Episode 24: European Championships 2019 - Transcript


Evie: You're In The Loop - we're here to discuss the ups, downs and sideways of the sport of figure skating, and maybe give you +5 GOE along the way. Let’s introduce this week’s hosts.

Kite: Hi, I’m Kite, and I’m both thrilled and terrified that the season is picking back up again. You can find me on Twitter @mossyzinc.

Kat: Hi, it’s Kat and I’m currently getting snowed in while discussing figure skating with my friends. You can find me on Twitter @kattwts.

Evie: What’s up, I’m Evie, and I’m still reeling over the fact that Stepanova/Bukin are the European Silver Medallists. You can find me on Twitter @doubleflutz. So, obviously, the major news of the last couple of weeks in the figure skating community has been around the John Coughlin case. It's a really big and important topic in figure skating currently, and I think it's going to continue to be so for quite a while and we are going to cover it but we want to do the topic justice. We want to talk about this at length, so we're going to release a special episode all about John Coughlin and SafeSport in the next couple of weeks. So keep a lookout for that, but for now, we're just going to jump right into our coverage about the European Championships 2019.

START: Pairs

So, hopping right into it, we're going to first talk about the Pairs event. So in first place, we have Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres of France, in second we have Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morosov of Russia, and in third place, we have Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii of Russia. So I think, all in all, this was a really great Pairs event in general. I think in general just Euros was a really good competition, I think it might be my favorite of the season so far.

Kite: Yeah, it was across the board just a really solid event.

Kat: Less cursed than last years.

Evie: The most cursed Pairs event!

Kite: The pre-Olympic Euros is always the most cursed. Like it's not an Olympic year so...

Kat: No kidding!

Evie: And we have James and Cipres getting a gold medal a year after they were just barely off the podium at Euros.

Kite: 0.1 off the podium.

Kat: Talk about a cursed lifted, this is it! But for real though, I keep saying this about them but they're seizing momentum and they're running with it. They put out a really great set of programs here and they obviously set themselves up as one of the frontrunners because they're the only undefeated Pair this season. So that's just amazing and, obviously, at Four Continents we're going to see the return of [Wenjing] Sui and [Cong] Han who have never competed internationally under this new judging system so it will be interesting to see how their scores compare.

Evie: I completely agree, it's going to be very interesting to see Sui and Han score at Four Continents next week because I think Worlds is really gearing up to be an absolute crazy competition for Pairs. Obviously we're going to have James and Cipres, we're going to have Tarasova and Morosov, we're going to have all the other high ranking pairs that we've seen throughout the season and we've also got the wildcards that are Sui and Han, because we haven't really seen them that much apart from Chinese Nationals. So I think it's going to be really interesting to see how all of these Pairs will do at that event. How their momentum has been building over the season, how they're going to capitalize on that. It's going to also be very interesting to see how James and Cipres perform at Worlds because they've had the pressure on them mounting with every gold medal they've won. Both of the Grand Prix's, and then they had the Grand Prix Final, and now they have Euros - and they've managed to capitalize on that every single time. They've managed to pull out really strong performances every time, and I really hope they'll be able to do the same thing at Worlds. But it's definitely a humongous amount of pressure being the top Pair of the season going into Worlds.

Kat: I have to admit that I'm super impressed that they don't seem to be cracking under the pressure. This is the first season that they're seen as the favorites for any given competition and I was like "Oh, they might not be used to it" or they have to get used to being at the top and being the one that people are chasing after and they're not really letting the pressure get to them. That's super impressive for a team that last year just barely missed out on the Grand Prix Final, just barely missed out on the Euros podium. You know, that's a really big change and they're really doing a good job of adjusting to this new position.

Evie: The only time we've really seen them make major mistakes was at the Grand Prix Final in the Short Program and then they came back with that amazing Free Skate.

Kat: [The Short Program] is still the weaker of their two programs.

Kite: Yeah, they're not really Short Program skaters so that is something that concerns me a little bit for them going into Worlds. Because they haven't had a clean Short Program all season, is what I'm trying to say. Definitely better to be a Free Skate skater than a Short Program skater.

Evie: Yeah!

Kat: Exactly. But they just, oh my God, they have to change that ending. They have just been getting too lucky that the -1 deduction hasn't even come close to preventing them from winning their competitions. I just keep thinking if they had a bit more of a wake-up call if another team had gotten close because of the -1 deduction they'd be like "Hey, let's change the ending so that doesn't happen again." Let's not forget that last year at the Olympics, gold and silver in Pairs was decided by less than half a point. So that one point deduction may come back to haunt them, they're just really lucky this season that it hasn't.

Kite: Well you could see Morgan was trying to stop at the end of their Free Skate. That awkward stop. (hosts laugh)

Kat: He tried and it still didn't work, they've got to change it. It's gotta go.

Evie: He tried his hardest!

Kite: An attempt was made, but yeah, please change the ending. It's very impressive, obviously. I love the ending of the Free Skate where he has her in the air as he slides to a stop but obviously the judges don't love it so please change it before Worlds, thank you.

Evie: Okay, and then in second place, Tarasova and Morosov. They've recycled their Short Program from last season, the Rachmaninov Short Program. Do we all think this was a good call for them as a team?

Kite: It's definitely the safe call going into Worlds. I think Tarasova and Morosov came into this season as the favorites, barring maybe Sui and Han, but they weren't competing on the Grand Prix. And then you could see them start to make little mistakes and then James/Cipres became the favorites and I think this was their wake-up call that maybe they needed to go back to something that's more comfortable for them. That they can show off their strong points, like how lovely their technique is and their classical, nice lines. The elegance that the Russian Pairs do so well.

Kat: I'm just thankful that they changed the costume. I didn't like the one that they had last season for this program, and I didn't like the one that they had for their previous "I Feel Good" Short Program either. They were not good, I really like this new one.

Kite: I like the program, but yeah the costume was...

Kat: Yeah.

Kite: Didn't really make sense.

Evie: Honestly, I kind of preferred their "I Feel Good" Short Program to the Rachmaninov one. I don't know what it is, I think it's just because I personally prefer more fun themed programs and while Rachmaninov does show off their classic Russian style, their clean lines, and their really solid elements I think it also emphasizes the fact that as a pair they are kind of lacking in a sense of connection with each other. And while "I Feel Good" wasn't a perfect program, it was a program that they didn't even prepare over the offseason because, if you guys remember, they went to the Russian Test Skates with a different Short Program and then they got told that they needed to change it. And then they changed it within a couple of weeks before Finlandia Trophy to "I Feel Good" and they've been having issues with it all throughout the season. While I think Rachmaninov is a better program for them stylistically speaking, I think "I Feel Good" was a little bit more appealing to my tastes. (Kat: Yeah) Evgenia especially, her face at the start is so happy and smiley and you don't get to see that from her very often. So, I think that was a good choice for them, I'm not disappointed, I'm just kind of a little tiny bit let down.

Kat: I just feel like they don't look they want to be skating to campy music ever. I'm not sure who actually decides the music for them but even "Candyman" and "I Feel Good"... the thing is that they don't have a lot of facial expressions. Not much is going on with both of them, especially Vladimir, I don't think I've ever seen a facial expression on him. But at least with Rachmaninov, the lyrical style of it gives me a chance, like Kite said, to appreciate their lines and extension and their gorgeous elements like their throws and their twists. But here I think it just looked a little bit untrained, it seemed to be a rush job. It was probably a really hasty decision to ditch their Short Program after Russian Nationals. Because I don't think I've ever seen them stumble like that on the side-by-side triple toes in the Short Program. Like they both looked so off and they stumbled in the same way too, they went off axis and then stepped out.

Evie: Which is really strange to see because their triple toes have been pretty consistent all throughout the season.

Kat: And they're gorgeous too.

Evie: And they're good, yeah! To see them have issues here, not just in one program but in both, is quite troubling. Obviously, they haven't had the best season, not just results wise but you know at Rostelecom Evgenia had that really awful fall and she had to go to the hospital for that and get stitches. (Kat: The stitches, yeah) And then they've had less than a month after Russian Nationals to revamp their Rachmaninov Short Program for Euros and all the while they have this pressure because they know that James and Cipres are going to be at Euros. They've already faced off against them at the Grand Prix Final and they didn't come out on top so it's just pressure surmounting at this one event and it's really sad to see them have these kinds of issues because they're one of my favorite teams in the field at the moment and they're such a technically talented team. I don't want to see them have these kinds of issues.

Kat: Hopefully by Worlds they can get it together a little bit more but they're also young so maybe this season is just a season of growth.

Evie: And in third place, we have Boikova and Kozlovskii.

Kat: Yeah, speaking of a young team with potential to grow!

Evie: Obviously, going into the season, I knew who they were and I hadn't really seen them skate very many times before this season and I've just completely fallen in love with this team over the last couple of months. Honestly, I think they might be my favorite Russian pair at the moment. Not only do they have the typical extremely solid elements of a Russian pair, you know, they've got a great twist and really solid throws, but they've got such a great charm and they work so well together as a team. Their programs... they're not my favorite.

Kat: Well their Free Skate is very Russian, it's "Nutcracker."

Evie: Yeah, I don't mind their Short Program, I think it shows off Aleksandra's charm and her expressions are so great in that program. But yeah, the Free Skate is just kind of eh. I think if they had programs that really showed off their skills and expression I think they could be in line for potential podiums at Worlds or winning Grand Prix's next season. There's a lot of potential in this team

Kat: I am sold on everything except their programs, which is really unfortunate. It's the reason I haven't fully invested myself in them yet because their elements are all great. Their twist is gorgeous, their spins are so in-sync. I think they were the most in-sync, like not even a millisecond off. (Evie: That was crazy) And their position in the lifts and the air position that she gets in the throws are so great. They also have one of the most gorgeous side-by-side triple Salchows that I've ever seen in Pairs. I do think they could work on their expression a little bit, especially in that Short Program which is a little bit more up-tempo and their body movement seems a little bit more tentative than I would prefer for something more outwardly expressive. So that's just something they could work on, their interpretation. But other than that, their elements are really solid so there's so much potential for them.

Evie: And considering this is only their first season as a senior team, it's very promising. I'm so excited for them.

Kat: Yeah, and Russia needs a number three Pairs team. So, they're it.

-end segment- 14:41


Kite: Moving onto the Men's event, in first place we have Javier Fernandez of Spain, second place, Alexander Samarin of Russia, and in third place, Matteo Rizzo of Italy. So, Javier Fernandez (Kat: Oh, Javi) kind of won due to everyone else dying a little bit.

Evie: The Free Skate basically had no survivors at Euros.

Kite: The mass extinction event at the Men's Free Skate just left no one standing basically.

Kat: I know...

Kite: But still, just a very, very well deserved seventh consecutive European title for him. And a fantastic way to close out his career. This is his last competition; he's confirmed that this is it, he's retiring. And I just love the symbolism of the programs he chose so much. He skated his Short Program to “Malagueña” — which won him his second World title in 2016 — and his Free Program was “Man of La Mancha” which won him an Olympic Bronze Medal last year. Just, the fact that he was able— This is the only time that he's competed this season, and the only time in almost a year.

Evie: The only time bar Japan Open. He was at Japan Open for the Free Skate.

Kite: It's not really a competition, let's be real.

Evie: Yeah. (hosts laugh)

Kite: The fact that — And he literally returned to Toronto in early-January, so the fact that he was able to rotate and land four successful quads, on three-weeks of training is just crazy. And it's really a testament to the calibre of athlete he's been over the past seven years.

Kat: Javi finally just, like, stopped caring.

Kite: He snapped! (Kat: Yep) They called his quad Salchow under in the Short Program and he just went after the judges.

Kat: Yeah, I know.

Kite: [He] lambasted them in the press conference.

Kat: I love it, I love it. (Evie: Clap back!) I've never seen that from him, but I love it.

Kite: He was like, 'you know what, I need to go out in style, tell them what I really think'.

Evie: I like that in the Kiss and Cry for the Short Program, Brian basically explaining to Javi how the new judging system works. That was so adorable! Oh my God guys, I just...I don't think I've cried that much during a performance since the Olympics last year. During the Free Skate, I was openly sobbing in front of my laptop to the point where my brother literally came in to ask if I was alright because he heard me crying so much during it. And I was just like [ugly crying sounds] “Javi… I’m so sad!” It was a really great send off for his career, as you said Kite, the choice to use these two programs this season; not only have those programs gotten him some of the biggest achievements in his career before but they are also so uniquely Spanish and they say so much about his as a skater.

Kat: In case we were wondering which country he was from...

Evie: (sarcastically) What?! Javi is Spanish? What?

Kat: This is completely new information.

Kite: Exactly.

Evie: I did not know this! And both of those programs are probably my favourite programs of Javi's, I think out of all that them [Kat: Me too]. Especially “Man of La Mancha,” the ending to that program with the 'unreachable star' bit just always gets me.

Kite: He dreamed the impossible dream!

Evie: And that's what it is! That's what his career has kinda [been]. It's the perfect ending to...You know; he started off not qualifying for Free Skates at Europeans and getting to Worlds as the only Spanish Men's skater and then having to move away from Spain at a young age, going to train with Nikolai Morozov and then moving to Toronto and finally getting the consistency down and the recognition he as a skater deserves...It's so nice to see his whole career get closed off here in such great way.

Kat: It's just amazing to me that, like you said, he didn't make the Free Skate for his first two Europeans and then, the only placement he's gotten on the podium is first. He never got any other medal. It's just been Gold. Which is so great.

Evie: It's so great, it's what he deserves. I think it's going to be interesting to look at who is going to follow next year, as the next European Champion because we've had seven years of Javi coming in as the favourite every time.

Kat: Just come back again next year, Javi.

Kite: He just keeps coming back until...It's just the only competition he ever does again.

Kat: Get that eighth consecutive medal.

Evie: Didn't he say after Euros, in one of the interviews, he said he's going to do Japan Open later this year?

Kat: Yes.

Kite: Yes, he's been invited to Japan Open, so we will see him 'compete' again. Nobu, convince him to go back to Euros!

Kat: Put Euros in Spain! If Euros is in Spain, I bet he'll be there.

Kite: He would go. [Now] the field has been blown wide open. Now that he's gone, so, it's definitely going to be interesting to see who steps into that power vacuum and takes over the title as the top European man.

Evie: So, in Silver, we have Alexander Samarin of Russia. You know, I think, out of all of the Russian Men this season he's probably the one that's been the most consistent overall.

Kat: Yeah! By far!

Kite: He really has. He's landing things!

Kat: Yeah, it's already a step above basically all of the other Russian Men at this point.

Evie: It's Samarin and probably Voronov as well, he's been pretty good in the first couple of competitions, but then obviously he's not getting sent to things in the second half of season. But, yeah, I'm not surprised. He put out two strong performances here but I think there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the scores he got were a little bit inflated.

Kite: A little bit?

Kat: Just a tad...

Evie: It's a running theme throughout this season, it's not something that I was completely surprised about, but it's kind of a let down I guess?

Kat: Yeah, you shouldn't be able to get positive GOE on a jump that has a turn-out.

Kite: Yeah, his opening quad Lutz [in the Free Skate], he turned out of it and they gave him [0.66] positive GOE, small GOE but it was positive.

Kat: That reminded me of how Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, she often turns out of her triple Axel, right? And she gets negative GOE on it, that's something you expect. So when Samarin turned out of the quad Lutz I was like “Why is it green? Why is the GOE green?”

Kite: In my opinion, also giving him 88 in Program Component Scores, for the Free Skate, was pretty excessive. It should be about 7-8 points lower. (Kat: Yeah.) Low 80s would be a comfortable place for him given the performance he's actually putting out.

Evie: Agreed.

Kat: I feel bad [because] I think we kinda bagged on him during IDF for his PCS and his jump GOE as well, but it's a little bit of a concerning trend when someone is getting over-inflated scores from competition to competition. I'm displeased about what kind of precedent it sets.

Evie: I have to say that obviously, Euros being held in Belarus this year, there were a lot of Russian fans in the crowd and during the Free Skate they got so into 'The Greatest Showman'. I think the crowd, in general, got into a lot of performances; they were clapping along — not always in time, but they were clapping along, being enthusiastic and I think that because he skated the Free Skate pretty clean, I actually found myself really enjoying 'The Greatest Showman' program — I know that sounds weird coming out of my mouth, but whatever! Especially the second half of it, I found myself quite enjoying it. I think his performance of it was pretty much the best we've seen of it this season because I think he was capitalising on the crowd getting so hyped up over it. That's great to see! I personally and not a huge fan of Samarin — and that's fine we all have our own opinions and we all have our own preference — but I am happy that he managed to have good skates here and I'm happy that he was happy with his own performances. You could see it in the Kiss and Cry, he was completely overjoyed by how well he did and how much the fans were praising him. So, his scores I don't agree with but I'm glad that he's proud of the skates he put out here.

Kite: I'm going to be total, totally real with you; when I watched him live I actually don't remember...anything of the program because I spent his entire program freaking out because I knew Javi was next. (hosts laugh) But when I had calmed down I went back and watched it and I agree this is...His expression has definitely improved since the beginning of the season. I saw this program live at Skate Canada and I don't think I could tell you a single thing about it, other than the fact he mostly landed his opening jump. That was it.

Kat: I will say that he actually did have more facial expressions here. He did crack a smile in the second half and that was good. I was like “Aww that's cute.” (hosts laugh) I'm into that.

Evie: I would like to see him— Obviously he's still quite a new skater on the senior field, so I would really like to see him develop his performance and his presentation in general. Because he does have his own kind of charm, and I would like to see more of that. I want to see him not just land his jumps but I want to see him perform too!

Kite: He seems pretty shy. His personality seems very introverted. So I don't think that 'The Greatest Showman' is necessarily the best vehicle for him to be making a point.

Evie: Well, 'The Greatest Showman' isn't necessarily the best vehicle for anyone

Kite: That's true.

Kat: I was gonna say...

Kite: But especially in this case. I don't know, he seems like he has this really cheeky, raw wry sense of humour. I'd like to see him try something a little more contemporary. I think his Short Program is much better for him than his Free Skate [Evie: Yeah] And you can see [that] he seems to believe in it more too. When he's not wearing that 'Greatest Showman' costume with the ruffles and everything, just kind of grimacing as he goes through the motions. But he definitely has momentum on his side going into Worlds. Russia hasn't announced his Worlds team yet, officially, but 100% he's gonna go barring any unforeseen circumstances and rightfully so, I would say.

Kat: He deserves it, yeah. He's produced results.

Kite: Yeah. If he skates like this at Worlds he could win a medal. Depending on what the other men do.

Evie: Definitely.

Kat: Oh boy... [Laughter]

Kite: That'll be a time. We'll get there. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Evie: We'll get there. And going into our surprise Bronze medallist, yet again, Matteo Rizzo from Italy.

Kat: I love him. He's so adorable.

Evie: He is adorable. I love him so much. And I'm really...I was so surprised at how good his new Free Skate is.

Kat: Yes! I enjoyed it a lot!

Evie: Some people might not know about this but after Italian Nationals in December, Matteo lost to Daniel Grassl, who was also at Europeans; he competed on the Junior circuit earlier in the season, Daniel is quite well known for not only having a lot of crazy contortionist spin positions but he also has quite a lot of quads, he's got a quad loop, he's got a Lutz — even though those quads are extremely terrifying. Matteo has a bit of an edge on him in terms of performance and interpretation, and Matteo has really lovely lines and really is just a nice skater. And he's got really good basics, but he doesn't have that consistency with his quads and his triple Axel and just his jumps overall. That was a problem for him at Italian Nationals, and afterwards, he scrapped his “Rolling Stones'” Free Skate and changed it to a Queen medley which I think was a really good choice because I wasn't a humongous fan of the “Rolling Stones’” Free... It worked but I think the cut of the music was a little bit jarring at times, so, to me, it didn't work. But this program works so well for him. I think the choice of the music that they used and the way it progresses through the program — Like the first section where it starts in “Bohemian Rhapsody” and then effortlessly goes into “Love of My Life,” it works so well! And at the end it's “Don't Stop Me Now” and he's jamming out. He had so much fun in the step sequence at the end, because he skated so well. And he landed his quad! So...Yay!

Kat: Yeah, it was great. And he jumped all the way from 10th to 3rd. Which is...

Evie: That is amazing!

Kat: He really did perform super well and props to him, that's not easy.

Evie: He's just so enjoyable to watch when he goes all out. Like, in the last half of the program when the music picks up, the audience gets into it and he just smiles and goes off into a crazy step sequence.

Kat: Adorable.

Evie: It's adorable, yeah!

Kat: We just have to shout out his “Ghostbusters'”gala as well. It's just so cute!

Evie: Oh my God, that was adorable.

Kat: I feel like the gala at Euros was a little bit more like...intense and super Russian than I'm normally used to.

Kite: Yeah. The President of Belarus literally showed up at the end of it. [Laughter]

Evie: That was the funniest thing!

Kite: That was a thing that happened.

Kat: But yeah, 1th to 3rd, great job Matteo. There were some really wild ordinal switches between the Short and the Free — this was one of the better ones. There will be a couple...tragic ones. Speaking of which!

Kite: Um...Yeah. Mikhail Kolyada. Unfortunately.

Kat: I'm just so sad.

Kite: The good news, was that he—

Evie: Yeah, let's focus on the good things first!

Kite: He was the third ever man to score above 100 in the Short Program under the new judging system, and with only one quad, which is quite impressive.

Evie: Completely deserved.

Kite: And he was eight-points ahead of both Samarin and Javi after the Short Program and really just seemed poised to take the title. And then the Free Skate happened.

Kat: Yeah...It happened.

Kite: Same issues that he's kinda been having all season. Like it, when it comes to like many of his Free Skates the only way you can describe it is 'it happened'. Like...it was.

Kat: We try not to remember [Kite: A lot of it] or rewatch, we just cry about how good his skating skills and his performance is. Jumps are not valid when Kolyada skates, okay? (hosts laugh)

Kite: Well yeah, his jumps were just all over the place and...He actually hurt his hand when he feel on a triple loop and kind of caught himself on his wrist basically, and you could see him shaking his hand trying to get the pain to go away for the rest of it.

Kat: Yeah, it was a weird fall, I remember. Like he was trying to catch himself.

Kite: Fortunately, it seems to just be a big bruise. It's not fractured or broken. So I mean, obviously, hoping that he's going to have a speedy recovery before Worlds. but ah just...and the really frustrating thing is that yes granted this event was held in Belarus, which is a former Russian satellite . But like generally internationally judges are pretty willing to give him high scores when he does well. You would think that him being so inconsistent would actually hurt his reputation internationally, even when he's clean that's not really the case. He's capable of putting together very very high scores when he actually lands his jumps so that just kind of makes it all the more frustrating that he can't put it together because if he had two clean programs I think he could contend for the world title, depending on what the other men do.

Kat: And he was also skating last.

Kite: Yeah so he had the advantage of skating...y'know being the last skater and the judges knowing that this is it, you can throw all of your PCS at him if you want to because no one is going to come after him.

Kat: I feel like probably skating last just made him even more nervous though. Like it was a lose-lose situation.

Kite: But like not skating last also doesn't really improve the situation it's just...I don't know theres no easy fix for it.

Kat: Speaking of another skater for whom jumps do not exist (hosts laugh) Kevin Aymoz [of France]! We love him so much!

Evie: To see him do so well in both programs at Euros is just it makes my heart so happy and so warm!

Kat: Where are his PCS?

Evie: Oh my god, I mean he's been lowballed in PCS throughout all the season practically and that's just cause y'know he doesn't have that kind of international reputation that other skaters do. And you know that's understandable, kind of, but I just...especially after the Short, that was just..the Short Program there was so explosive and crazy.

Kite: Yes!

Evie: I love! His programs this season are just so good! I want to see him get the scores that he deserves internationally. I just..I need it!

Kat: He just has such beautiful entrances to his jumps too. Like his triple Axel...I don't know where his PCS are but I hope someone finds them before next season.

Kite: That cartwheel that he did during his step sequence!

Evie: Oh my god, yes!

Kite: He's like okay that happened, how can you see that and not give him PCS ? I don't know.

Kat: Anyways yes Kevin Aymoz for Euros podium next year.

Kite: He was fourth! So that's still an amazing showing for him.

Evie: Kevin for European Champion to be honest. I think that that would be amazing.

Kite: Ah, yes!

Kat: Honestly!

-end segment- 32:56

START: Ice Dance

Evie: So let's go on to Ice Dance! And I gotta say this dance event was kind of amazing at Euros this year.

Kat: Yes! Oh my goodness!

Evie: I mean I said that this was probably the best competition of the season, but this was probably the best dance event that I have seen in a long while.

Kat: I know!

Evie: It was insane!

Kite: Since the Olympics.

Evie: Not only did we have a really amazing podium, a lot of the performances here were just so amazing. So let's just quickly go through the podium. So to pretty much no one's surprise in first place we have Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron from France. In second place we have Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin of Russia. And then in third place we have Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri of Italy. So this was a great podium. It was a really all around great event and I found it great that so many of the teams have been really drilling their levels, their step sequences, the Tango Romantica patterns over the last couple months and they've come to Euros prepared! We've seen, in general, the levels from all of the top teams here were much higher than they have been in the first half of the season. And that's really awesome to see considering we've had so many Tango Romantica level 1s and 2s throughout the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Final.

Kite: And we had those here too, just not so egregiously.

Kat: Yeah.

Evie: Yeah, obviously Papadakis and Cizeron didn't skate a clean pattern, but they did get a level four on the second half of the sequence. There was only one team that got...that skated a clean pattern and that was Natalia Kaliszek and Maksym Spodyriev of Poland, which is kind of a surprise and we'll talk a bit more about them a little bit later. But in general, levels have been really strong here. Papadakis/Cizeron and Guignard/Fabbri both became the first teams to skate maximum level free dances. They got level 4s, and all their choreo elements obviously don't have maximum levels, they're all level 1 but their step sequences, their spins and their twizzles were all level 4. This is the first time we've seen it under the new judging system. That's pretty amazing! And we also saw Stepanova/Bukin get a level four on their Diagonal Step Sequence.

Kat: Yes!

Evie: It's just so good to see teams step up to the plate at a championship with these great levels. It's just...it's a relief honestly after Grand Prix Final and the travesty with levels there. I'm glad we've got a nice event, guys!

Kat: I mean, I was wondering if maybe the tech panel was a little more lenient because the levels were so good but I also couldn't confirm. Like for the pattern especially because the cameras would sometimes just cut off the feet during the key points! So like yeah cameras can we do a better job of not cutting off the feet during Ice Dance ? Especially during the pattern? And most importantly during the key points!

Evie: I think during the Rhythm Dance the tech panel was being a little bit lenient towards the rocker in the first section.

Kat: Oh yeah!

Evie: Because I saw quite a lot of them that looked flat or kind of shallow that I personally if I was being a tech specialist I wouldn't have called it.

Kat: Pretty sure I wouldn't have given Guillaume his rocker.

Evie: Agreed, yeah it was a little bit too shallow for my liking. But you know overall the teams had really awesome performances. It's just it's so good. I love this dance event, guys!

Kat: Yeah! It was so good and like obviously we want to talk about the teams as well but Papadakis and Cizeron, they're...they're just amazing! I don't know what to say, like yeah their scores are kind of over the top but I still think that their quality is unmatched. And they absolutely deserve to be the top. I don't know if by that gap. But you know Papadakis/Cizeron are also not a perfect team, like they had a lot of flaws in the Rhythm Dance that could've been easily exploited. Yeah they didn't have the highest base value, so if other teams get their levels then they could definitely pull up close enough to Papadakis/Cizeron. Like Stepanova/Bukin were not that much farther behind Papadakis/Cizeron and they [P/C] didn't even beat their old world record by that much even though they had a level 2 on the first part of their pattern, and they had a B on the first part of their patten when they broke the world record at IDF...so.

Evie: Yeah, they broke the world record by less than a point here so...

Kat: Exactly yeah!

Evie: The judges are definitely willing to shell out the big PCS whenever they perform. You know that's kind of to be expected. We saw it at IDF, we're seeing it here, we've seen it pretty much throughout the last couple seasons with them, it's not surprising. And you know, speaking as someone who really wasn't a fan of them until this season, their scoring last season kind of put me off becoming a fan of theirs and I really haven't been connected to any of their programs up until this point. I've completely been won over to them to the point where I'm just like...I don't really...like the inflation is obviously one thing, but their programs and their skating this season are so good that I'm willing to kind of disregard that.

Kat: Yeah, and they still are the best in my opinion.

Evie: Yeah, definitely. Obviously, Guillaume hasn't had the best season with the injury that he had earlier that took them out of NHK. But I think once he gets back into fighting form and really goes back to the Guillaume we're used to seeing in terms of his skating skills, they're going to be unstoppable either way I feel, but they're definitely going to be a force that hardly anyone could contend with for gold at that point.

Kite: Yeah. In the past I've been pretty critical of the judges kind of scoring them so high that no other team can really hope to reach them. But after seeing them against the field here and watching US Nationals over the weekend as well, like there's just really no comparison. And it's just...it bears mentioning that their score in the short program [Rhythm Dance] would have approached 90 if they had gotten all of the levels that they lost on the first part of the pattern and the step sequence and Guillaume's twizzles and it's just insane. They're by far in a league of their own and barring any major mistakes I think that all of the other teams are just going to be fighting for silver and bronze at worlds. Like they're unstoppable.

Kat: I just love that they have a soft tango. I love that Rhythm Dance so much. And especially their patten, even if it's technically not perfect like the way that Gabi in particular expresses and interprets the music during the pattern, like you just watch her arms...I'm just so drawn to the way that she moves her arms during the pattern. It's just so soft and fluid. She has very gentle hold and a gentle hold that shows an ease of execution. And she just...she just sells that Rhythm Dance like no one.

Evie: Okay let's go on to our silver medalists, Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin. Oh my god! I think a lot of the listeners probably know how big of fans we are of S/B. I think everyone who knows us knows that we are absolutely in love with them. And seeing them get a silver medal here is just the highlight of this week for me I feel.

Kat: Oh my gosh. When they got their scores after the Rhythm Dance I was like "Justice is served!"

Evie: This is the first time they've scored over 80 in the Rhythm Dance and it's just it's so good to see them cause they've had problems with this program at Rostelecom and then at the Grand Prix Final and then they had the disappointment that was Russian Nationals coming in second there. And then...yeah they've had just...they've come back from that, they've bounced back, they've drilled their pattern. You know they got full credit for the second half of the Tango Romantica. I'm just...I'm so happy that they were able to rebound like that.

Kat: Yes! And they also kind of reworked the choreo before the pattern at the very end and I love it! I personally just think that it's just so much more dramatic and it fits way better than the previous choreography so I'm here for it and I love it. And their scores have surpassed Hubbell/Donohue in international personal bests this season and [H/D are] the only other team besides Papadakis/Cizeron to remain undefeated. So it will be super interesting to see how they compete with Hubbell/Donohue at Worlds. And also we'll be seeing Hubbell/Donohue next week at Four Continents as well.

Evie: Yeah it's going to be interesting see how the scores compare overall and looking into Worlds and how that's going to play out. Obviously Stepanova/Bukin got silver here and they weren't podium favorites going into this I don't think. Because obviously Sinitsina/Katsalapov had issues in the Rhythm Dance. They got basically taken completely out of contention after the Rhythm Dance because of the issues they had there and so Stepanova/Bukin really managed to stay afloat and they managed to skate their two best programs of the season. It's just amazing, it's awesome. I think also skating last in the Free Dance probably helped with their score overall.

Kat: Oh yeah.

Evie: As soon as I saw the draw results I saw them skate last I was like "Yes! Give them all the PCS that they deserve!”

Kat: What happened in the dance event at Euros is what I had hoped would...like it would be my almost dream scenario of what happened at Grand Prix Final if they just replace Papadakis/Cizeron with Hubbell/Donohue.

Evie: Same!

Kat: I was like "Oh yes, they can skate last and then get those last skater PCS", I mean then they did basically because they scored so well in the Free Dance. But yeah I mean I think they just gotta keep working on those levels like those levels are what is going to be the determinant of the podium at Worlds. And Sasha got a level 2 I believe on the one foot step sequence. Sweetie, please just...you know I think I saw her jump a turn or two so like let's just work on that.

Evie: Use those long legs to your advantage.

Kat: Yes exactly! Just close up the gaps and we can..the world podium is not just a dream.

Kite: Well I think it's worth pointing out that if they'd gotten all their levels in the pattern they would've been really really close to Papadakis/Cizeron after the Rhythm Dance because Papadakis/Cizeron were a little more than...a little under three points ahead and they [S/B] lost two points on just the base value of the patterns. So yeah their scoring potential is enormous. And they could...I think they could challenge for a world medal realistically if they get their levels. Just please just drill the patterns some more.

Kat: Just score the same way as you did here, because like I said they have higher personal bests now that Hubbell/Donohue.

Evie: So with a bronze medal we have Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri. And this is right after, obviously, they got bronze at the Grand Prix Final and they had a really good early season and now they're continuing to capitalize on that momentum. And they skated two amazing programs here just- I've just fallen in love with this team so much, you guys.

Kat: They're adorable! And their coach Barbara Fusar-Poli is just like the cutest ever! I just love watching their Kiss and Cry. Along with Stepanova/Bukin they have some of the most entertaining Kiss and Cry reactions.

Evie: Their reaction after the Free Dance scores were so cute. Like they were literally screaming.

Kat: I know! She was shrieking and Barbara was just like hugging everyone. She was so excited afterwards too, she like just jumped onto their other coach, I think, like as soon as the Free Dance ended and then ran over to the Kiss and Cry.

Evie: I love them, they're so adorable. They obviously have been building up in their confidence since they had such a good early season, and they came into Euros upping their technical content in their lifts. Most of their lifts are really quite nice, they hit really good positions but they just wanted to elevate that. They wanted to get more difficult, more creative and I find that their choreographic lift at the end of the program wasn't great. It looked a little bit awkward on the dismount, I think that's probably due to the fact that they've only had a month to practice it, probably. So that's obviously something that can easily get ironed out as the season goes on, but I think that going forward they really have to focus more on consistency with their GOE and with their levels, rather than introducing new elements. Because, realistically, they don't really need to up the content, they're already hitting their levels on their lifts. Obviously, there's personal growth and they want to do that, but if you're not going to be hitting the GOE and you're not going to be rewarded as well for that I, personally, don't see much of a point in it. They've got a bit over 2 months until Worlds, that's enough time to drill that lift and make it effortless and beautiful like it's meant to be. I don't really see the point in them completely overhauling their tech at this point in time in the season.

Kat: Yeah, same, but I think they are kind of the example of how good levels can make you a good contender. Because I think that their technical prowess is what is keeping them in contention with all these top teams. In the past, no one really had them on their radar and now suddenly everyone's looking at them like "Oh my goodness, they're making podiums left and right" because they're so technically sound. They were so close to nailing the Tango Romantica too. I think it was Marco who had a timing call on the second key point, right?

Evie: Like every second man got a timing call for that key point. Everyone in the top 3.

Kat: Yeah, at first it was him and then Charlene's rocker that also had the timing call and I was like "Their rockers were at the same time. What?" And then they changed it, so she got the yes. And their rockers are so perfect too, they're gorgeous.

Evie: They are so deep and effortless.

Kat: And so, those levels are what is keeping them afloat. They had perfect levels in the Free Dance so get your levels and you get rewarded!

Evie: So, obviously, a bit of a surprise of the event, [Victoria] Sinitsina and [Nikita] Katsalapov finishing off the podium here after the Rhythm Dance.

Kite: Shocking.

Kat: I gasped so hard when that happened. I think it was like seven in the morning and I gasped like "Oh!"

Kite: I didn't wake up for that, but I gasped when I watched it, even though I knew it was going to happen. They've been so technically solid all season.

Kat: They have one of the best patterns, (Kite: Stunning) it's such a shame too because that is one of if not the best Rhythm Dance of the season too. They skate that pattern in such close hold, they have incredible footwork before and after their step sequence. Their Tango Romantica was almost at max level so it's just fascinating, I guess, because it seemed after the Grand Prix and after Russian Nationals that they were going to be favored as the top Russian team because most of the judges had scored Sinitsina and Katsalapov over Stepanova and Bukin in both overall score and PCS at Russian Nationals. Do we think the tides have shifted a little bit or is it just a little bit more up in the air? Like RusFed doesn't know who they're going to back?

Evie: Well, I think that, if both teams skated clean, I think that they would still give it to Sinitsina and Katsalapov. Even though Stepanova and Bukin have had more wins this season, I think Sinitsina and Katsalapov have been a bit more consistent with their levels in the Rhythm Dance and they do have the National title. A fall on the twizzles, you know, Nikita fell and then Victoria put both of her hands down, so it wasn't a complete fall but she did transfer her weight onto her arms and onto the ice so that counts as a fall, even though she didn't hit the ground.

Kat: Yeah, that double deduction though. Oof.

Evie: It completely took them out of the running for any place on the podium and that is kind of a fluke mistake. You don't see those kinds of errors from a team like that very often. I mean, thinking back to when Nikita had his previous partner at 2014 Worlds when a similar thing kind of happened. They were poised to take the World title and then that [twizzle mistake] completely screwed them over. It's sad to see this kind to see this kind of error happen to them in the Rhythm Dance because they have had really good momentum throughout the season and they are a very technically solid team. I just hope that this experience won't hamper them down for Worlds and they won't get too in their heads about it. And I hope that they'll be able to get back to that sort of consistency that they've been showing off for the earlier part of the season.

Kite: I think, personally if we're going to compare them to Stepanova and Bukin, I would still say that Sinitsina and Katsalapov probably have the higher scoring potential just because they've been really consistent in getting their levels this season. But I think it's worth pointing out that even in the Free Dance they lost to Stepanova and Bukin when both of them were pretty relatively clean. So, obviously, you can't take one competition as a sign that the judges or the federation are suddenly switching their favor to Stepanova and Bukin. But it's worth pointing out that even when both teams skate well it is possible for Stepanova and Bukin to come out on top so it definitely makes the Russian Dance rivalry at Worlds to be a lot more interesting.

Evie: So, kind of the surprise dark horses of this event. Natalia Kaliszek and Maxim Spodyriev of Poland. They skated the only clean Tango Romantica pattern of this event, and they also got two level 4's on their one-foot step sequences in the Free Dance. A couple of weeks ago they competed at Torun Cup which was a B level competition, it was a very small event. That was the event that [Madison] Chock and [Evan] Bates had their first seasons appearance at. They did the same thing there, they got two level 4's there and, honestly, when I saw that and when I saw the levels I thought it was kind of a one-time thing.

Kat: Generous B or Challenger Series type of thing.

Evie: And it was in Poland, so I was thinking along those lines. But, honestly, I was so surprised that they were able to replicate that here and just their footwork in general - I wasn't paying a huge amount of attention to them in the first half of the season but after this I went back and watched some of their performances and honestly their footwork is really solid. They've got very nimble and easy, deep edges and it's very interesting to see them place so well here. Is this going to be a team that we're going to have to look out for next season? Because if you hit your levels, you're going to rise. You're going to get those good marks. Levels are the most important thing.

Kat: They had the highest base value in the Rhythm Dance. They almost had perfect levels except for their diagonal step sequence.

Evie: It's going to be very interesting to see how this team goes after this event, how they're going to fair at Worlds and then in the next season. Because I think they've really got something good going for them.

Kat: And then we also want to give a quick shoutout to Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson. The Disco Brits, as we love to call them. They're really making a move this season with [Penny] Coomes and [Nicholas] Buckland sitting out. That Free Dance is just so good. I sent it to my friend over the weekend because she was studying and she was like "I need something to watch that will cheer me up." And I sent her this and she was like "Oh my gosh, this is so much fun."

Evie: It is.

Kat: So she really enjoyed it. They just have some of the most fun and unique choreographic elements like those character steps in the beginning and those slides at the end. They've got those awesome arm variations in their twizzles. So fab!

Evie: It really works. I'm just a little bit worried about Lilah at this event. She did get quite low levels in the Tango Romantica and she also only got a level 1 in the one-foot step sequence in the Free. She hasn't been hitting level 4's at every event, but this is quite troubling to see a level 1 at a big event. It could just be the pressure of the event. It's a big event, they've gotten really good momentum, they've had really big scores throughout the season and it could just be that. It could just be the pressure. But I'm just worried that it could be something bigger than that. I want her to drill her edges, her footwork and come back at Worlds and completely slay the game because, oh yes, that Free Dance!

-end segment- 54:05

START: Ladies

Evie: So for the Ladies here at Euros, in first place, we have Sofia Samodurova of Russia, in second place, we have Alina Zagitova of Russia and in third, we have Viveca Lindfors of Finland. So, Sofia Euros Champion!

Kat: She's a little firecracker, I love her.

Kite: Definitely I would say a well-deserved victory for her. It's her first senior season which is pretty amazing.

Kat: She's very much like slow and steady wins the race.

Kite: She's been kind of storming the field ever since Skate America.

Kat: Well, I mean in the sense that no one takes her as the favorite for any given competition but she just does what she does and she just does it. Nothing has significantly changed, honestly, in most of her performances throughout the season.

Evie: I think her performance here was a little bit higher. She was really enjoying herself and loving the energy that the crowd was giving her and completely owning the Free. And, obviously, she is probably the most consistent Russian lady in the field at the moment, which is kind of crazy to say but this season has been kind of crazy in Ladies in general. She has so much charm, she's really such a natural performer and I saw that in her in Junior's last season. She's got such a great expressive face and she really connects with her music really well. Obviously, her technique, in general, isn't my favorite thing in the world. Her Tano arm is quite unsightly, she does the same thing that Elizaveta Tuktamysheva does, where she bends it at the elbow. It kind of looks a little bit aesthetically unpleasing to me. And then her toe jumps are pretty... bleh.

Kat: Hammer-y.

Kite: Pre-rotated.

Evie: Yeah, they're quite are rotated and that's kind of a common theme with a lot of the Russian Ladies and the Russian technique in general, I feel. But she's got that performative spark, it's great to see her do so well here. I really hope that this isn't a one-time thing, I hope she continues to grow as a skater for Worlds and the season beyond that. I'm so glad she was able to keep up the momentum here and have a good skate.

Kite: That's like the theme of Euros, momentum going into Worlds. But I just love how much she believes in her music and every time she goes out, she sells it one hundred percent. Even though I disagree with her scores, I think she was pretty overscored here, I think she should be getting high 7's to low 8's in Transitions and Skating Skills at the moment. I still think she was the class of the field here and it wasn't really even close. Russia doesn't announce their Worlds team until after the European Championships, but at this point, I don't think they have any reason to not send her because she has been the most consistent Russian lady this season and she obviously has big scoring potential. I think she's underrotated one jump this season? Especially when they really need those three spots going into next season, it's not even a question, they should send her.

Kat: I love Sofia and I also love the way that she sells her music. Especially that "Burlesque" program, I was not into it when I saw it at Skate America. I was like "This is a little much for me." But the more she performed it, the more I was like "Oh, I kind of get it." Especially when she landed her last two jumps in this Free Skate, she really just brought it out. Also, I feel like, this is a thing for both her and Elizaveta, a lot of what she's doing with her expression and her shoulders and arms kind of distracts you from how little is going on in her feet. It just feels a little bit like "I feel like there's something wrong here, but I'm also entertained by it." I wish they would add a couple more things transition-wise to get rid of that uncomfortable feeling, I guess.

Evie: So, in silver, we have Alina Zagitova, continuing kind of a worrying trend in her skating that we've seen since the Grand Prix Final, and then Russian Nationals, and now here, kind of faltering in the Free Skate. It's just upsetting to see her have these kinds of issues that she's been having with her jumps, and her reactions that she's had in the Kiss and Cry. Oh god, my heart breaks for her.

Kat: Honestly, is it sad that when I saw the Free Skate I was like "You know... This isn't as bad as I thought it could have gone."

Kite: It was pretty bad...

Kat: The thing is though is that I feel like whenever I see Alina skate she either nails it, obviously, or really grits it out, like she did at Grand Prix Final with like a minor mistake, or she just completely melts down. So as soon as she fell on that triple Lutz-triple toe I was like "Oh, it's all over for her." But she brought it back a little (Kite: Did she?) like she didn't completely meltdown like she did at Russian Nationals or at Worlds, is what I'm saying.

Kite: Well yeah, I mean, I guess.

Kat: It's not as bad as it could have been, basically.

Evie: Oh yeah, definitely.

Kite: It could always be worse. Just different benchmarks, I guess.

Evie: That's the motto for figure skating - it could always be worse.

Kat: I don't know, it was labored, for sure. And she still ended up second, so it wasn't as tragic.

Kite: Yeah, when we say she's having a really tough time, she's still getting second or higher at all of her events. But I'm going to be totally honest, it's getting really hard to watch her. Every time I'm watching live I don't even breath until she goes into the first jump and whether or not she lands it determines whether I'm going to continue watching. But you can see that her jumps are getting more labored and underrotated, literally at every competition. Her jumps looked so much worse.

Evie: Especially her Flip and her Lutz. She obviously had problems in her free skate with them. But in the short program, her landings on those weren’t great, they were quite shaky and there was quite a lot of ice spray when she landed them. And then in the free skate obviously she had those issues. problems. So I’m just so worried for the future...of her in general, but just… these consistent problems she’s been having with her jumps. Her team really needs to look at her technique and work on the issues she’s been having all throughout this season so far.

Kat: Do you remember in her free skate that really tragic - I think it was a triple Lutz triple loop attempt where she didn’t even get off the ice and kind of almost marked it and did a single loop or something?

Kite: It was a triple flip. So she missed her opening combo and then she was going to put the triple loop on the second triple Lutz but she ended up putting her hand down so she couldn’t get it so she went for the flip-loop which I don’t even know she trains. They should train her for a flip-loop, they gotta have one of them, because her flip is much better than her Lutz.

Kat: She just looks exhausted and it’s just really sad to me. Remember how less than a year ago, she could casually tack on a triple loop to another triple Lutz on a fully backloaded free skate like… good times guys.

Kite: Well I mean obviously she’s grown a lot since then. And again, this is something that her team should really look at, which is they need to teach her the kind of technique that will last her throughout her growth and throughout her body changing because you can see she is swinging her shoulders like crazy before she even gets off the ground for her toe jumps. It worked up until a point, it worked probably until the end of last season and it’s not working anymore.

Kat: I feel like the only jump I can watch her do now is the double Axel.

Kite: Yeah she goes for the double Axel and I’m like ‘she’s going to nail it.’ It almost seems a little harsh to say this but the fact that she had three clean jumping passes in the free skate and no clean combos and still got the highest PCS of the event just really hammers home how ridiculous her scores have been in the past season and a half. And now her jumps are sometimes here and sometimes not, you can see the discrepancy between her performance and how she’s rewarded for it. And again this just an example of inflation doing the skaters no favours.

Evie: Honestly, I think that part of the problem could also just be the pressure of the competition because we saw in the exhibition when she was skating her program, she was nailing her Flip, she was nailing her Lutz. Both those jumps were looking really really solid in the gala. So it could just be that the pressure of competition - knowing her record, knowing the fact that she is the Olympic champion...all of that pressure going into it could be having some sort of effect on her skating as a whole.

Kite: I think we also need to consider the environment she trains in and the environment and that she works in day to day. There was a video that surfaced of Alina in practice at Euros and apparently she was having a really rough practice and Eteri at the end just stormed out basically, and someone caught her on a fancam. And also she trains with the Russian girls who are doing quads. Like Trusova and Shcherbakova and Kostornaia are her training mates so she sees the competition that’s coming up next season and that can’t be easy for her to go out as the woman to beat still and have that hanging over her. There’s definitely more at play here than just the fact her technique isn’t solid but it still is really really tough to watch. I want to say I really hope she pull it back together and have a performance she can be proud of at Worlds but at this point, I just want her to be healthy and to enjoy what she’s doing. That’s it now.

Evie: That’s the number one thing, yeah. In third place we have Viveca Lindfors of Finland. Kind of a surprise bronze medallist. She did have a pretty good early season, she had a bronze medal at Finlandia and then another one in December at Golden Spin. She had a top ten finish at Grand Prix Helsinki. I personally was surprised to see her podium here. Personally, her skating to me isn’t completely refined, she still has kind of a juniorish quality to me but she definitely has the best consistency of the Finnish ladies, I mean, extremely impressive to see at Euros.

Kat: I was so impressed by her triple Lutz triple toe, it’s huge. She gets so much height and distance.

Evie: Both Viveca and Emmi [Peltonen]; Emmi has a really huge triple Lutz as well but she has trouble controlling it; the axis just goes wonky and she can’t control the landing but Viveca has a lot more control over the jump and it’s impressive as hell.

Kat: For sure, I definitely agree, she could definitely use some more refinement but it’s a great showing for her. She is skating to Phantom [of the Opera] and Les Mis which are very, very expressive music and help people who are working on their expression emote more so I think this is just more like a stepping stone to that maturity.

Kite: So the Russian lady who did not make the podium unfortunately was Stanislava Konstantinova. She had a pretty disastrous short program where she ended up popping one of her jumps and then missing the combo and falling and was eleventh after the short. Managed to pull herself up to fourth with the second highest free skate score, which is pretty impressive but again, this has been the trend with her all season in that she struggles to put together two good programs at big competitions. I think she was sub 60 in the short program here, which would have put her in the bottom of the top 20 at Worlds last season. So, again, this is really not the season for RusFed to be screwing around with their spots and messing with politics, it’s time to ensure you can have three spots for all the juniors coming up next season. Right now, it really does seem to be between her and Sofia for the Worlds spot and it’s like… RusFed do this one thing right, send Sofia to Worlds and everyone can go home happy.

Kat: They’ll definitely send Alina and Elizaveta most likely…

Kite: So Mishin said RusFed told him to train Liza for Worlds. If she’s healthy I think she’s going to get the second spot.

Evie: They’re going to make the decision after a National competition that’s going to be happening in a couple of weeks, the one Evgenia is going to be at, and then they’re going to make the decision about who to send to Worlds. I agree Liza’s earned her spot

Kat: I think that Sofia would go. What else could she do? She literally just won the European title. Sofia will be fantastic, she will not disappoint...oh god, I really hope I didn’t just jinx her… I believe in you Sofia.

Evie: Just a little quick shoutout to Alexia Paganini of Switzerland. This is the second time this season that she’s ended up in the top three after a short program, the first being at Rostelecom and now here. It’s so good to see her do so well overall, I’m a really big fan of hers. I just really wish she would, you know, put it all together in the free skate. I don’t know if it’s nerves going into the free knowing that she is in contention for a medal or… she skated last in the free here, and that’s a lot of pressure so I really hope she’ll be able to put it together later if she does end up in that kind of position again because she really is quite a lovely skater.

-end segment- 1:08:33

START: Shout Out of the Week

Evie: Our shout-out of the week for the week is to Javier Fernandez, our seven time consecutive European champion who is sadly retiring right now, after Euros. We’re just...we’re all very sad.

Kat: It’s just so funny to me because like. We knew this. We knew this for an entire year, we knew that Javi was going to retire at Euros and yet we’re still like ‘No Javi, please reconsider, don’t go, you can’t really be retiring.’ Everyone was just in a perpetual state of denial for the past 11 months

Kite: I mean I’ve been watching him for seven seasons now and it’s...I don’t know, the happiness and the charm and the charisma he brings to the ice is something I’ve never really seen in anyone else. His presence just makes you want to smile.

Kat: He’s charming, he’s just got such a charisma and a charm to him that’s so unique and will be dearly missed.

Evie: He’s going to really leave a big gap in the field leaving skating and just...I think so many of us are going to miss his presence at competitions.

Kat: I’m so happy that he’s retiring basically a national hero, he deserves it. This was always his dream. He’s said that after this, he’s probably going to continue with his shows and tours but he wants to start a skating school in Spain so he can bring up the young talents in Spain, it just makes me so warm inside hearing him about wanting to start a school in Spain, Javi would be such a great teacher, honestly.

Kite: He’s really paving the way, I think, for Spanish skating which, as we know, is a very tiny federation. Like they have Javi and they have a couple of ice dancers and that’s basically it. But I really think that now that he’s become such an icon in his country and is well know, that he’s going to be able to spark this renaissance of Spanish skating, the same way that Kim Yuna did for Korean skaters. Wherever his path takes him, I just want to be privileged enough to follow it. And I’m so happy that he’s going to stay in skating for the foreseeable future and we’re still gonna be able to watch him even if it’s not in competition. It’s been such a gift, even though he won’t be competing anymore, just all the memories he’s left us with, I’m going to cherish.

Kat: I can’t wait to see coach Javi beside the boards (Evie: Oh my god I will cry!) yelling and slapping the boards, Brian-style and jumping up and down and just being his big, smiley, happy self.

Kite: Well he still will be technically still be competing at the Japan Open so it’s just like clinging onto hope he’s not retired yet, he can’t be fully retired until he stops competing.

Kat: Listen Javi, that offer for the eighth European title is still there so (Evie: Just come along!) you can beat that record.

-end segment- 1:11:45

START: Outro

Kat: Thank you for listening, we hope to see you again for our next episode which will be about US and Canadian Nationals!

Kite: If you want to get in touch with us, then please feel free to contact us via our website inthelopodcast.com or on Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook. You can find our episodes on Youtube, iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher and Spotify.

Evie: If you enjoy the show, and want to help support the team, then please consider making a donation to us on our ko-fi page, and we’d like to give a huge thank you to all the listeners who have contributed to our team thus far.

Kat: You can find the links to all our social media pages and our ko-fi on the website.

Kite: If you’re listening on iTunes, please consider leaving a rating and a review if you enjoyed the show. Thanks for listening, this has been Kite,

Kat: Kat,

Evie: And Evie. See you soon!