Gold medallists Bobrova and Soloviev of Russia pose during the award ceremony for the ice dance competition at the European Figure Skating Championships in ZagrebGold medallists Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev of Russia pose during the award ceremony for the ice dance competition at the European Figure Skating Championships in Zagreb, January 25, 2013. (REUTERS/Antonio Bronic)

The 2013 ISU European Figure Skating Championships continued in Zagreb, Croatia on Friday with the Ladies Short Program and the Free Dance.

Adelina Sotnikova (RUS) grabs lead in Ladies Short Program

Adelina Sotnikova of Russia grabbed the lead in the Ladies Short Program. Italy’s Carolina Kostner and Valentina Marchei are currently sitting in second and third. 36 Ladies competed in the event and the top 24 advance to the Free Skating on Saturday.

Performing to “Capriccio Espagnol”, Sotnikova nailed a triple toe-triple toe combination, a triple flip, double Axel and earned a level four for all three spins and the footwork. The 2011 World Junior Champion set a new personal best for herself with 67.61 points. “I am very happy with my performance today. I did everything as planned and hopefully I’ll be able to skate as well tomorrow”, the 16-year-old said.

Kostner’s program to “Transylvanian Lullaby” and “Devil’s Trill” featured a triple loop, double Axel and three level-four elements, but she fell on the triple toe-triple toe combination. The reigning European and World Champion picked up 64.19 points. “Apart from the fall (on the triple toe-triple toe) it was alright, but of course I’m a bit angry with myself. Usually I am always nervous at competition, I’m not more nervous now than in the years when I competed at more competitions”, the Italian commented.

Marchei completed a triple Lutz-double toeloop, a triple Salchow and a double Axel in her routine to “Esperanza” by Maxime Rodriguez to achieve 58.22 points, a new personal best. “It was my first real clean short program this season. I’m very happy because it was very stressful going into it. I did exactly as I was doing in practice – nothing more and nothing less, exactly as planned”, the 26-year-old told the post-event press conference.

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS) remains within striking distance of the podium in fourth at 57.18 points. Sisters Joshi and Viktoria Helgesson (SWE) follow in fifth and sixth with 55.04 and 54.77 points respectively.

Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev (RUS) dance to gold

Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev of Russia danced to the gold medal, edging out their teammates Elena Ilinykh/Nikita Katsalapov by just 0.11 points. Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte of Italy claimed the bronze medal.

Bobrova/Soloviev produced a strong performance to “The Man With the Harmonica” and “Tosca” that featured innovative lifts and smooth footwork. The Russian Champions earned a level four for the lifts, the spin and the twizzles to score a new seasons best of 99.83 points. They were ranked second in the Free Dance but remained in first place at 169.25 points.” It was not perfect and we did not show everything we can do – the diagonal step sequence only got a level 2 – but nonetheless it was a season’s best for us”, Bobrova said. “I haven’t quite realized it yet. We honestly didn’t think about how our chances are to win, this would have only disturbed us. It was good for us to skate first in the group, we went right out to skate without thinking”, she added. It was the first European title for the couple that had finished second in the past two years.

Ilinykh/Katsalapov put out an excellent performance of their Free Dance to “Ghost” as well, completing six level-four elements. The Muscovites won the Free Dance portion with 99.83 points, a seasons best, and totaled 169.14 points to take the silver, their second medal at Europeans after winning bronze last year. “I don’t know how I feel at this moment. There was a good run-through this morning. We did everything we could today. We were excited. The public was amazing. We’re a little bit disappointed with the marks. We won the Free Dance and we’re less than half a point from the gold. So we will have to do it at Worlds”, Katsalapov told the press.

Cappellini/Lanotte danced to the Carmen Suite by Rodion Shchedrin. Their dance was highlighted by fast twizzles and level-four lifts. The Italians collected 99.27 points and took their first medal at the European Championships with 165.80 points. “We reached our goal tonight. It was a very good performance. There was a small mistake on a step sequence after the twizzle, but the level of competition is very high and even small mistakes are costly”, Lanotte offered.

Ekaterina Riazanova/Ilia Tkachenko (RUS) placed fourth at 157.77 points with their dance to “The Godfather”. Penny Coomes/Nicholas Buckland (GBR) moved up from sixth to fifth with their dance to “Basement Jaxx” (152.95 points) while Nelli Zhiganshina/Alexander Gazsi (GER) came sixth at 147.28 points.

The ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2013 continue Saturday with the Men’s and Ladies Free Skating.