FIGURE SKATING: Hanyu & Zagitova win easily; Gold stuggles in Rostelecom Cup

2014 and 2018 Olympic Champion Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN)

The Rostelecom Cup in Moscow (RUS) featured the reigning Olympic champions and both Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN; pictured) and Alina Zagitova (RUS) won easily, sending both to the Grand Prix Final in Vancouver next month.

Hanyu scored an impressive 110.53 points to lead the Short Program by more than 20 points over Georgia’s Morisi Kvitelashvili, but then suffered an ankle injury in his morning workout before the Free Skate.

“The injury is not the same as last year, but it is very painful and it forced me to change my program. I wanted to skate perfectly in Russia – too bad that it was not possible. I did what I could do considering my condition. I thought about withdrawing because of the injury, but it is my choice. I really wanted to skate this program in Russia.”

Hanyu had a fall, but won the Free Skate, but only by 167.89-158.64 over Kvitelashvili, and had a final edge of 278.42-248.58.

Zagitova had no such drama and although she criticized her own skating as less than perfect, she still won easily over fellow Russian Sofia Samodurova, 222.95-198.01.

Returning Olympic medalist Gracie Gold of the U.S. had a rough time. She finished 10th and last in the Short Program, scoring 37.51 points. She shared her disappointment on Twitter: “Guys … I just remembered today that competing is hard.”

She then withdrew from the Free Skate, sharing her feelings on Twitter in a three-part message:

“I’m heartbroken to withdraw from tonight’s free skate. It was a difficult decision to make, but ultimately I need to put my mental health first and focus on the big picture. Looking forward, I need to keep improving both my physical and mental condition … (part 1)

“I thought checking into treatment last fall was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, but skating my short program last night might have topped it. I do not want to undo the tremendous progress I’ve made in these last few months (part 2)

“and I feel that competing the free skate would be damaging to both my confidence and mental health going into Nationals. I thank you all for your support, and I am so sorry if I have let you guys down. This is just the start for me, and I know that greater things are yet to come”

Russians duos won both the Pairs and Ice Dance, with Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov winning in Pairs by more than 16 points. Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin won by 25.01 points in the Ice Dance event. Summaries:

ISU Grand Prix/Rostelecom Cup
Moscow (RUS) ~ 16-18 November 2018
(Full results here)

Men: 1. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN), 278.42 (1+1); 2. Morisi Kvitelashvili (GEO), 248.58; 3. Kazuki Tomono (JPN), 238.73 (4+3); 4. Mikhail Kolyada (RUS), 225.42 (8+4); 5. Keegan Messing (CAN), 220.75 (7+6). Also: 8. Alexei Krasnozhon (USA), 208.01 (6+8).

Women: 1. Alina Zagitova (RUS), 222.95 (1+1); 2. Sofia Samodurova (RUS), 198.01 (2+2); 3. Eunsoo Lim (KOR), 185.67 (6+3); 4. Alexia Paganini (SUI), 182.50 (3+5); 5. Yuna Shiraiwa (JPN), 180.93 (5+4).

Pairs: 1. Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov (RUS), 220.25 (1+1); 2. Nicole Della Monica/Matteo Guarise (ITA), 203.83 (2+2); 3. Daria Pavliuchenko/Denis Khodykin (RUS), 190.01 (3+4); 4. Miriam Ziegler/Severin Kiefer (AUT), 187.01 (5+3); 5. Alisa Efimova/Alexander Korovin (RUS), 181.62 (4+5). Also: 6. Ashley Cain/Timothy LeDuc (USA), 170.29 (7+6).

Ice Dance: 1. Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin (RUS), 199.43 (1+1); 2. Sara Hurtado/Kirill Khaliavin (ESP), 174.42 (3+2); 3. Christina Carreira/Anthony Ponomarenko (USA), 174.21 (2+3); 4. Sofia Evdokimova/Egor Bazin (RUS), 164.66 (6+4); 5. Natalia Kaliszek/Maksym Spodyriev (POL), 161.62 (4+5).