Medvedeva v Tuktamysheva: Talented twosome set to battle for World Championships spot

Medvedeva v Tuktamysheva: Talented twosome set to battle for World Championships spot
Russian figure skating stars Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and Evgenia Medvedeva will vie for the third and final spot on the national team, competing in a battle at the Cup of Russia in Veliky Novgorod this week.

The two prominent skaters will be among those in contention for the sole remaining ticket to the 2019 World Championships in Japan next month.

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In accordance with International Skating Union (ISU) rules, the Russian Figure Skating Federation is eligible to send three female skaters to the season-ending event, with two spots already granted to Olympic champion Alina Zagitova and newly-crowned European champion Sofia Samodurova.

Medvedeva, who had long been unbeaten at major tournaments, has been largely unimpressive this season, squandering her previous confidence and self-belief following the split with her former coach.

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The 19-year-old, who was devastated after her second place at the 2018 Olympics in South Korea, decided to part ways with long-term mentor Eteri Tutberidze, moving to Canada to train under Brian Orser.

However, the radical step hasn’t yet paid off for Medvedeva, whose performances this season are a far cry from her best results in pre-Olympic seasons.

The two-time world champion failed to qualify for the Grand Prix final last December and missed a spot on the national squad for the 2019 European Championships.

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Despite her relatively poor skating, Medvedeva was named a reserve athlete for the continental tournament, securing a chance to qualify for the World Championships.

In contrast with Medvedeva, Tuktamysheva has been solid and stable this season, wowing figure skating pundits with her signature triple axel, which she has managed to restore.

She could have participated in the European Championships had it not been for a bout of pneumonia, which forced the skater to skip the selective tournament in Russia where national team members were chosen.

Apart from Tuktamysheva’s impressive results, her jaw-dropping exhibition routine has also made her one of the most discussed skaters this season.

Her routine to the music of Britney Spears’ “Toxic”, which was first demonstrated at the Skate Canada event, triggered a so-called stripping tendency in figure skating, with more and more athletes following the popular new trend.

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It remains to be seen who will be better prepared for the upcoming event in Veliky Nivgorod, with both skaters having equal chances of taking a spot to the worlds.

Stanislava Konstantinova, who finished fourth at the European Championships, will also try to seal the last chance of being selected to the national team.

The competition will run from February 18 till 22, with the country’s roster for the world tournament being announced by the end of the week.