Boikova and

The Grand Prix Final seemed to mark a turning point for Russia’s rising pairs team, Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii. A disappointing fourth-place finish in Torino appears to have inspired the duo to achieve greater heights and better results.

Two weeks after the Final in mid-December, the duo claimed their first national title. They carried that momentum into the 2020 European Championships and from the outset it was no contest in Graz. Boikova and Kozlovskii led Russia to its 16th sweep of a European pairs podium by winning both the short and long programs and capturing their first European crown by a 25.94-point margin over the silver medalists.

Skating to music from a variety of James Bond movies, Boikova and Kozlovskii executed a flawless performance in the free that earned them a new personal best score of 152.24 and 234.58 points in total.

“That was one of the hardest free skates we’ve done recently,” Kozlovskii admitted. “Usually you focus on the difficult elements and other elements you do on autopilot, but today all elements demanded concentration. We’re happy we were able to deal with that specific pressure. We had to focus and expend our energy to take one element at a time. We really had to fight for the performance.”

Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov had to settle for silver, their second in as many years. The two-time European champions ranked third in the short program and even though their free skate had its problems, what they did was enough to move them up one spot to finish second with 208.64 points and claim their sixth consecutive Europeans medal. “The feelings are not the nicest, but there are some positive sides,” said Tarasova. “We have a great program and we are managing to bring it across. The elements … we’ll nail them, but the emotions and the feelings are one of the most important things to show, and that is something that requires a lot of work.”
   
Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin finished third capturing their first European medal with 206.53 points. The duo’s long program was highlighted by their attempt to land rare side-by-side triple flip jumps. Both were a little shaky on the landings. “It’s our first European medal and our journey just begins,” said Khodykin. “We know what to work on, what to improve, but we are enjoying our skating.”

Italy’s Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise, finished fourth for the second year in a row (194.44 points). Minerva Fabienne Hase and Nolan Seegert of Germany landed in fifth with 186.39 points, and the hometown team of Miriam Ziegler and Kiefer Severin rounded out the top six (177.41 points).

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