A sweep of the women’s medals Friday further stamped Russian dominance of these World Figure Skating Championships.
Yet the two American women did just enough to earn a third berth at next year’s Olympics.
Three-time national champion Anna Shcherbakova made her first appearance at worlds golden despite finishing second to countrywoman Alexandra Trusova in the free skate. Shcherbakova, who turns 17 Sunday, won the short program.
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, the 2015 world champion, earned silver in her return to the event, ahead of Trusova. It was the second 1-2-3 finish in the modern era, matching the United States with Kristi Yamaguchi, Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan in 1991.
This year’s Americans got exactly what they needed to grab a third spot for the Beijing Games. Karen Chen, repeating her fourth-place showing of 2017 with exactly the same prize being sought, and U.S. champion Bradie Tennell, who was ninth, needed a total of 13 places or less.
Even though she fell on two jumps, and two-footed a landing on another, Trusova won the free skate basically because of the unprecedented difficulty of her program, flawed as it was. Her presentation wasn’t outstanding either, but Trusova became the first woman to land multiple quads at worlds by nailing two of the five she attempted.
That vaulted her from 12th to third and was a clear indication the judges favoured technical bravery over artistic brilliance.
Shcherbakova had plenty of both, but seemed stunned as her marks revealed victory. She appeared to need confirmation from her coaches that the gold was hers.
Madeline Schizas of Oakville, Ont., was 13th.
Chen scored a personal-best 134.23 in the free skate, but her overall total of 208.63, also a career high, didn’t get her close to the podium. Still, the team reward was uplifting for the 2017 U.S. gold medallist.
Tennell’s underwhelming performance dropped her to ninth. Tennell cut short on a combination, under-rotated another jump and showed little spark.
Earlier, in the ice dance, Russia extended its dominance at these championships when Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov took the rhythm dance. Already, the Russians have won pairs.
Sinitsina and Katsalapov were in front of U.S. champions Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue by 2.10 points, with fellow Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates exactly three points behind the leaders.
“We have to finish the work that we’ve already done, Sinitsina said. “We came here ready to show our best.”
Piper Gilles of Toronto and Paul Poirier of Unionville, Ont., were fourth. Montreal’s Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sorensen were seventh, while Marjorie Lajoie of Boucherville, Que., and Zachary Lagha of Saint-Hubert, Que., were 14th.
The Russians flowed melodically through their Singin’ in the Rain routine. They had upset four-time world winners Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France at last season’s European Championships, an event not held this year.