New pairs champions were crowned on the final day of competition at the 2020 Russian Championships. With bronze in their pocket from 2018, Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii were looking to move up in the standings this season. Second after the short program, the St. Petersburg duo did not put a foot wrong in their free skate to Sofia Karlberg’s “Writing’s on the Wall,” executing clean side-by-side triple jumps, including a three-jump combination, along with Level 4s for all but one of their elements.

To the delight of the sold-out audience inside the Platinum Arena in Krasnoyarsk, Boikova and Kozlovskii, the final skaters in the pairs competition, captured their first national crown on Saturday evening. The duo won the free skate with 153.37 points, giving them a cushion of 3.99 points over the runners-up in that segment, and with 233.36 in total, claimed the title by the slimmest of margins.

“Everyone wants to win. It doesn’t matter how big the difference in points is — if it is one point or half a point or a tenth of a point,” said Kozlovskii in reference to their winning margin of 0.47 of a point. “The goal is to skate clean and not to beat someone. At the end of the performance, I was just happy that we had skated clean. To become Russian champion for the first time is something special and memorable, that’s why I was so emotional.”

When asked if she had heard any of the scores for the other competitors, Boikova said, “I never listen to the score of the others and I did not know what they got. I always try to just look calm, to show that everything is fine.”

Though two-time national champions, Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov did not fall or make a major error, there were small hiccups on a couple of the elements, which were reflected in a few low grade of execution (GOE) scores. Their side-by-side double toe-double toe combination was hit with all minus GOEs. The team finished in second place with 233.19 points. “It is a bit upsetting, but the result was to be expected after my mistake,” Tarasova said. “The most important competitions are still to come. We see the results of our work and we’ll continue to work in that direction.”

Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin finished third with a total tally of 219.72. “We did not see the scores of the others. We just focused on ourselves and gave everything we had for the free skate,” said Khodykin.

Boikova and Kozlovskii and Tarasova and Morozov are guaranteed a trip to the 2020 European Championships by virtue of their first- and second-place finishes. Who will get the third spot will be announced on Monday.

It was a disappointing competition for Anastasia Mishina and Alexander Galliamov, the 2019 Grand Prix Final bronze medalists. Though they skated a solid performance and finished third in the free, they were unable to make up the difference after a disastrous short program left them in eighth place. They finished fourth with 212.85 points. “We were not in a good mood, but we were able to recover and get used to the situation that we would be in the second warm-up group for the free skate. The lesson for me is probably to worry less,” Mishina explained.

Following the short program Galliamov said they would take a walk and move on from the experience. “Though it was really cold, we went to the Krasnoyarsk Eiffel Tower that everyone had recommended to us. We dressed up in everything we had, with training trousers and jeans, and all the jackets that we had. We tried to distract ourselves as much as possible.

“This competition taught us that it is not worth it to give up after the first day, but, on the opposite, to work even harder. As a close person told me, there are no highs without lows — this is the nature of sport. We have just to approach it the right way. There will be other competitions and we just need to use them to get the maximum out of them. Each competition is important and you have to approach each one with responsibility.”

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