Yelizaveta Tuktamysheva upsets teens for Rostelecom Cup title

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva
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Yelizaveta Tuktamysheva, a 23-year-old who won the 2015 World title, ended a year-plus streak of international titles for young Russian teens at the Rostelecom Cup on Saturday.

Tuktamysheva landed a pair of triple Axels in the free skate and rallied past the world’s top skater, 17-year-old Aliona Kostornaya, at the Grand Prix Series event in Moscow.

She became the oldest woman to win Rostelecom Cup, often a showcase for Russia’s top woman, since 2012, before the nation began a run of seven straight seasons with the world’s top skater.

Last year, Kostornaya and then-15-year-olds Aleksandra Trusova and Anna Shcherbakova, who can land quadruple jumps, swept every major title.

They vaulted past Tuktamysheva, plus Olympic gold and silver medalists Alina Zagitova and Yevgenia Medvedeva, as favorites to make up Russia’s three-woman team for the 2022 Beijing Winter Games.

Tuktamysheva crashed the party for at least one competition this week, prevailing by 2.61 points.

“It was a nice surprise,” Tuktamysheva said, according to the International Skating Union.

Kostornaya, the short program leader, didn’t attempt a triple Axel in either program, after incorporating it all last season. She finished second for the first time internationally since the 2018 World Junior Championships.

“Obviously you need jumps like the triple Axel and quads to compete at the highest level, so it is in my plans, and I’m working towards that,” Kostornaya said.

Trusova fell four times in Saturday’s free skate, including three times on quad attempts. She finished fourth.

Shcherbakova withdrew on the morning of Friday’s short program with reported pneumonia.

Full Rostelecom Cup results are here. All of the top Russian women, except the on-an-indefinite-break Zagitova, are expected to skate at the national championships in one month.

Earlier, 2018 World bronze medalist Mikhail Kolyada won the men’s competition, jumping from third after the short program with a pair of quads in his free skate. Kolyada, a 25-year-old who placed eighth at the PyeongChang Olympics, missed last season due to sinusitis.

In pairs, Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitriy Kozlovskiy rallied past short-program leaders Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov to win by 6.76.

Boikova and Kozlovskiy, the reigning European champions, and Mishina and Galliamov, 2019 Grand Prix Final bronze medalists, are among the top challengers to Chinese Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, who are undefeated in this Olympic cycle while dealing with injuries.

Russia’s top ice dance couple, Victoriya Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov, comfortably won by 10.6 with the top scores in the rhythm dance and free dance.

The Grand Prix Series concludes with NHK Trophy in Japan next weekend. A full figure skating season TV schedule is here.

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