Figure Skating: Channel One Cup to be held in Saransk on the same week as the World Championships – an elegant response to sanctions

An elegant response to sanctions. Russia will host a super skating tournament directly during the World Cup

Jekaterina Avdoninov√°

The Channel One Cup will take place in Saransk

The Channel One Cup will surely overtake boring competitions in Montpellier. Our officials timed the tournament perfectly!

The very unpleasant news was the exclusion of Russian skaters from all international starts. Our athletes, who were conscientiously preparing for the World Championships in Montpellier, were forced to end the Olympic season in advance, but only in the foreign arena. Within the country, they still have to present themselves at the Channel One Cup, which has been decided to take place at the same time as the world championship.

Officials did not tolerate injustice to our athletes and responded to sanctions in the most elegant way. Low viewership and the absence of any intrigues due to low competition – this awaits spectators at the World Cup.

Only ISU officials will suffer from the decision not to release Russian representatives to France, and our show tournament will be watched by millions of people around the world.

Nice end of the season for skaters

After the Beijing Olympics, Russian figure skaters faced a difficult test. The announcement that our competitors would not be admitted to the World Championships in Montpellier was a real blow to everyone. This seemed to be the end of the season for the best athletes in the country. The news of the postponement of the Channel One Cup commercial tournament for an indefinite period was not encouraging either – in the current situation, one might think that the competition will be completely canceled. But the officials were still able to find the strength to organize and assured that the Olympians from Russia will get a chance to show their program this year as well.

Not much is known about the cup at the moment, so it is difficult to predict what changes in the format will occur and whether they will occur at all. Previously, the start-up scheme was quite simple: the participants are divided into two teams and compete with each other. In the basic part, the representatives of each of the four disciplines will demonstrate two skates – the number of points of all skaters will be calculated and entered into the overall ranking of the national team. In addition, there is a jumping tournament, where new teams are formed – in the debut show, men fought against women. Our single skaters had to complete three laps. In the first, each participant made one jump, without having to repeat elements of members of the same team. In the second, the athletes presented one of the most difficult jumps in their arsenal. At the end, the skaters jumped a cascade of five elements.

Given the level of the selected participants, all of whom are Russian Olympians, as well as Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and Mikhail Kolyada, the tournament promises to be very interesting. And it will take place, as has recently become known, in Saransk from March 24 to 27.

Russia is the flagship of world figure skating.  We will only benefit from forced isolation
Russia is the flagship of world figure skating. We will only benefit from forced isolation

The Federation strikes back

There is a certain pattern in the selection of dates, because the First Channel Cup was decided to be held on the same week as the World Championship, which will take place from 21 to 27 March. The Russian Federation did not tolerate humiliation by ISU officials who did not let our skaters into the tournament due to political disagreements and returned the organization. Of course, FFKKR officials proceeded more cunningly and did not speak directly about this protest, while maintaining their reputation, but finding a causal link is not that difficult.

“Channel One Cup will be held in Saransk, the dates are the same week as the World Cup. Only MS will start the day before. Is it accidental or not? This is a question from the category “guess yourself”, the president of the Russian figure skating federation Alexander Gorshkov answered the question of RIA Novosti journalists ironically.

The reaction of our officials to the injustice that followed immediately followed, and it seems that only those who imposed them will now suffer sanctions. The fact is that even without medals from the big tournament, Russian skaters will be able to earn well on the show and compensate for the missing prize money from the world championships. In addition, it will be a great practice for them in incredibly comfortable conditions – a famous arena, home audience, fun atmosphere. The competitors will be taken care of by the good mood and the high competition, which the start in France will definitely not praise, will not be praised. Due to the lack of Russian athletes, the attention to the World Cup will be significantly reduced: with the exception of the men’s tournament, all disciplines have lost the leaders, which means that it will be extremely boring to watch what is happening. Experts from all over the world are already sounding the alarm and suggest a record low audience of TV channels that broadcast the world championship.

Russian figure skaters will not compete in the world championships.  What will this mean for world sports?
Russian figure skaters will not compete in the world championships. What will this mean for world sports?

But our media can take Russian figure skating to a new level, completely inaccessible to foreigners. No wonder there is talk of an open championship in Russia. It is therefore too early to panic and bury our sport.

“The isolation of our skaters from the rest of the world is certainly negative, but not fatal. When the Russian gladiators are released on the international scene again, already with an open window, they will show their strength, “says one of the greatest coaches of skaters, Alexei Mishin, and it is difficult to disagree with him.

Ferdinand Medina

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