Gold medallist Fernandez of Spain poses during the award ceremony for the men's skating at the European Figure Skating Championships in ZagrebGold medallist Javier Fernandez of Spain poses during the award ceremony for the men’s skating at the European Figure Skating Championships in Zagreb, January 26, 2013. (REUTERS/Antonio Bronic)

Courtesy of isu.org

The competition at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2013 concluded in Zagreb, Croatia on Saturday with the Men’s and Ladies Free Skating.

Javier Fernandez (ESP) claims historic gold medal

Javier Fernandez of Spain wrote history by winning the gold medal, the first medal for Spanish figure skating at ISU Championships. France’s Florent Amodio completed his set of European medals with the silver and Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic claimed the bronze medal.

Fernandez opened his Charlie Chaplin program with a big quadruple toeloop and followed up with a quad Salchow-triple toe, a triple Axel and another quad Salchow. He reeled off four more triples and two level-four spins to score a personal best of 186.07 points. Overall he racked up 274.87 points to take the gold. “I felt really brave with the three quads. I had an amazing day. My program went well and judges gave high enough marks for me to win. It is fantastic. It wasn’t easy to win against my fellow competitors because they are amazing. I felt very good today and I am going home happy”, Fernandez said.

Amodio nailed two quadruple Salchows, two triple Axels as well as two more triple jumps in his program to “Jumpin’ Jack” and “Broken Sorrow”. The Frenchman picked up a seasons best of 160.71 points and slipped from first to second at 250.53 points. “I am so excited, I fought to the end and I gave my best. I did two quads, that’s a big first for me. I had two or three mistakes but I gave all I had. I am so happy to have won this medal for France, it was important to me. Javier was better today. I knew he had skated so well, but I didn’t leave anything on the table. It was an extraordinary European Championship and I am so pleased to have ended it this way”, the 2011 European Champion commented.

Brezina missed his first quad Salchow but rallied back to land a triple Axel, another quadruple Salchow and six more triples including a triple Axel-triple toeloop. The Czech skater was ranked second in the Free Skating with 163.68 points and totaled 243.52 to pull up to the podium. “I’m really happy that after so many years at European championships and after a couple of fourth places I’ve finally made it to the podium. It was really tough today, I had planned to go for full risk. There was no other chance for me to win a medal. I was able to give my best, despite some mistakes, I’m very happy with my skating and with the result”, the 22-year-old shared.

Brian Joubert (FRA) dropped from third to fourth at 232.47 points. Maxim Kovtun (RUS) rose from seventh to fifth with 226.57 points in his debut at the European Championships and Alexander Majorov (SWE) came sixth at 211.88 points.

Carolina Kostner (ITA) skates off with the gold
Carolina Kostner of Italy skated off with her fifth European title as the competition concluded. Russia’s Adelina Sotnikova and Elizaveta Tuktamysheva took the silver and bronze medals in their debut at the high-level event.

Kostner produced a triple Lutz, double Axel, triple flip-double toe as well as two more triple jumps in her routine to “Bolero” by Maurice Ravel. The World Champion picked up a level four for two spins and the footwork and earned a new personal best score of 130.52 points. Overall she accumulated 194.71 points. “I had a wonderful first three minutes of my program. I thought I was on the way to the skate of my life. Then I got slammed back down to earth and I realized my program is very hard and I need still to do a lot of work to do all the choreography I want. This is my challenge and the reason I skate”, Kostner said. “Somehow they (European titles) have all been quite difficult but this was really hard. The two girls sitting beside me are very, very strong and I know that technically I may not be as strong as them. I have to do my best to be able to sit here and I was able to do that and it was a hard one”, she told the post-event press conference.

Overnight leader Sotnikova had to overcome two errors at the beginning of her routine to “At Last” and “Burlesque”, underrotating a triple Lutz-triple toe combination and singling the flip, but then recovered to hit four triples including a double Axel-triple toe and excellent spins. The 2011 World Junior Champion earned 126.38 points, improving her personal best by almost ten points. At 193.99 points, the Muscovite slipped to second. “You could say I am fairly happy – I did everything I could except that horrible triple flip! I popped it again. But apart from that it was fine, there are things that could be improved but now isn’t the time to talk about that. It’s my first European Championships and I have a silver medal – it’s like a party day for me now”, Sotnikova commented.

Performing to “Dark Eyes”, Tuktamysheva pulled off a triple Lutz-triple toe and five more triple jumps as well as two level-four spins to score 131.67 points, another personal best. The 16-year-old won the Free Skating and moved up from fourth to third with 188.85 points. “I’m incredibly happy, to be honest I’m in shock. I had a totally different approach today, I was in a different mood to yesterday. I don’t know if it was visible but I was more sure of myself, more confident, my legs were stronger. I was much better set on my triple-triple. I tried to set the mood from the start and show more energy than yesterday”, the Russian Champion noted.

Valentina Marchei (ITA) dropped from third to fourth in spite of a strong performance (171.06 points). Viktoria Helgesson (SWE) finished fifth (155.72 points) while Nikol Gosviani (RUS) pulled up from 12th to sixth (154.41 points).

The ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2013 conclude Sunday with the Exhibition Gala.