Zagitova’s team won the First Channel Cup and prize money of 11 million rubles.
The Red Machine team, captained by 2018 Olympic champion Alina Zagitova, won the First Channel Figure Skating Cup with 2022 Olympic team tournament champion captain Kamila Valieva ahead of They Won’t Catch Us. The competition was marred by the serious injury of Anastasia Zinina from Valieva’s team, so the organizers redraw the rules, causing Zagitova’s dissatisfaction.
The First Channel Cup was held for the third time in a row. The award was filmed this time at the CSKA arena in Moscow. The first tournament was held in 2021 at another metropolitan arena, Megasport, and the second in Saransk in 2022.
Although the Channel One Cup has become traditional, organizers continue to change their rules, and sometimes on the go. Thus, this time the draw was purely nominal: skaters were assigned to the teams in advance, and balls were drawn from the Zagitov and Valiev aquariums only to determine who would get what “ammunition”. The compositions were made as even as possible, but on closer inspection it was possible to determine the slight superiority of the “Red Machine” in pair skates and “They Won’t Catch Us” in singles.
Another novelty of the tournament – the exclusion of dance duets in the competitive program – caused rumors on the sidelines, as no one clearly explained the reasons for such a decision. It is clear that at the moment in Russia there are no active stars in this type of figure skating – Victoria Sinitsina / Nikita Katsalapov and Alexandra Stepanova / Ivan Bukin are not performing this season. But there are rising stars – for example, Vasilisa Kaganovskaya and Valery Angelopol. However, the audience, in the opinion of many, managed to appreciate the outstanding free dancing of the current season: on the first day of the First Channel Cup, the dancers performed out of competition.
Predictably, the Red Machine team took the lead after the first discipline – a short program of sports couples: Alexander Gallyamov with Anastasia Mishina and Vladimir Morozov with Evgenia Tarasova, with Dmitry Kozlovsky scoring more points than Alexandra Boikova and Valery Kolesov with Yasmina Kadyrova. “They are the best!” – Running past the mixed zone where Zagitova, Mishina and Gallyamov stood, emotionally exclaimed, and when asked for a more detailed comment, “All the details are on their skates.”
But the results of the short program for men were very unexpected: the best result was shown not by Evgeny Semenenko or Petr Gumennik, but by Andrey Mozalev, who changed the 100-point milestone. Moreover, the two heroes of the last Russian championship in Krasnoyarsk could not even get into the top three, which, together with Mozalev, included Gleb Lutfullin and Makar Ignatov. And the main sensation about the minus sign was the disastrous loan of the 2020 European champion Dmitry Aliyev, who could not make a single jump. Largely because of this, the Valieva team and after the second discipline, contrary to the name, turned out to be in the role of bred.
Drama took place in the third episode of Saturday’s competition. Anastasia Zinina of “Can’t Catch Us” crashed while landing a triple lutz during the short program. At first, this fall did not seem extraordinary, but after a few seconds it turned out to be a misfortune – the skater could not rise from the ice. The athlete’s staff and doctors did not immediately turn off the music, nor did they immediately understand it. Just 20 seconds later, the medical staff rushed to Zinina. The athlete, who could not finish the rental, only got out of the ice with outside help. It was later learned that Zinina had a serious injury and would have to stay in the hospital for a week.
The organizers quickly realized that the sporting result of the tournament became clear the day before it ended, after one of the participants failed to score. If the competitions were held according to a system similar to that used in the Olympic Games, Valieva’s team would still have a chance. But for some unknown reason, the organizing committee decided to revert to a simple point total for skaters used in the first Channel One Cup, and this was officially known only after the start of the tournament. And under this system, a team whose participant leaves is almost completely deprived of the opportunity to make up.
As a result, after some time, the arena announced that the organizing committee decided to exclude the lowest score from the figure skater of this team from the result of the Red Car. It turned out that the “victim” was Veronika Yametova. In the short program, Sofia Muravyova from the “They will not catch up with us” team, and Adelia Petrosyan and Sofia Akatyeva from the “Red Machine” took the second or third place. Zagitova’s team retained their lead after the third discipline, despite the organizers’ controversial decision that made Olympic champion Pyeongchang unhappy.
This reaction of Zagitova caused outrage among a number of fans on the Internet. One of the defenders of the captain of the “Red Machine” was figure skater Valery Angelopol. “How can you talk bad about Alina? If this person fed the whole team on his own account so we wouldn’t starve,” he wrote on his Telegram channel. “I don’t care what anyone says or how they think. the more people, the more and the more ridiculous, after all, Alina has a team that supports her, and at least I won’t be offended by her being torn apart by idiot fanatics.
Later, in a conversation with journalists, Angelopol confirmed that Zagitova really feeds the team, and what exactly Gallyamov shares. “Alina Zagitova made us eat bread yesterday. It is not pleasant to eat flour in the evenings. We tried not to disturb the meal regimen, but we were very hungry,” she told reporters.
The competitive part continued with a free program in pairs skating on Sunday, won by Valieva’s team Boikova and Kozlovsky. The second and third results were shown, respectively, by the pairs of Zagitova – Tarasova / Morozov and Mishina / Gallyamov. The “Red Machine” retained its lead, but the next discipline – a free program for men – could change everything.
And it almost happened. Aliyev improved his failure in the short program and showed the best result among all participants in free skating. And before the two final performances of Semenenko and Gumennik, the difference between the teams was an insignificant four points according to this system. But the champion of Russia performed his performance extremely unsuccessfully, breaking all the quadruple jumps. Bean goose, unlike Semenenko, coped with excitement by making only one major mistake in the quad lutz. In the free program, she lost only to Aliyev and gave the “Red Machine” an advantage of about 30 points before the women’s free program, which was the last discipline.
Such a gap almost 100% guaranteed the final victory for the team of Zagitova, which she did not miss. The “Whites-Blues” did their best to catch the leaders, Muravyova and Tuktamysheva hit two-man four-triple axes, but another team earned the title “They Won’t Catch Us” this weekend. The last-placed Akatieva had the best performance of the day with two quad sheepskin coats and a triple ax, the Red Machine’s third victory in Channel One’s three Cups. Zagitova’s team received a check for 11 million rubles, Valieva’s team won nine million for second place.
With a passion for storytelling and reporting, I am an experienced writer and Editor with a focus on sports. As an Author at News Unrolled, I write engaging stories on the latest developments in the world of sports. My articles have been featured on numerous global media outlets and my work has been highly praised by renowned editors.