Russian figure skater Maksim Kovtun rallied from sixth place after the short program to win Trophee Bompard on Saturday and qualify for the Grand Prix Final in Barcelona in three weeks.
Kovtun landed two quadruple jumps in his free skate, totaling 243.35 points overall. He passed five men who scored higher in the short program. Four of those five fell in their free skates, unlike Kovtun.
Kovtun’s sixth-to-first jump was the biggest men’s winning rally in a Grand Prix event since Swiss Stephane Lambiel took 2006 Skate Canada after placing seventh in the short program.
On Saturday, Japan’s Tatsuki Machida took second with 237.74, followed by Kazakh Denis Ten with 236.38. The top American was Adam Rippon in fifth.
Kovtun, 19, won last season’s Russian Championships but was passed over for Russia’s lone Olympic spot for then-three-time Olympic medalist Yevgeny Plushenko.
Kovtun is the only man to win multiple events through five of six Grand Prix competitions this season. He, Machida and Spain’s Javier Fernandez have qualified for the Grand Prix Final with one event left next week, NHK Trophy.
The Grand Prix Final is the biggest annual international competition outside the World Championships, taking the top six skaters/couples per discipline over the six-event Grand Prix series.
It’s unlikely that a U.S. man will scoop one of those last three spots in the Grand Prix Final (scroll down for scenarios). A U.S. man didn’t qualify for either of the last two Grand Prix Finals. At no other point in the 20-year history of the series have U.S. men gone back-to-back years shut out of the Grand Prix Final.
NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra will air Trophee Bompard coverage Sunday from 4-6 p.m. ET.
Trophee Bompard men’s results
1. Maksim Kovtun (RUS) — 243.35
2. Tatsuki Machida (JPN) — 237.74
3. Denis Ten (KAZ) — 236.28
5. Adam Rippon (USA) — 225.42
7. Richard Dornbush (USA) — 219.27
10. Doug Razzano (USA) — 194.24
Leaders in Grand Prix season
1. Tatsuki Machida (JPN) — 269.09 (Skate America)
2. Javier Fernandez (ESP) — 265.01 (Rostelecom Cup)
3. Takahito Mura (JPN) — 255.81 (Skate Canada)
4. Sergey Voronov (RUS) — 252 (Rostelecom Cup)
5. Javier Fernandez (ESP) — 244.87 (Skate Canada)
6. Maksim Kovtun (RUS) — 243.35 (Trophee Bompard)
7. Maksim Kovtun (RUS) — 243.34 (Cup of China)
8. Michal Brezina (CZE) — 241.23 (Rostelecom Cup)
9. Misha Ge (UZB) — 238.05 (Rostelecom Cup)
10. Tatsuki Machida (JPN) — 237.74 (Trophee Bompard)
11. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) — 237.55 (Cup of China)
Olympic silver medalist Patrick Chan not competing in Grand Prixs.
U.S. leaders in Grand Prix season
1. Jason Brown — 235.56 (Rostelecom Cup)
2. Jason Brown — 234.17 (Skate America)
3. Max Aaron — 231.77 (Skate Canada)
4. Stephen Carriere — 231.67 (Skate Canada)
5. Richard Dornbush — 226.73 (Cup of China)
6. Adam Rippon — 225.42 (Trophee Bompard)
7. Jeremy Abbott — 219.33 (Skate America)
Grand Prix Final qualifiers
1. Maksim Kovtun (RUS)
2. Javier Fernandez (ESP)
3. Tatsuki Machida (JPN)
Fighting for last three Grand Prix Final spots
1. Takahito Mura (JPN)
2. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN)
3. Sergey Voronov (RUS)
4. Jason Brown (USA)
5. Jeremy Abbott (USA)
Mura, Hanyu and Voronov will make the Grand Prix Final if they finish in the top three at NHK Trophy next week.
Jason Brown is currently in fourth place in the Grand Prix standings and not competing at NHK Trophy. His best shot at the Grand Prix Final is if Hanyu withdraws before NHK Trophy due to his Cup of China injuries, or if Voronov finishes fifth or worse at NHK Trophy.
Jeremy Abbott can make the Grand Prix Final if he wins NHK Trophy and gets some help from Mura, Hanyu or Voronov performing poorly, or if he finishes second and gets a lot of help from Mura, Hanyu and Voronov.