Winners of the overall pairs competition pose with their medals on the podium at the European Figure Skating Championships in ZagrebWinners of the overall pairs competition pose with their medals on the podium at the European Figure Skating Championships in Zagreb, January 24, 2013. Seen are from (L-R) silver medallists Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany, gold medallists Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov and bronze medallists Stefania Berton and Ondrej Hotarek of Italy. (REUTERS/Antonio Bronic)

Courtesy of isu.org

The 2013 ISU European Figure Skating Championships continued in Zagreb, Croatia on Thursday with the Men’s Short Program and the Pairs Free Skating.

Florent Amodio (FRA) tops Men Short Program

Florent Amodio of France won the Men’s Short Program followed by Spain’s Javier Fernandez and teammate Brian Joubert. All three Men posted a new seasons best score.

Performing to “Memories of Sobral”, by Sebastien Damiani, Amodio hit a quad Salchow, triple Axel and a triple Lutz-triple toe combination in the second half of his program. The 2011 European Champion earned a level four for the change sit spin and scored 89.82 points. “I was very focused. I didn’t have good short programs in the beginning of the season and I really wanted to start well into this competition”, Amodio told the press. “(Coach) Nikolai(Morozov) did a huge work with me (after Nationals). After skating this program I know what I can do. I know that it is possible for me to be in first place. I’ll go with this feeling into the free skating on Saturday”, he added.

Fernandez produced a quadruple Salchow, triple Axel, a triple Lutz-double toe combination and three level-four spins in his routine to “The Mask of Zorro” to pick up 88.80 points. “This is the first time in Europeans and here in Zagreb that I got a small medal so I am so glad. Every year I go higher and higher. The focus in the next couple of days is to try to be on the podium in the Free Program too”, the Spanish Champion said.

Joubert landed a quad-triple toe combination but did a three-turn out of the first jump. He went on to reel off a triple Axel, triple Lutz in his program set to “Genesis” and “Aerodynamic” by Daft Punk. The Frenchman earned 83.93 points. “I am very happy with my performance today. I am pleased I did the quad. Maybe I lacked confidence in the beginning of the program, but it went well. I am at the point in my career when I don’t think about the results, the points. I just go on to the ice to fight”, the three-time European Champion commented.

Michal Brezina (CZE) finished fourth at 79.84 points. Sergei Voronov (RUS) came fifth with 78.38 points ahead of defending European Champion Evgeni Plushenko (RUS) who fell on a triple Axel (74.82 points). Plushenko withdrew following the Short Program due to an aggravation of his chronic back condition.

Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov (RUS) skate to Pairs gold

Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov of Russia skated to the Pairs gold. Aliona Savchenko/Robin Szolkowy of Germany took the silver medal and Stefania Berton/Ondrej Hotarek claimed a historic first Pair skating medal for Italy, the bronze.

Volosozhar/Trankov opened their program to “Violin Muse” with a triple twist and followed up with a side by side triple Salchow and a triple toe-double toe combination. They picked up a level four for six elements and the only errors came on the throw jumps when Volosozhar stumbled. The two-time World silver medalists earned a seasons best of 139.22 points and accumulated 212.45 points overall to defend their title. “We are very pleased we defended out European title and that we decided to compete here after all. Of course, we are not entirely happy with the performance, there were some mistakes. But overall, this is a good start for Russia at these Championships, the first gold medal and we hope our teammates will also do well”, Volosozhar commented.

Savchenko/Szolkowy’s routine to “Flamenco Bolero” was highlighted by a throw triple twist, a triple toe-triple toe sequence, and a triple twist as well as five level-four elements, but Savchenko fell on the side by side triple Salchow while he doubled. The Germans set a new seasons best with 135.03 points and totaled 205.24 points. WWe fought through it. I think the first half was strong, powerful, but then in the second half we run out of steam a little. But we went for everything. I should have done a triple Salchow, of course, then we really would have gone for everything. We know what we need to do. We didn’t try anything new, but we need to make sure that we get all the transitions in and that we can rise as the music is rising and getting faster”, Szolkowy commented.

Skating to “Poeta”, Berton/Hotarek completed a triple twist, triple toe-double toe-double toe combination, a throw triple loop and Salchow to earn 123.17 points, another seasons best. The Italians accumulated 187.45 points overall and remained in third place. “Today was one of the most difficult days for us. The pressure of coming from a third place in the Short Program was slowly getting to us. But somehow it worked out. We couldn’t be happier with the result and wining the first medal in Italian Pairs history”, Hotarek noted.

Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres (FRA) placed fourth at 178.81 points and Yuko Kavagut/Alexander Smirnov (RUS) finished fifth with 178.81 points. Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov (RUS) completed the top six with 167.23 points.

The ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2013 continue Friday with the Ladies Short Program and the Free Dance.