FIGURE SKATING: Hanyu and Zagitova good as gold in Helsinki

2014 and 2018 Olympic Champion Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN)

The 2018 Olympic champions, Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) and Alina Zagitova (RUS), looked the part once again at the ISU Grand Prix of Helsinki with dominating performances.

Hanyu executed four quadruple jumps, including an impressive quad toe-triple axel combination on the way to winning the Free Skate, 190.43-164.67 over Michal Brezina (CZE), who finished second overall. “Actually I was fighting my condition, as it was not so good before I came here and after I came here,” Hanyu said. “But I beat myself. Although the quad loop and quad toe were not perfect, I am pleased I was able to stay on my feet.

“I was trying hard to do the quad toe-triple Axel without a hop in between and when I’m fresh I felt the confidence I can do it.” His final margin of victory was 297.12-257.98.

Zagitova, still only 16, won easily, but wasn’t all that happy with her performances, especially in the Short Program. She led by more than five points heading into the Free Skate, then scored 146.39 to win that segment and total 215.29, well ahead of Stanislava Konstantinova (RUS), who scored 197.57.

“I did not quite have the focus I usually have and I took a long time to put the short program behind me. I analyzed it for a long time, almost all night long. When I got up, I told myself that I have to skate well in the free to please the spectators.”

Russia’s Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert – fourth at the 2018 World Championships – figured to be the class of the Pairs event and won by almost 13 points over Italy’s Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise.

The Ice Dance was much closer, but Russia got its third win of the event with Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin winning both the Short Dance and Free Dance to edge Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri (ITA) by 200.09-196.29.

Prize money was as usual for the Grand Prix: $18,000-13,000-9,000-3,000-2,000 for the top five place winners in all divisions. Summaries:

ISU Grand Prix/Grand Prix of Helsinki
Helsinki (FIN) ~ 2-4 November 2018
(Full results here)

Men: 1. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN), 297.12 (1+1); 2. Michal Brezina (CZE), 257.98 (2+2); 3. Junhwan Cha (KOR), 243.19 (4+3); 4. Mikhail Kolyada (RUS), 238.79 (6+4); 5. Boyang Jin (CHN), 227.28 ((3+5). Also: 7. Alexei Krasnozhon (USA), 211.03 (8+6).

Women: 1. Alina Zagitova (RUS), 215.29 (1+1); 2. Stanislava Konstantinova (RUS), 197.57 (4+3); 3. Kaori Sakamoto (JPN), 7+2; 4. Yuna Shiraiwa (JPN), 191.46 (2+5); 5. Loena Hendrickx (BEL), 191.22 (3+4). Also: 11. Angela Wang (USA), 149.57 (9+11).

Pairs: 1. Natalia Zabiiako/Alexander Enbert (RUS), 198.51 (2+1); 2. Nicole Della Monica/Matteo Guarise (ITA), 185.77 (1+3); 3. Daria Pavliuchenko/Denis Khodykin (RUS), 185.61 (3+2); 4. Miriam Ziegler/Severin Kiefer (AUT), 174.81 (4+5); 5. Tae Ok Ryom/Ju Sik Kim (PRK), 174.24 (5+4). Also: 6. Deanna Stellato-Dudek/Nathan Bartholomay (USA), 159.21 (6+6).

Ice Dance: 1. Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin (RUS), 200.09 (1+1); 2. Charlene Guignard/Marco Fabbri (ITA), 196.29 (2+2); 3. Lorraine McNamara/Quinn Carpenter (USA), 176.66 (3+4); 4. Sara Hurtado/Kirill Khaliavin (ESP), 172.09 (5+3); 5. Christina Carreira/Anthony Ponomarenko (USA), 167.28 (4+5).