Australia’s Kailani Crane skates to “Heart of Glass” by Blondie in her short program this season

Her free skate is set to “Gangsta’s Paradise”, hence the mood, the attitude. Kailani finished 2021 Finlandia Trophy on the 16th place.

Bonus-photos. How many photos so far? We didn’t actually count them – and we’re showing a couple more, from the press conference. The medalists are smiling, laughing even – and that’s the best way to end a competition.

Featuring Alena Kostornaia, Kamila Valieva, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva.

[Intro and selection of photos by Florentina Tone/photos by Askar Ibragimov, Espoo]

TO FOLLOW: Ice dancing event at 2021 Finlandia Trophy