The 2018 Russian Championships take place in St. Petersburg, Dec. 21-24, 2017.
At the 2017 World Championships, Russia automatically earned three berths in the ladies and pairs events and two in men and ice dance to the upcoming Olympic Winter Games. The competition for those spots will be fierce.
Evgenia Medvedeva, sidelined with a metatarsal injury in November, withdrew from the Grand Prix Final, and on Dec. 18, withdrew from this competition. These Championships will determine who represents Russia at 2018 Europeans, the Olympic Winter Games and the World Championships. As the frontrunner to claim Olympic gold in PyeongChang, there can be little doubt that Medvedeva will be selected for the team despite her absence, given her winning streak the past two seasons.
Four other ladies will be chasing the remaining two berths: Alina Zagitova, Maria Sotskova, Polina Tsurskaya, and Elena Radionova. This will be the first Olympic Winter Games for any of the ladies that qualify.
In the men’s event, Mikhail Kolyada, the 2017 national champion, is the frontrunner to earn an Olympic berth. Sergei Voronov, 30, has had one of the best seasons of his career and will be looking to earn his first trip to the Olympics. Another strong contender could be Dmitri Aliev, who is in his first season as a senior. Maxim Kovtun withdrew from the free at Skate America citing injury. It was his only event this season. As with the ladies, whoever earns the berths will make their Olympic debut in PyeongChang.
Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov are a shoe-in for a place on the Olympic team as are Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov, the 2014 Olympic silver medalists. Third place is up for grabs.
Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Solovyev — who are likely retiring at the end of this season — will have no trouble earning a place on the Olympic team. Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin will likely be the second team, given their results so far this season. If they do make the cut, Bukin will write a little piece of familial history. The 2018 Games will mark 30 years since his father, Andrei, and his partner Natalia Bestemianova, won the Olympic ice dance title at the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, Canada.
At a pre-event press conference, the president of the Russian Federation, Alexander Gorshkov said the federation has no confidence that ice dancers Elena Ilinykh and Anton Shibnev (who will not compete at this event) will continue to skate together. “As for Lena and Shibnev, the situation is somewhat more complicated: we still do not have confidence that they will skate in this combination.”
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2018 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS PREVIEW