Figure Skating

Alina Zagitova joins Trusova and Valieva to dazzle at Rostelecom Cup Gala in Moscow

Alina Zagitova joined the sparkling line-up as Alexandra Trusova, Kamila Valieva, and Andrei Mozalev put on a show at the Russian Grand Prix exhibition skate

By Ken Browne ·

Alina Zagitova was back on the ice in Moscow on Sunday (22nd November) at the Rostelecom Cup 2020 Gala, much to the delight of the socially distanced figure skating fans in the stands.

The reigning Olympic and World champion skated to Outro by M83, one of her exhibitions from last season, with her artistry as powerful and captivating as ever in a sparkling blue outfit.

Zagitova pulled from her dress a white flower that 'grows', right at the end of her performance while lying on the ice, drawing a big reaction from the Russian crowd.

A single fall on a jump revealed a little rust on some of the technical elements from the 18-year-old, who has not competed since last year's Grand Prix Final in Turin.

In her absence from the ISU Russian Grand Prix event, 2015 world champion Elisaveta Tuktamysheva stunned Alena Kostornaia and Alexandra Trusova to take the ladies' singles title on Saturday.

Fellow Russian star Evgenia Medvedeva is being treated for coronavirus having pulled out of the competition with a back injury.

Alexandra Trusova back and smiling

Trusova skated to 'Game of Survival' by Ruelle a day after she suffered four falls and finished out of the medal positions in the Rostelecom Cup competition.

It was a typically emotive and expressive performance from the 16-year-old on Sunday, an exhibition of physical strength and mind-bending flexibility.

Trusova also showed her mental strength, smiling and waving enthusiastically to fans and the camera post-performance.

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Kamila Valieva delivers once more

Right after Trusova, 2020 junior world champion Kamila Valieva was up to deliver her lesson in elegance, skating to 'The Girl on the Ball', music inspired by Pablo Picasso's famous painting.

At 14, Valieva is yet another young talent to emerge from Eteri Tutberidze's Sambo-70 training group.

She was second to Trusova last month in Stage 2 of the Cup of Russia having led after the short program.

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Andrei Mozalev joins the fun

World junior champ Andrei Mozalev also performed at the gala.

The 17-year-old lost out to Japanese rising star Kagiyama Yuma at the Lausanne 2020 Winter YOG, but reversed the placings at the Junior Worlds in Tallinn.

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Zagitova's plans

With Beijing 2022 just over a year away, will the Olympic champ get back on the circuit and defend the gold medal she won at PyeongChang 2018 at just 15 years of age?

A year ago this weekend, Zagitova talked about how quads were "too dangerous for her" as she watched her three younger training partners at the time - Trusova, Kostornaia and Anna Shcherbakova - sweep all before them.

Now, 12 months later, a return to competitive ice seems a long way off with Zagitova saying earlier this month she wasn't sure about making a return to competitive skating.

"Will I return to sports? We'll see," she said, going on to talk about how the coronavirus pandemic had cancelled or postponed so many competitions this season like Skate Canada, the Internationaux de France, the Grand Prix Final...

"It is a difficult situation for the whole sport."

Zagitova also spoke about not letting the negative noise on social media affect her. "I have a good attitude towards haters. I used to pay a lot of attention to them," she said.

A comeback will have to wait until at least 2021 with the Russian Figure Skating Federation confirming she would not compete this season.

Zagitova: Ice Age with Alexei Yagudin and Olga Buzova

It seems Russia's teen queen is keeping her focus on co-hosting the skating reality programme Ice Age with 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic champ Alexei Yagudin.

On the day of her gala performance in Moscow, her Instagram account was all about the show with Zagitova posting pictures with co-host Yagudin and Russian megastar Olga Buzova from filming.

Buzova is a singer and celebrity in Russia and one of the most successful entertainers of her generation with over 21 million followers on Instagram - the most followed Russian individual on the social media platform.

Zagitova during the filming of Ice Age with co-host Alexei Yugudin. Picture from @azagitova Instagram stories
Zagitova with with singer and presenter Olga Buzova from Ice Age Show (1)