The main event of the last Moscow sixth stage of the Russian Figure Skating Grand Prix was, of course, the victory of Kamila Valieva in the women's competition. A victory won against much odds, a victory for an athlete who was not broken by circumstances.
Valieva is the tragic talent of the Russian “figure” of recent years. The doping scandal that erupted shortly before the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing seemed to bring the sky down on Camila. Her excuses looked pale, especially against the backdrop of massive defamation in the international press, which fell not only on her, but also on the entire figure skating system in Russia, which supposedly prepares precocious broilers who, thanks to chemistry, quickly produce results and just as quickly fall off the pedestals. .
Each skater responded to this with victories. Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova had medals in Beijing, but Valieva had an unfortunate fall and only fourth place. Then it seemed that she would not rise. But she returned and began to win.
At the stage in Moscow, her leadership was not shaken even by falls while performing a quadruple toe loop and a triple lutz. According to the sum of the compulsory and free programs, Kamila scored 226.22 points, ahead of Veronica Yametova, who won silver, by almost 22 points. In her free program, Valieva made a technical error by performing two sequences (jump combinations with a pause), while the regulations allow only one. Kamila, we must give her credit, reacted almost Nordically, dividing responsibility for the shortcoming between the coaches and herself.
You can guess as much as you like what Valieva’s result would have been if the same Shcherbakova, Trusov and Tuktamysheva had taken to the ice, but does this make sense? They can afford to calmly perform in ice shows, but Kamila has no time for peace. Moreover, now she is experiencing maturation, and at the same time biomechanical changes. This is also noted by the discerning Tatyana Tarasova:
“Kamila Valieva skated very well. She was the undisputed leader, she made a mistake, but this is nonsense, everything can be fixed. She is in good physical shape. I see that she is taking care of herself, she has recovered almost everything. Well done. She has grown a lot,” she said she is in conversation with RIA Novosti.
Vice-world champion Alena Leonova also agrees with the venerable coach.
“Camila is just a goddess - she looks much better, she’s noticeably lost weight, it’s cool. Today she was simply incredible, even despite these falls. In any case, she will do this sheepskin coat, and a fall on the Lutz is a loss of concentration. It was cool, and what As for her program, it hit the mark. And the short one was dazzling,” TASS quotes her as saying.
Meanwhile, less than three weeks remain until the Russian Championship, which Valieva is approaching as a favorite. She is already accustomed to increased attention, especially since the story with doping and appealing the punishment is not over yet: the verdict of the Court of Arbitration for Sport is expected in February 2024. But, no matter what it becomes, today we see a new Valieva - one who has learned to overcome and has not forgotten how to win.