The third event on the modified Grand Prix roster, 2020 Rostelecom Cup, will play out at the Megasport Arena in Moscow Nov. 20-22.
On Aug. 26, the government announced it had removed all restrictions for foreign athletes, coaches and specialists in the field of physical education to enter the country, which opened the door for skaters (and particularly those in neighbouring countries) to participate in this competition. The Russian government expressed the belief this would facilitate border crossings for those participating in international competitions, including professional sports. The order also lifts restrictions on the travel of foreign athletes who enter by road, rail and at other checkpoints.
Rostelecom Cup will be a melting pot of Russia′s best in all four disciplines. In normal times, the top Russian skaters and teams would each be assigned to two of the six events and would not usually go head-to-head until the Grand Prix Final. This year, with that option not available, this competition will be fireworks on ice. It will also be the only truly international Grand Prix event this season, with skaters/teams from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Hungary, Lithuania and Ukraine slated to compete.
In ladies, Anna Shcherbakova withdrew on the eve of the competition citing illness. The outcome of this competition is something no one can predict in advance but Alexandra Trusova is at the top of the list of contenders. This event will be the showdown of the season with a number of contenders aiming to claim the top step of the podium.
Mikhail Kolyada has been on fire at every competition he has contested thus far, and is the odds-on favorite to win the Rostelecom Cup title (his first) in his fifth appearance. (Kolyada’s best placement to date was third in 2017). His main challengers are Dmitri Aliev and Andrei Mozalev.
Artur Danielian is out of the competition. The 16-year-old underwent ankle surgery in Germany in October and is currently wearing a brace. ″Since this week, little by little they have begun to restore his leg, but no one knows how long this recovery will take, so we are not planning anything in the near future,″ Buyanova explained. Alexander Samarin has also withdrawn due to injury.
Pairs will be another hotly-contested affair, with reigning European champions Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii going up against their training mates Anastasia Mishina and Alexander Galliamov. Both Galliamov and Morozov were sidelined for a few weeks in the fall after contracting the coronavirus, but were in good form at Stage IV of the Russian Cup in mid-November. Reigning World junior champions Apollinariia Panfilova and Dmitry Rylov, who have not yet made an appearance this season, are on the roster for this competition.
Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov and Tiffani Zagorski and Jonathan Guerreiro will capture the top two spots. Sinitsina has been dealing with injuries, but it is anticipated she will be ready for this competition. Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin withdrew on Nov. 16. ″The guys will miss the Grand Prix in Moscow because they have not fully recovered from the coronavirus. Unfortunately, almost everyone in our group has been ill,″ said their coach Irina Zhuk.
COMPETITION SCHEDULE (MOSCOW TIME)
|Fri. Nov. 20
1:30 p.m. – Men′s Short
3:30 p.m. – Rhythm Dance
5:00 p.m. – Opening Ceremony
6:00 p.m. – Pairs Short
7:25 p.m. – Ladies Short
|Sat. Nov. 21
1:30 p.m. – Men′s Free
3:40 p.m. – Free Dance
5:30 p.m. – Pairs Free
7:10 p.m. – Ladies Free
|Sun. Nov. 22
2:00 p.m. – Awards Ceremony
3:00 p.m. – Gala Exhibition
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