It will be a do-or-die situation for a number of skaters at the 2018 European Championships, which take place in Moscow, Russia, Jan. 17-21.
Nations that have not already named their 2018 Olympic representatives will do so after this competition. Some skaters will be in a skate-off for a berth to PyeongChang, while others are all but guaranteed a place on their national team.
This competition will be the first international face-off between two Russian champions — Evgenia Medvedeva and Alina Zagitova. Both are almost shoe-ins for the Olympic Games nominations, but it will be an interesting showdown if both skate up to their capabilities.
Spain’s Javier Fernández will be chasing a sixth historic title in Moscow. The Spanish star has confirmed this will be his final Olympic cycle so going out on top and setting himself up as a medal contender at the Games will be paramount.
Three of the top four teams eligible to compete at Europeans — Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov, and Vanessa James and Morgan Ciprès — will be in a battle for a podium finish and looking to send a message that they will be gold medal contenders in Korea in February. Germany’s Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot have withdrawn. An official announcement stated the team wants to use the time to prepare for the Olympic Winter Games.
The Czech pairs team of Anna Dušková and Martin Bidař have also withdrawn. Dušková suffered a knee ligament injury in late 2017 and subsequently underwent surgery. The duo, who withdrew from their two Grand Prix assignments, have not competed since Nebelhorn Trophy in late September, where they earned a berth at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
Germany’s Peter Liebers withdrew on Wednesday following the morning practice, citing injury. According to the medical bulletin, Liebers aggravated an injury to his right knee and is unable to compete.
French stars, Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, are on a golden roll this season and should have no problem claiming their fourth consecutive European title in Moscow. The battle for silver and bronze will be between a number of teams, including Russia’s Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Solovyev and Italy’s Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte. Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland from Great Britain could also be in the mix for a podium finish.
Russian news sources report that Evgeni Plushenko and his young son, Alexander, will perform together in the opening ceremony at Europeans. Plushenko will also play a football game with Fernández in Moscow’s Red Square on Jan. 15. His coach Brian Orser confirmed to IFS this game will not be performed on an ice surface.
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2018 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS REVIEW