RussiaAll members of the 2020-2021 national team as well as other high level Russian skaters were scheduled to present their programs at the senior test skates, Sept. 12-13 in Moscow. 

On Sept. 8, the Russian federation announced that two ice dance teams — Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin, Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov — and two men — Dmitri Aliev and Artur Danielyan — have withdrawn from the test skates. Stepanova has a back injury and will go to Germany on Sept. 10 for treatment. Katsalapov is also suffering from back problems. Aliev went to Germany on Sept. 7 to be treated for an inflammation of the hip joint and is now resting at home in St. Petersburg. His coach explained that Aliev had long been bothered by pain in the lower back, which had moved into the right hip joint. Danielyan has an injured ankle, which may force him to also miss the Cup of Russia series.

Two days later, it was learned that Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozpv would not perform at the test skates as they have not yet finalized their long program choice. “The only thing is that there are slight difficulties with the readiness of the free program,″ said Maxim Trankov. ″We are rolling it urgently, and, of course, there will be changes to it, so we are not even sounding the music for it. Not everything is settled yet. They did not have time to change the short one, and, in principle, Marina Zoueva decided to leave it. We made small changes in accordance with the technical requirements of this year.″

Tarasova and Morozov recently returned from the U.S. and are preparing for the Cup of Russia series. They are scheduled to compete at the first two stops in Syzran and Moscow. The duo will then return to the U.S. for Skate America. ″There are no test skates in the plans of the guys, since they have three starts in one month,″ Trankov explained. ″They will perform at the Grand Prix in the United States, as they train in this country on an ongoing basis, and the stages of the Russian Cup are mandatory for selection for the Russian championships.″

Apollinariia Panfilova and Dmitry Rylov announced on Sept. 11 that they are out of the test skates. In an Instagram post, Panfilova explained that Rylov had emergency surgery to remove a cyst, and is now scheduled to have his tonsils removed, which was the underlying cause of the cyst.

The Russian press reported that Tiffany Zahorski caught a mild case of COVID-19 after the national training camp, but is now healthy and she and her partner Jonathan Guerreiro will participate in the test skates.

Alina Zagitova, who was scheduled to debut her new programs at the test skates, has withdrawn. On Sept. 9 she sent a request to the federation stating she had decided not to participate ″because at the moment it is very interesting for me to try myself in a new role as the host of the ′Ice Age′ (a reality television series). I ask you to treat my request with understanding and agree to this decision.″

Responding to the opinion of Irina Rodnina that Zagitova should be removed from the national team, Alexander Gorshkov, the Russian federation president, said: ″Why should I react to what Rodnina said? The noise around Zagitova? Judge for yourself who raises it … Everyone has their own opinion. Zagitova is the current World champion and Olympic champion … She deserves it.″

Fan favorite Sergei Voronov announced his retirement on Sept. 11. In a short Instagram post, the 32-year-old wrote: ″Thank you, thank you, arigato!!! My long journey as an athlete has come to an end! Thanks for this unforgettable time! Time to move on.″

The event will be live streamed on the Channel 1 website and globally on its YouTube channel (links below). Ted Barton will provide English commentary on the YouTube channel. Individual short program videos are HERE. Individual free skates are HERE. A backstage video montage from the test skates is HERE.

Alena Kostornaia will not be presenting a long program on Sunday. Subsequent to her coaching change, she decided to get a new program and is now working via Skype with Shae-Lynn Bourne in California. “Alena’s free program is still raw, so we skated only the short. It is unrealistic to prepare and show both programs in such a short time that Alena came to us,″ said Evgeni Plushenko. “It was my idea to try with Shae-Lynn and I immediately contacted her by phone. We have known Shae-Lynn for a long time, and she gladly agreed. Of course, she would have come to us, staged and worked in Moscow, but because of the pandemic it did not work out and I had to start the production remotely.″ Sofia Samodurova has withdrawn from the free skate due to illness.


(Russia only)

YOUTUBE (Free Skates)


TEAM RUSSIA 2020-2021



A second session of junior test skates will take place on Aug. 26 in Moscow for those who were unable to attend at the test skates last week, along with others that did. The test skates will begin at 8:00 p.m. Moscow time and will be live streamed on YouTube. All the videos from the second test skates are posted here.

The 2020 Russian junior test skates get underway on Mon., Aug. 10 in Novogorsk, and will run through Aug. 19. The test skates will be held in stages, with skaters/teams from each discipline attending separately, starting with the ice dancers (Aug. 10-11).

When the ice dancers leave, the pairs teams will arrive. The singles skaters will attend following the departure of the pairs teams. The singles skaters (ladies and men) will present their programs on August 19. We are awaiting word as to whether there will be a live stream for the test skates as there was last season.

The Russian federation confirmed that all athletes, coaches and officials were tested for coronavirus upon their arrival in Novogorsk on Saturday and that all results came back negative. The same procedure will follow for pairs and the singles skaters. The training centre is in lockdown and the test skates will take place with no live audience.

Kamila Valieva will not present her programs at the junior test skates. The Russian federation has given her an exemption to attend the senior test skates in September. “The athlete has such a level that it makes sense for her to compete in adult competitions where possible. I think it would be right,” said Alexander Gorshkov.

The test skates will be live streamed in Russia on the Channel 1 website. If you missed the live sessions, you can watch them post-event HERE.