The 2021 Russian Championships take place at the Traktor Ice Arena in Chelyabinsk, Dec. 24-27. This competition is the primary qualifying event to earn a spot on the World Championships team. In 2018, the Russian federation amended its senior eligibility rules to permit its top junior skaters who are age eligible to compete at the senior level the following season, to compete at senior nationals in the current season.
This competition takes place in the same time span as the 2020 All Japan Championships.
In August, the Russian Figure Skating Federation announced the rules for qualification to the Russian Championships, which required athletes to participate in two stages of the Russian Cup. However, given the number of skaters that were unable to participate in this series due to injury or illness, the federation adjusted its criteria. Only 2300 tickets were sold for this competition (approx. 35% of the venue capacity).
There will be a few familiar names missing from the rosters this year. One of those is Alina Zagitova who is pursuing other options and plans to skate in shows once they resume. Sergei Voronov retired and is now coaching alongside Maxim Trankov. Artur Dmitriev, Jr. is also coaching — he has not formally retired. Ice dancers Betina Popova and Sergei Mozgov split. She retired and he is now skating with a new partner. Maria Sotskova retired in July. She is currently under investigation by RUSADA for alleged doping offences.
Based on the results of 2019 Worlds, three ladies, pairs and ice dance teams and two men will be selected for the 2021 World Championships in Stockholm.
If the results of the 2020 Russian Cup series and the Grand Prix, Rostelecom Cup, are anything to go by, the three top-ranked ladies will likely battle it out for the top step of the podium: Alexandra Trusova, Anna Shcherbakova and Elizaveta Tuktamysheva. Kamila Valieva and Daria Usacheva will compete at the senior level but both will not be age eligible for senior internationals until the 2021-2022 season.
Some of the ladies had their share of downtime in the late fall so how fast they can recover and be ready is a question mark at this time. Shcherbakova, Alena Kostornaia and Tuktamysheva all contracted COVID-19 and are in various stages of recovery. Kostornaia withdrew on Dec. 22. Her coach, Evgeni Plushenko, said that ″she could not prepare after contracting the coronavirus; it is very difficult for her to skate programs in terms of breathing.″
Evgenia Medvedeva, who suffered and was hospitalized with a spinal injury in the fall also contracted a severe case of coronavirus. She will not compete but will perform in the exhibition gala.
The top men in contention for places on the World squad include Mikhail Kolyada, Andrei Mozalev, Petr Gumennik and Evgeny Semenenko. Dmitri Aliev, who contracted pneumonia and the coronavirus in early December, has withdrawn. Roman Savosin announced on Dec. 18 he had withdrawn after contracting COVID-19.
A trio of pairs teams are a pretty solid bet to claim the Worlds berths: Aleksandra Boikova/Dmitrii Kozlovskii — the reigning European champions — Anastasia Mishina/Aleksandr Galliamov and Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov. The male partners in all three teams contracted COVID-19 at various points in the fall but all have recovered. Tarasova reportedly contracted pneumonia in November, which forced the team to miss the Grand Prix.
In ice dance, it was a rough first half of the season for the top three three teams, who all respectively dealt with injury and illness. Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov have withdrawn. While no specific reason was originally given, Katsalapov has revealed they both caught COVID-19 earlier this year; his case was mild but Sinitsina’s was severe and she suffered a partial lung lesion. Tiffani Zagorski and Johnathan Guerreiro will now battle it out with Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin for the top step of the podium.
Russia′s national network Channel 1 will live stream the competition worldwide on its website and on its YouTube channel with Ted Barton hosting the English commentary.
START ORDERS/RESULTS (English)
START ORDERS/RESULTS (Russian)
CHANNEL 1 LIVE STREAM (Russian)
JSPORTS LIVE STREAM (Japan)
CHANNEL 1 YOUTUBE STREAMS (English Commentary)
14:00 – 16:30 – Men′s Short
16:50 – 18:55 – Rhythm Dance
19:15 – 20:00 – Opening Ceremony
20:00 – 22:00 – Pairs Short
13:30 – 15:55 – Free Dance
16:15 – 19:00 – Men′s Free
19:20 – 21:45 – Ladies Short
2021 ALL JAPAN CHAMPIONSHIPS