TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — Mark Kondratiuk survived some shaky landings to win the men’s gold medal as his two fellow Russians faded at the European figure skating championships on Friday.
The 18-year-old Kondratiuk was battling teammates Andrei Mozalev and Evgeni Semenenko after Wednesday’s short program and was twice in danger of falling in the free skate. However, he managed to hold on to his landings on a triple axel and on one of his three quadruple jumps to score a total of 286.56 points.
That gave Russia its second victory of the championships after Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov in the pairs on Thursday, though Kondratriuk was still critical of his skate, which he said should have been “more emotional.”
Daniel Grassl took a surprise silver for Italy on 274.48 after starting his free skate with three impressive quad jumps and there was bronze on 272.08 for Deniss Vasiljevs, winning Latvia’s first ever medal at the European championships at his sixth attempt.
Skating last, short program leader Mozalev dropped out of the medals entirely when he tripled a quad salchow and a later triple salchow was ruled invalid as a repeat element. That dropped him to fourth, more than six points off Vasiljevs.
Semenenko placed fifth as he doubled a quad salchow and struggled with other landings.
Mozalev, skating as a replacement for the injured Mikhail Kolyada, had been hoping to impress Russian officials to earn a spot on next month’s Olympic team.
Earlier, Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov took the lead in the ice dance after the rhythm dance.
With four-time world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron staying away from the event to reduce the risk of catching the coronavirus before next month’s Olympics, Sinitsina and Katsalapov took a step toward retaining the European title.
Skating to “You Can Leave Your Hat On” and “Brick House,” Sinitsina and Katsalapov scored 87.89 points, just ahead of Russian teammates Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin with 86.45.
Sinitsina and Katsalapov beat Papadakis and Cizeron to the European title in 2020 but haven’t competed against one another since.
Italian pair Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri are in third place with 83.35 points. The free dance is on Saturday.