Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii of Russia maintained their overnight lead to a Grand Prix victory at the 2021 French Open on Saturday. His teammates Iuliia Artemeva and Mikhail Nazarychev won the silver medal, while Americans Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier earned a place to take bronze.
Boikova and Kozlovskii opened their routine with strong side-to-side Triple Salchows, but Boikova then pulled out the side-to-side triple toe combination and then came out of a thrown triple loop. The rest of the program at “Malaguena” was clean, with the world championship bronze medalist showing a solid triple twist and level four lifts, as well as a thrown triple flip. The team had the best record of the new season with 139.79 for the first place in the free skate and remained in first place overall (216.96).
“We fulfilled our minimum task of qualifying for the Grand Prix final,” said Kozlovskii. “It was a lot easier to skate today because it’s our second competition. We skated a lot better than Skate America, so there is progress, which is the most important.
“There were some really stupid little mistakes, but that’s why the competitions are there, to progress from one to the other,” added Boikova.
Their goal is to skate cleaner and do more work on the free skate. They believe that the short program has already progressed a lot and is heading in the right direction.
Artemeva and Nazarychev opened with a side-to-side double Axel-Euler-triple Salchows and a thrown triple twist, however, Artemeva doubled up and came out of the triple toes. This was the only mistake in an otherwise good routine that featured a triple flip and triple loop throw as well as level four lifts, death spiral, and spin. The 2020 World Juniors bronze medalists set a new personal best of 132.13 for second place in the free skate and a total score of 205.15.
“We are happy for today,” Nazarychev said. “There was a mistake, a big mistake, but overall it was a good performance. We set ourselves goals to do well in the Grand Prix and I think we achieved that goal. “
The Perm team will have to wait and see if their Grand Prix Series silver and bronze medals lead them to the final.
Knierim and Frazier, who were fourth after the short program, were third in the free skate (131.54) and overall (201.69). The United States champions only got a level two on the triple twist and Frazier fell on the triple toe side-to-side combination, but the rest of their routine was clean. They showed a solid throwing triple loop, as well as side-to-side triple salchows, throwing triple flip and level four lifts, death spiral and spinning.
“I actually think it was reasonable to keep our energy up after the fall, which is very unusual for Brandon,” Knierim said. “I think we did a good job today!”
“We are very happy to win our first Grand Prix medal,” she added. “We left a few points on the table today, but we made a lot of big improvements from our last event. We have plans to continue to improve and we are proud of the work today.
Asked about coaching, Knierim said, “Sometimes I see myself in my students and sometimes I see they are stressed about little, unimportant things. So I try to calm them down and try to teach myself the same as I teach them.
Canada’s Vanessa James and Eric Radford slipped from third to fourth after receiving no points on the combined spin and interrupting a Group 5 Axel lift. Elsewhere showed a good triple twist, side to side triple toe-double toe-double toe and triple Salchow side-to-side throw.
“The first half of our program went really well,” noted Radford. “And then the unfortunate incident with the elevator happened. It is sad.
“The enthusiastic audience really helped us a lot and made us feel right at home,” said James. “It’s the biggest confidence we’ve felt since we started skating together. We lost about 13 points on easy elements today, which we usually never miss, but we’re proud to have pulled off the tough ones.
“We really feel connected to this piece of music, so even though the track is called ‘Falling’ it lifts us up,” Radford said.
Italians Rebecca Ghilardi and Filippo Ambrosini finished fifth overall (176.19), followed by Hungarians Yulia Chtchetinina and Mark Magyar (152.76), French Camille Kovalev and Pavel Kovalev (151.98) and their teammates Coline Keriven and Noel-Antoine Pierre (149,48).