Congratulations to the following athletes crowned Senior Australian Champions:
Pairs - Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya and Harley Windsor
Ice Dance - Chantelle Kerry and Andrew Dodds
Ladies - Kailani Craine
Men - Brendan Kerry
The Australian Figure Skating Championships took place during November 30-December 7 at Macquarie Ice Rink in Sydney.
Congratulations to the following athletes crowned Senior Australian Champions:
Pairs - Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya and Harley Windsor
Ice Dance - Chantelle Kerry and Andrew Dodds
Ladies - Kailani Craine
Men - Brendan Kerry
After a long season, Australia’s Olympic figure skaters have one more major event on their calendars this week before they can rest easy.
Kailani Craine, Harley Windsor and Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya and Brendan Kerry have arrived in Milan, Italy for the 2018 World Figure Skating Championships this week.
With many PyeonChang medallists either retiring, injured or electing to miss the final event, the chance to move up the rankings is a prime target for the Aussies.
First to compete on Tuesday in the women’s short program is Kailani Craine who is still on a high from her 17th place in PyeongChang.
“This whole experience has been everything I hoped for and more,” she said in PyeongChang. “I just wanted two clean skates and I did that.”
Pair skaters Katia Alexandrovskaya and Harley Windsor, who placed 16th at last year’s World Championships, were disappointed not to have made the free program in PyeongChang after a strong short program placing 18th.
“We’re doing normal comp prep, running programs and doing simulations,” Windsor said from Moscow where they have been training for the past ten days.
“The ice is good and we are skating two hours a day. I’m coping with it (away from home) better than I used to but not coping with the cold. Everything else is OK.”
“We definitely want a PB and to get through the short clean,” he said.
Technically the pair have the arsenal to move them upward and have been working on the performance side.
“I’ll have to find more feeling within myself to a certain extent. Part of it is enjoying the program and sport and not doing it just for the sake of it – otherwise you never get that extra percent.”
For Katia, the past three years since her father passed away in January 2015, has seen many changes.
“2015 was so hard for me because all year was awful after my father passed away in January. December 1st was Dad’s birthday and then on December 2nd Nina told me about Harley and that was the day we started skating together.”
“Then it was Australia by January. It’s so different (to Russia). Like night and day.”
“Of course I never thought about Olympics. I didn’t think I’d go because it was such a short time since we started.”
The rise of Australia’s first pair team to win a Junior World Championships, place 16th at Worlds last year, a Senior Challenger event and be crowned as Junior Grand Prix champions last December and qualify for PyeongChang is only just sinking in.
“The pressure (in PyeongChang) wasn’t more than I expected. We skated well but the scores were not so good. We did a lot of work and it was a big experience for us.”
“Olympics is in my heart. I take all of the emotions from PyeongChang and they will be forever in my heart.”
“The Opening was so exciting. So cool and amazing. When you are watching on TV it’s different. It’s not like this when you go by yourself,” she said.
My mum and family were watching and I was so long time on the TV!”
Katia’s mother, also named Ekaterina did not travel to PyeongChang to watch her daughter but may consider Beijing. Although Katia is not so sure.
“Mum can’t watch because she really worries when we do elements. She watches the video after.”
After a few weeks back in Sydney, the duo headed back to Moscow for more training with coaches Andrei Pachin and Andrei Hekalo.
“The throws are good in Moscow,” Alexandrovskaya said. “In training today we did a clean full long program.so, I’m very happy.”
“It’s been a long season. I am waiting for this rest. I will go back to Moscow from Milan and have a big rest. Mentally and physically I am really tired because this season started in September. There’s a holiday with mum to look forward to.”
Brendan Kerry has an opportunity to march up the world rankings with two of the three Olympic medallists (Hanyu and Fernandez) out of the world championships.
Kerry’s PyeongChang Olympics with a stellar short program and final 20th place delivered the redemption he was seeking from Sochi and admits to feeling more confident with his skating now.
“Since coming back from the Olympics I’ve felt very stress free on the ice,” Kerry said.
“Usually I wake up and know how many days until I leave for the next comp. Headed into worlds I just wake up and am like OK, time to get ready and head to the rink.”
“I’m pretty exhausted mentally as the past four years have been for one moment and now - it’s passed,” Kerry said.
“So - it’s a really strange feeling heading into this worlds. I feel confident about how I’m going to skate though - that’s exciting. However, I am definitely ready to have some downtime at the end of this season before the next four year run.”
The 2018 World Figure Skating Championships in Milan begin this Wednesday with the women’s short program followed by the pairs short.
SBS Australia are live streaming the entire event. Check your local guides for more information.
Results and more information can be found here
Australian pairs skaters Harley Windsor and Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya have made history, after performing their short program at the Gangneung Ice Arena on February 14.
With a strong skate that included a huge opening triple twist, Windsor has become the first Indigenous Australian to compete at the Winter Olympics.
“I was starting to feel a bit nervous last night,” a beaming Windsor said. “But I’m really happy with that. Yeah, that was amazing.”
The team skated second, posting a score of 61.55 – just below their seasons best.
“We feel good, happy,” Alexandrovskaya said.
They needed to finish in the top sixteen in their field to move through to tomorrow’s free skate, and while they completed a clean program, they finished in 18th place, just out of free skate contention.
“I don’t know how I’m meant to feel at the moment,” Windsor said. “I’m so happy to have skated at my first Olympics but I wanted to make it to the free skate.”
The 21-year-old was supported by his mother Josie in the stands, while his father and skating friends watched from back home.
“It felt good to have the support,” Windsor said. “It’s pretty special knowing so many people were cheering me on.”
And it wasn’t just the Aussies who were backing the historic skater – with Windsor getting swamped with international media requests as soon as he left the ice.
“The attention has been amazing and I just hope I’ll be a bit of a role model now,” he said. “Hopefully more Indigenous kids get into winter sports.”
The duo will enjoy supporting the rest of the Australian Team at the Games, before heading to Moscow to prepare for the World Championships.
ith just two days to go until Harley Windsor and Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya make history in the pairs figure skating, here’s what you need to know about the event, so that you can cheer loud and proud for our Aussies.
Pairs teams perform similar elements to single skating – such as jumps, spins and footwork – but they have to be done in unison. They also throw in some crazy acrobatic tricks, just for good measure.
Some of the moves that are unique to pairs skating include twists, throw jumps and twist lifts, and yes, there is a move called ‘The Death Spiral.’
The Death Spiral is one of the easiest elements to spot in the routine; it involves the male partner holding the hand of the female partner while she is fully extended away from him, pivoting around in an almost horizontal position, with her head scarily close to the ice. Thankfully no one has died doing a death spiral, as far as we know.
Just like in singles skating, pairs skaters perform two programs – a short program and a free skate.
The short program lasts a maximum of 2 minutes and 50 seconds, and has 7 required elements.
The free skate can last between 4:20 and 4:40 and is physically much more demanding, with a maximum of 12 elements.
For each performance, teams are giving a Technical Elements Score – which is basically a mark that reflects how difficult their elements were and how correctly they were performed – and a Program Components Score.
The Program Components Score consists of skating skills, transitions, performance, choreography and interpretation.
Both scores are combined to get a final mark.
Now to some expert commentary from our Aussie team:
“You have to be strong," said Harley Windsor.
Australia’s first Indigenous Winter Olympian admits he wasn’t quite ready for the transition from singles skating to pairs skating when he first trained with Katia:
“I just didn’t have the muscles for it. I didn’t know how much stronger you need to be to lift a partner above your head, and to hold some of the positions. I really had to work on my fitness.”
“We are just friends” – Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya
While it’s true plenty of Olympic Ice Skating Pairs are couples in real life – take the USA team this year as an example – just as many are not. And Katia would like everyone to know that she and Harley are definitely NOT an item. “We are friends. We sometimes can fight on the ice. But we leave it on the ice.”
Windsor and Alexandrovskaya skate their short program on Day 5 (February 14).
When Harley Windsor and Ekaterina Aleksandrovskaya take to the ice it’s them against the world.“It’s just us, we only think of us,” Windsor said. “We block everything else out.”
Their extraordinary journey – from complete strangers who lived on the opposite sides of the world, to Winter Olympians in just two years – is one that has seen the international skating fraternity sit up and take notice.
“It’s taken a while to get used to all the attention,” Windsor said. “I’m still learning how to speak to the media, how to tell my story without letting my inner bogan come out too much.”
Thankfully there was no sign of that ‘inner bogan’ when the team took to the ice for their first Olympic practice session today - a light session that saw their remarkable unison on display once more.
“It was pretty good today,” Alexandrovskaya said. “We did what we wanted. It was good.”
And, it’s been good since the start of the couple’s unlikely pairing in Moscow, at a trial session set up by Windsor’s coaches.
“I was ready to quit when I suddenly got a call saying there were some partners available in Russia,” Windsor said. “Within a week I had my Visa and flew over there. I had no idea what to expect but I wanted to give my skating career one more chance.”
“I was meant to try out with three different girls, but I trialled with Katia first and I knew I didn’t need to try with any others,” Windsor said. “We just clicked straight away.”
But their staggering rise through the ranks – which saw them claim the Junior World Championship Title in Taipai last year – hasn’t been without a lot of hard work, sweat, and tears.
“At first I found the move to pairs skating really hard,” Windsor said. “I was a singles skater before, and I really didn’t have the muscle strength for it.”
“For the first three months I’d finish training and just be completely exhausted. There was one day I tried to drive myself home and I was so tired I couldn’t even lift my arms to hold the steering wheel.”
“And I’ve never trained so hard before. Some days we do seventeen run throughs of things. Katia likes working hard, she’s used to training really intensely. It’s been a lot of work.”
But there’s no doubt the work has paid off, with the pair ready to make their Olympic debut, and Windsor set to etch his name into the history books – as the first Indigenous Winter Olympian.
“I really want to be a role model,” the 21-year-old said. “My Aboriginal heritage is part of who I am and I’m really proud of that. It will always be a part of me.”
And, while the young team are keeping their goal – a top 12 finish – realistic for this Games, Windsor says there’s no limit to how far this unlikely pairing might go.
“I think we will definitely have another one or two Olympics in us, and we will be aiming for a Grand Prix medal and maybe even an Olympic medal one day. This is just the start for us.”
Windsor and Alexandrovskaya compete their short program on Day 5 (February 14).
Australia’s Figure Skating duo Harley Windsor and Ekaterina ‘Katia’ Alexandrovskaya have finished 6th at the Four Continents Figure skating Championships in Taipei, Taiwan.
The pair were the last to skate in the Free Program on Friday after claiming a silver “small medal” earlier in the week following the Pairs Short Program.
Windsor doubled the opening salchow then rallied for the triple double double combo. A lift later in the four-and-a-half-minute skate did not eventuate, interrupting the flow of the pair’s program.
“It just wasn’t our day,” Windsor said.
“We’re going to Japan after this so we’re just going to have to put our heads down and train just like we would every other competition again. It’s in the past now so there’s nothing we can do about it.
“We just have to try and take the good away from this competition. Obviously, there were a lot of mistakes in the free but we did a good short so if there’s anything we can take away from this it’s just some of the good elements that we did do and just focus on our preparation into the next one.”
Tarah Kayne and Danny O’Shea, who were third in Wednesday’s short dance, won gold with a total segment score of 128.68 while their fellow Americans Ashley Cain and Timothy Leduc claimed silver with a combined score of 123.85.
Meanwhile, North Korea’s Tae Ok Ryom and Ju Sik Kim claimed the country's first ISU Championship medal after taking bronze.
Following the women’s free program on Friday night, Sochi Olympian Brooklee Han finished 14th and said that while she “left a few points on the table” she was “feeling pretty good” after returning to the ice after battling an injury for most of the season.
“I had some silly mistakes, especially on the triple toe which I can do in my sleep,” Han said.
“I’ve been jumping and doing triples for about a month so, with that being said, I’m really happy with how it went.
“The triple Lutz is the last jump that I’ve added back in and that only happened a week-and-a-half ago and I can’t really train that as much as I would like based on doctor’s orders at the moment.
“I was just really focused today and wanted to put out a good solid program and I felt for the most part I did that, I was happy with how it went overall.”
Japan dominated Friday night’s podium, with Kaori Sakamoto winning gold, Mai Mihara silver and Satoko Miyahara taking bronze.
Newcastle native Kailani Craine, who will compete in her first Olympics next month, said that Friday’s free program was “definitely not my best performance” after finishing 16th but added that she was feeling positive for PyeongChang.
“I thought I would score higher but, you know, what can you do?” she said.
“I guess that they’re just making me work hard for next time and that’s ok, this competition was a competition to iron out the wrinkles in my skating.
“I really want to be perfect for the Olympic Games and if this is what it takes me to just push that extra level then that’s ok because I really want to do my best at the Olympics.”
The Four Continents Figure Skating Championships continue tomorrow with the men’s free program. For results click HERE or follow OWIA on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE for live updates.
Figure Skating duo Harley Windsor and Ekaterina ‘Katia’ Alexandrovskaya have made history at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Taipei, Taiwan after becoming the first Australians to receive an ISU Senior Championship medal.
The current Junior World Champions claimed a silver "small medal" following Wednesday’s Pairs Short Program and while they’re no strangers to making history, their focus for the time being is purely on their skating.
Whilst there is still the final free program to be skated on Friday, small medals are awarded after the short program at ISU Championship events.
“People keep saying that we’re making history for Australian figure skating, I don’t think I’ll really appreciate everything until after the season and I’ve had time to relax and let everything really sink in,” Windsor said.
“For now it’s just skating, just focusing on that rather than trying to think about all the other achievements that we’ve done.”
Despite feeling “a little bit nervous” ahead of Wednesday’s competition, Windsor and Alexandrovskaya gave a superb short program and were just 0.31 points behind American gold medallists Ashley Cain and Timothy Leduc who finished with 66.76.
“You have all the nerves and stuff before comp warming up and then you go through your routine but once you step on the ice, we’ve done a clean short program a thousand times,” Windsor said.
“We weren’t tired at all during that Short Program and that’s a good indication for the Free, I remember at the beginning of our season during our Short Program half way through I was tired.”
2016 Ice Dance Champions Matilda Friend and William Badaoui were back on the ice on Wednesday just three months after Badaoui broke his fibula.
“Rehab hasn’t been easy but with Till and all the support that I have, it’s been amazing. Everyone’s helped me through it so much because it’s a pretty rough thing to go through,” Badaoui said.
Despite finishing in 14th place after their short program, Friend said that the results weren’t going to faze them.
“We felt really confident going into it,” she said.
“We were really excited to be competing again and when we finished the program we were really happy with it and how it all went.
“We didn’t get a couple of levels that we were hoping to get on some of our elements so that brought the scores down quite a bit but we always came into this comp not worrying about what we were going to get in terms of scores so we’re really happy with our attitude going into it and how it turned out.”
In their first “big international” as a dance team, fellow Aussies Chantelle Kerry and Andrew Dodds said that they’re using each competition as a learning experience after finishing the day in 13th place.
“We are frustrated with some of the calls that we were given but that’s normal, you’ve just got to work through it. We know that we can do the stuff, we just have to get feedback and see how we can go from there,” Dodds said.
“Every competition we’ve ended with a PB scores so we’re getting there, moving up each time. That’s all we can ask for, we’re a new team.”
“We’re definitely feeling more settled each comp we go to so to come out at the biggest comp we’ve done since we started dance and to actually feel pretty settled skating together, taking our time is good,” Kerry added.
In the women’s Short Program, Brooklee Han placed 13th while Kailani Craine finished 16th.
“Today definitely wasn’t my best performance,” Craine said.
“I made a big mistake on my triple-triple combination jump and I’m really disappointed in that because I felt really confident going into that in the short program.
“Some of the calls I’ll have to go back and have a look at, I missed some levels so I’ll just have to go and have a look at that and just improve. It’s good that I’ve had this now instead of finding this out at the Olympics!
“It’s a really good practice run now and I can just improve.”
For Sochi Olympian Han, who has been battling an injury for most of the season, Wednesday’s performance was an opportunity to get back onto the ice.
“I was happy with the performance of the program, I felt like my combination was the best that I have done this season in my short program,” she said.
“It was disappointing to miss some of my events in the middle of the season and then of course to miss Australian nationals in my home state of Queensland and I really wish that I could have gone to that but I was happy to get back out there again today.”
The Four Continents Figure Skating Championships continue until the 27th January. For results click HERE or follow OWIA on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE for live updates.
Australia’s figure skaters are preparing for their last opportunity to test their programs ahead of the PyeongChang Games at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Taipei, Taiwan this week.
Among the first to be selected for the Olympic Team, wonder pair Harley Windsor and Katia Alexandrovskaya capped off 2017 winning the Junior Grand Prix Final in Nagoya, Japan.
The current Junior World Champions, who have now won a total of five international victories and one third place podium result, said that they we’re feeling “ready for the competition”.
“Our session just now was relatively good and in the morning it wasn’t bad either,” Windsor said.
“We normally skate really well if we do a comp and then another not long after. It’s worked alright for us this season so I guess this will just be like a practice for us for PyeongChang.
“We had a big gap in between the Junior Grand Prix Final and this so we felt like this was sort of necessary to do before the Games.”
The pair, who will make their first Olympic debut in February, are unsure of how to feel about the looming Winter Games.
“We’ve never been and we don’t know how to feel because everyone’s told me that it’s not like a normal Junior or Senior World Championships … it’s the Games,” Alexandrovskaya said.
“There’s certainly a lot more hype around it but it’s our first one so I don’t really know what I’m meant to feel or how I’m meant to react to it,” Windsor added.
Fellow Aussie Kailani Craine, who wrapped up 2017 by winning her fourth consecutive national title at the Australian Figure Skating Championships in December, said Four Continents is her ideal Olympic test run.
“This competition for me is just a practice for the Olympics so hopefully I’m not really changing anything between the two competitions,” she said.
“I plan on doing my triple-triple combo in the Olympics so I really want to try and get that out there one more time, I’ve done it in the past two competitions but getting one more run at it will be good and just practicing the programs another time.
“I’m so excited, I could go tomorrow. It feels like it’s coming so slow but I’m sure it’ll come right around the corner. I’m really excited and I Want to do well at this competition so I can go back to Australia, back home, and have a few days before I leave for Korea.”
Sochi Olympian Brendan Kerry, who previously said that “being selected for the Olympic team again is a huge motivation” for championship events, will also compete in Taipei.
"4CC isn't so much a practice run for the Games as it is a testing event," he said.
"I really want to see what's ready and what needs work before the Games so I can go out and do two clean skates come PyeongChang.
"My biggest focus at this event is for the Short Program to go out with 2 quads. The Free I'm focusing a lot more on being strong the whole way through rather than trying to save myself for the ending."
The large Australian team also includes 2014 Sochi Olympian Brooklee Han in Ladies, dancers Matilda Friend and William Baddoui plus Chantelle Kerry and Andrew Dodds. Joing Brendan Kerry in the men's are Andrew Dodds (competing dance and mens) and Mark Webster.
The Four Continents Figure Skating Championships kick off on Wednesday 24 January with the pair and women’s short programs. For results click HERE or follow OWIA on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE for live updates.
Wonder pair Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya and Harley Windsor have capped off an incredible year by winning the Junior Grand Prix Final in Nagoya, Japan.
The current Junior World Champions, who have now won a total of five international victories and one third place podium result, always believed they could win the prestigious International Skating Union’s end of year event, which brings together the six best juniors and six best senior skaters in each discipline to determine the best of the best.
Australia has never medalled at either the Junior or Senior Grand Prix Final and this win is yet again another historic milestone for the nation in the sport of figure skating.
“Our skate was great. A little tiring for me but it was great,” Alexandrovskaya said immediately after the free program.
After a strong short program on Thursday, Windsor and Alexandrovskaya were sitting in second place behind the Russian team Apollinariia Panfilova and Dmitry Rylov and only 1.34 points separated the top four teams. The pressure was on for the free program.
Windsor faltered on the opening triple salchow – landing the jump then falling off the edge. Undeterred, they powered to their side-by-side triple toe combo in perfect unison and completed a quality packed program scoring a total 173.85 points sneaking ahead of Panfilova and Rylov by less than one point (173.01)
“It was a little tough, at least for me,” Windsor said. “There was one big mistake but we are happy that we pushed through it and everything else was relatively OK.”
Galina Pachin, who coaches the team with her husband Andrei, was ecstatic.
“It’s amazing. It’s like a golden rain this past two years,” Pachin said. “Harley told me that winning and gold medals are like an addiction now.”
“They are already more mature and definitely dealing with pressure better. I don’t any pair who have gone from nothing to win Junior Worlds and qualify for Olympics in just two years,” Pachin said.
On their goal for the coming Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, Windsor – who will be Australia’s first Indigenous Winter Olympian, was frank.
“We’re not there not to win a medal. We want to skate two of the best programs that we can and that our ultimate goal is to finish in the top 12. We will be extremely happy,” he said.
As unlikely and unpredictable as Australia’s Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya and Harley Windsor’s Junior World Championships title seemed back in March this year, of even more significance is the continual melding the figure skating pair are bringing to their sport, lives and partnership.
In a stunning two seasons, Alexandrovskaya (17) and Windsor (21) have come from nowhere on the international figure skating scene to have now captured four gold medals and one bronze and are preparing for the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games next February.
With the Junior Grand Prix Final title within their reach this week in Nagoya, Japan the pair and coach Andrei Pachin articulated their impending move from Junior to Senior ranks, what that means and how their partnership has matured and progressed.
“This season didn’t start so good,” Andrei Pachin said of the pair’s fourth place in their first Junior Grand Prix in September. “Harley and Katia were thinking about how others were thinking about them after winning the Junior World title.”
“Just before Oberstdorf (the Olympic qualifier) they became confident.”
“Even in the last few weeks now, you can see Harley is now really confident and really professional in practise. They are confident about going for the Junior Grand Prix Final title.”
“I could see this confidence in Poland (two weeks ago). They can cope better with little mistakes. One mistake last year would destroy everything. Now they can go through the program – they are very professional.”
In the lead up to the Junior Grand Prix Final in Japan at the end of this week, Pachin said that his team were ready.
“There have been four clean shorts and one clean free program.”
The husband and wife coaching duo of Andrei and Galina Pachin from Sydney’s north west have proven to be strong role models for their team in life as well as figure skating.
Where Andrei is dogmatic and relentless, Galina is critical of the finer points. Andrei has a global view, Galina looks after detail. The same could be said respectively for Katia and Harley.
It’s not uncommon for Andrei and Katia to have short, sharp explosions whereas Galina and Harley would be in quiet discussion to resolve a training issue.
“Andrei is good for Katia. I’m good for Harley,” Galina says.
It’s that simple.
Andrei is looking to the future.
“I feel like we have to go ahead and look ahead beyond Olympics and Worlds in 2018. The technical luggage we have not will not be enough for next year (beyond this season),” he said.
“For Olympics and Worlds it’s important to get a result to ‘book your place’ for the future.”
The pairing of the unlikely couple is realising a career-long passion for their coaches.
“We weren’t sure it would happen like this. But step by step, it has happened. Now I can see with conditions we have now and the quality we have now we can fight.”
Alexandrovskaya’s increasing confidence in English is providing an opportunity for local skaters to discover more than seeing by example. Her serious determination to be the best is unswerving. She expects success and knows how to achieve it.
Basking in past results holds no water.
“Last season was last season and that’s already gone. We were World Junior Champions but that’s already last year,” she said in August.
“Communication last year was with hands. (It’s) much better now. I can talk to people. Harley is quiet. I’m much louder. Yes, it’s much better now. I know him.”
Harley’s passion to achieve and learning how to think like a champion will also have a lasting impact at home.
“Last year every competition was a new experience. I learned how to mentally prepare myself for competitions,” Windsor said.
“This year I don’t want to come second. I kinda like the taste of gold.”
When a pair skater girl is repeatedly thrown in excess of ten metres across the ice, the boy is asked to lift multiple times, both land complex jumps and then required to bring emotional power to four minutes of a free program, it takes a special combination of talent and personality to succeed.
Windsor and Alexandrovskaya are normal and do have their occasional spats and then get on with what they want to achieve.
Skating to the Rolling Stone’s ‘Paint It, Black’, Alexandrovskaya explains their short program as “dark and hard music, very strong”.
“It’s more difficult mentally. More transitions, more emotions because we think not just about elements.”
The emotional repertoire required is a challenge they are both willing to achieve and keep building upon.
“Last season the programs were very basic with a focus on us getting to the elements,” Harley said.
“If you want to be a really good senior pair you can’t pick just anything (to skate to). You have to pick something that suits both of us.”
“I like that we can show how we can step up and have variety,” he said.
“As we skate more together and mature, we will show stronger emotions and connections. That’s important to us.”
Katia holds the same view.
“For the free program it’s different music, different style (to the short) from the film Mask. First part is jazz and again jazz in the early second part. Third part is rock and roll. I like more the jazz part, but I love all music.”
Training at the New South Wales Institute of Sport (NSWIS) in Sydney’s Olympic Park under a program devised by OWIA’s John Marsden and Zsolt Zsombor from NSWIS has been integral during this all-important season.
“NSWIS has been huge. Especially the altitude training. If we didn’t do NSWIS we wouldn’t be as fit or strong. Week by week we would increase. The weight went up and a little more reps plus the altitude got harder and harder,” Windsor said of their preparation before the Olympic qualifier in September.
“It was smart what Zsolt did - planning it all out and increasing slowly and surely. It’s made us smarter in the way we train and how we prepare.”
Will nerves play a part at the Olympics?
“I don’t do nervous before competitions. Senior is of course mentally harder,” Katia said with a shrug. “I want clean programs and wait for the result. We need just to skate.”
Windsor believes there has been a big shift this season.
“We are both good competitors and we are both good at turning it up a notch when it matters.”
“I’m sure there are far, far better skaters than us but not everyone can compete. But the ones who can turn it on and perform when it counts are the ones who are there at the end.”
The ISU Grand Prix Final and Junior Grand Prix Final for the best six in the world in each discipline is in Nagoya, Japan from December 7 to 10.
Alexandrovskaya and Windsor will compete their short on Thursday, 7 December from 4.10pm (AEDT) and their free program on Friday 8 December from 6pm (AEDT).
A livestream of the Junior Grand Prix Final can be found at https://www.youtube.com/isujuniorgrandprix
More information and results can be found HERE
Australia’s current Junior World Pair Figure Skating Champions Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya and Harley Windsor have struck their fourth career gold medal and fifth podium in Estonia overnight, returning to the scene of their first Junior gold medal last year in Tallinn.
The Tallinn Trophy is part of the senior ten-event International Skating Union’s Challenger Series and will accrue additional world standings points and experience for the up and coming team going in the PyeongChang Olympics next February. The ISU Challenger Series sits underneath the top tier Grand Prix series of events, which includes the best athletes in the World.
After a dazzling short program the previous night highlighted by a soaring triple twist and an effortless lift at speed that scored the Sydney-based team a PB of 66.80, the free program, which sealed their first senior international gold medal, was harder work.
Last to skate and performing to the soundtrack from The Mask, the opening of the free program was heavy going with difficulties on both side-by-side solo triple jumps but they worked the 4.30 minute program to the end with strength and determination.
“It’s our first senior gold. That’s cool,” Windsor said.
“We were pretty confident going into the short and were doing clean run throughs in training whether we were feeling good or bad. We’re happy that our program component scores are going up - giving us extra points. We got mid sevens here, whereas last comp it was high sixes, so it’s a decent jump,” Windsor said.
Alexandrovskaya, ever the perfectionist, was happy with short, saying, “It was season’s best, but little bits were wrong. The toe loop wasn’t perfect like we can do. All elements were not bad.”
Scoring 112.50 points and well under their best for the free program, Windsor and Alexandrovskaya were able to amass an overall total of 178.90 points, well ahead of second placed Alisa Efimova and Alexander Korovin from Russia on 162.62. Third went to another Russian pair, Anastasia Poluianova and Dmitry Sopot on 161.60.
“We didn’t have a practice on the day, just the six-minute warm up,” 21-year-old Windsor said. “When I do practice in the morning it gets my muscles activated and without that it was hard. Our senior pairs free program isn’t exactly easy.”
Alexandrovskaya intends to learn from the experience.
“We didn’t have skating for one full day – 24 hours. Of course, it (the win) is good points for us, especially with so many mistakes in the program. It was not perfect. I like to check mentally my jumps, throws and lifts in practice,” she said.
The senior Challenger gold medal follows their Junior Grand Prix win in Poland last month and bronze in the Senior Olympic Qualifying Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany in late September.
Transitioning to senior ranks during the season has entailed switching between junior and senior programs at alternating international events. Next up for Australia’s history-making pair will be the prestigious Junior Grand Prix Final in Nagoya, Japan from December 7 to 10, which will mark the end of their ground-breaking junior career before a solid push to PyeongChang.
“This will be one hard week between here (Tallin) and the Junior Grand Prix Final (JGPF). Of course we will work hard,” 17-year-old Alexandrovskaya said.
“It’s going to be a hell of lot easier than a senior program. I’m looking forward to that. Now that we have pretty good results this season so far, we are more experienced than last year and events like the JGPF are no longer an intimidating thought,” Windsor added.
PyeongChang is less than 80 days away and this young team’s expectations are in check.
“We do not expect to get a medal but want to skate two good programs in Korea,” they both said.
“Our transition from Junior is going well and we look more mature on the ice, stronger and more senior. In the free program here, we again got a level 4 for the twist but this time with +3s for the grade of execution,” said Windsor.
“Just do what we can and a perfect skate for us. We can’t have a medal, but we can skate good and clean,” Alexandrovskaya said of PyeongChang.
In their international career to date Windsor and Alexandrovskaya have made the podium five times with four golds in a mix of top tier Junior events and Challenger level senior competitions - Junior Grand Prix Tallinn 2016, Junior World Championships 2017, Junior Grand Prix Gdansk 2017, Tallinn Trophy Senior Challenger 2017 and bronze Nebelhorn Trophy Senior Challenger 2017.
The Australian Olympic figure skating team of Brendan Kerry, Kailani Craine, Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya and Harley Windsor were named to PyeongChang earlier this month, with Windsor making world-wide news as Australia’s first indigenous Winter Olympian to be selected.
A four strong Figure Skating section has been announced, marking the first 2018 Olympic Team members and featuring Australia’s first indigenous Winter Olympian.
Sochi 2014 Olympian, Brendan Kerry will join three debutants Kailani Craine, Ekaterina ‘Katia’ Alexandrovskaya and Harley Windsor, as the quad prepare themselves to skate amongst the world’s best on the ice in PyeongChang.
AOC CEO Matt Carroll who announced the newest Team members said the Figure Skating section was full of youth and potential.
“These four athletes are a promising sign for Australia’s figure skating future,” Carroll said.
“They have all had some fantastic results over the past year and each of them has rightly earned their spot on the 2018 Winter Team.
“We thank the athletes, their National Federation, Ice Skating Australia, and the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia for their hard work and dedication in the lead up to PyeongChang, and wish them every success at the Games.”
2018 Chef de Mission, Ian Chesterman said today’s selection was a significant milestone in the PyeongChang preparations.
“After months of preparation, we are finally starting to assemble the full team and that is really exciting,” Chesterman said.
“The Figure Skaters have performed at a high level since Sochi, so there is a lot of potential amongst this group.
“Brendan is back and ready to enjoy his second Games, while we are equally as excited to welcome three highly talented young athletes who are just beginning their Olympic careers.”
Kerry, who will compete in the men’s individual event, said being selected in his second Olympic Team was more exciting and a bigger relief that his debut four years ago.
“The first Games is all about the experience,” 23-year-old Kerry said.
“The second time it’s all business - I’m going there with very specific set goals.
“I think I’m going to deliver my two best performances yet. Mentally and physically I will be more prepared than I have ever been before.”
Kerry, whose mother Monica also competed in Figure Skating at the 1988 Calgary Games, noted the strength of his 2018 skating compatriots.
“Kailani winning the 2017 CS Nebelhorn Trophy is an amazing accomplishment that I think shows just how intense and well prepared she is for her Olympic debut,” Kerry said on his teammate who will skate in the women’s individual event.
“Harley and Katia, Junior World Champs and qualified for their first Olympics second season together! That’s just unbelievable!”
Kerry has shared a long-time friendship with Australia’s first Indigenous Winter Olympian, Windsor and is as equally proud of his achievements as his own.
“Harley is and has been my long time best friend and I think it’d be fair to say that I’m just as excited and proud of his accomplishments as his coaches and family.”
20-year-old Windsor, who reigns from Sydney’s Rooty Hill will join partner Katia Alexandrovskaya in the pairs event and enter the history books as the first Australian Winter Olympian of Indigenous heritage.
“Making my first Olympic team is huge,” Windsor said, who has always dreamed of an Olympic debut.
“Now it’s a reality the emotional roller coaster of it all is very overwhelming.
“I feel as though I’m helping in taking a big step for indigenous athletes to move more into winter sports rather than the normal summer sports and hopefully inspire more to follow in my footsteps.”
Windsor partnered with Alexandrovskaya in 2015 and the pair have been on fire since, claiming the 2017 World Junior Championship title.
Rounding out the quad will be 19-year-old Kailani Craine, the Newcastle native who still can’t quite comprehend her Olympic selection.
“I've worked so hard to achieve this goal and for it to finally be a reality is so amazing and crazy,” Craine said.
Now that her selection is sealed, Craine said she will focus on increasing the complexity of her routines.
“Now that I've qualified I feel like I can really focus on doing more technically difficult elements in my routines to really be competitive at the Games.
“I feel like this is such a special experience that not many people get to have. I'm so grateful and honoured to be announced on the Olympic Team and I am working so hard to make my country proud.”
The Figure Skaters will take to the Olympic stage early on in competition, donning their skates on the same day as the Opening Ceremony.
Australia has secured two more Figure Skating qualification spots at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games with an individual gold medal from Kailani Craine and a Pairs bronze medal at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany.
19-year-old Craine skated to gold on Saturday night, securing not only the Ladies title but an Olympic berth for Australia.
After dominating the Short Program the night before, Craine continued her strong form impressing judges with her Free Skate to ‘Moulin Rouge’.
The routine featured five triple jumps, three level-four spins and level-four footwork, skills that picked up the Newcastle native 109.43 points.
A combined total of 167.45 points from both skates saw Craine take the gold by only 0.44 points.
“I felt really good in my free program today. I felt really prepared for this competition. It wasn’t the best free program that I’ve done, but it was enough to get me first place and to qualify an Olympic spot,” Craine said.
“I don’t think anything really can compare with what the Olympic Games are going to be like. It’s been a dream since I started skating, so I really just want to be able to skate my best, but I want to soak up every single moment.”
Rounding out the podium was Matilda Algotsson of Sweden and Alexia Paganini of Switzerland who earned the silver and bronze medals respectively, as well as 2018 qualification spots for their countries.
In Friday night’s Pairs event, World silver medallists Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov of Russia took out the top spot on the podium ahead of Germany’s European Champions Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot.
Harley Windsor and Katia Alexandrovskaya of Australia stunned the world with a performance of a lifetime to take the bronze. The Australians and four more couples earned an Olympic spot each for their country.
Skating to ‘The Mask’, the pair executed a perfect triple twist, side by side triple Salchow and triple toe-double toe-double toe as well a throw triple flip and Salchow.
The Junior World Champions secured a huge personal best, scoring 125.80 points for the Free Skating and 190.31 points overall, securing a ticket to the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics for Australia.
“Obviously it is very exciting for us. We skated really, really well and we also qualified (an Olympic spot) for Australia. So that was a huge step for us,” 20-year-old Windsor said.
With pairs from Russia, Germany, Canada and USA having already booked their spot to the Games, the Australians will be joined by new pairs from Austria, Czech Republic, Peoples Democratic Republic of Korea and Israel on the Olympic program.
Australia is now qualified in three figure skating disciplines with Men, Pairs and Ladies, also resulting in eligibility into the Olympic Team Event for the top ten nations in the world.
Australian Men’s champion Brendan Kerry earned Australia the men’s spot with his 15th palce at the 2017 World Championships in March.
For the Olympic Team Event, Australia would unofficially currently be ranked 12th. The top ten nations will be determined on a points basis after the Grand Prix and Junior Grand Prix series has been completed in early December.
Australia has logged a historic night of Figure Skating with a bronze medal and Olympic qualification in the Pairs event as well as an individual win at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany.
Kailani Craine has claimed top spot in the Ladies Short Program, while Harley Windsor and Katia Alexandrovskaya rounded out the podium with a bronze medal in the Pairs event after the routine of their lives.
With a personal best score of 58.02, Craine landed a triple loop-double toe, triple flip and double Axel in her routine to ”Dream A Little Dream Of Me”.
”Of course, I was nervous, because it’s an Olympic spot, my dream on the line, but I definitely prepared, I couldn’t have done anything else in training to prepare for this moment.,” Craine said.
"I’ve been really present in my training and I tried to mimick competition in my training”, the Australian Champion said about competing in the Olympic qualifying event.
Leading Sweden’s Matilda Algotsson in second place and Nathalie Weinzierl of Germany, the Ladies will return to the ice for the Free Program skate at 1:30am on Sunday night.
Craine will look to book her Olympic qualification needing a top six finish to seal her Olympic debut.
In the Pairs event, Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov of Russia took out the top spot on the podium ahead of Germany’s Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot.
Alexandrovskaya and Windsor of Australia stunned the world with a performance of a lifetime and moved up one spot to take the bronze. The Australians and four more couples earned an Olympic spot each for their country.
Skating to ”The Mask”, the pair executed a perfect a triple twist, side by side triple Salchow and triple toe-double toe-double toe as well a throw triple flip and Salchow.
The Junior World Champions secured a huge personal best, scoring 125.80 points for the Free Skating and 190.31 points overall, securing a ticket to the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics for Australia.
”Obviously it is very exciting for us. We skated really, really well and we also qualified (an Olympic spot) for Australia. So that was a huge step for us”, 20-year-old Windsor said.
With pairs from Russia, Germany, Canada and USA having already booked their spot to the Games, the Australians will be joined by new pairs from Austria, Czech Republic, Peoples Democratic Republic of Korea and Israel on the Olympic program.
Kailani Craine will be the final Aussie on the ice tonight, and you can watch her live: http://www.dailymotion.com/skatingvideos
To see Alexandrovskaya and Windsor's free program from Nebelhorn Trophy, click here
FIGURE SKATING: Harley Windsor and Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya accomplished what no other Australian figure skaters have ever done when they won the 2017 Junior World Pairs Figure Skating Championships in March this year.
The 20-year-old Indigenous man from Western Sydney and his 17-year-old Russian-born partner made headlines around the world for their rapid rise through the ranks, starting with Australia’s first gold at an ISU Junior Grand Prix last October, the Junior World title ahead of the fancied Russian teams and 16th place in their first senior World Championships. in March this year.
Following their world-beating debut season, the pair has been training with the top Russian teams in Moscow with their Sydney coach Andrei Pachin, but now they are home to prepare for the season ahead.
To celebrate their astounding Championship win, and to unveil their new short program, Windsor and Alexandrovskaya will perform in a Celebration Gala at Canterbury Olympic Ice Rink in Sydney on Saturday, 19 August at 10.30am.
“I’ve only been home for less than two weeks since January and it’s fair to say that I’ve been homesick,” Windsor said. “Katia and I have done a lot of work in the off season learning our new short and free programs.”
“It’s been tough to be away from Australia for so long,” he said. “Canterbury is my home rink and where I trained with Galina and Andrei.”
The general public is invited to see Australia’s Junior World Champions.
The International Skating Union (ISU), interviewed Aussie World Junior Pair Skating Champions Katia Alexandrovskaya and Harley Windsor at a recent ISU Pairs camp in Russia. Here is their story.
30 May 2017 - Lausanne, Switzerland
Pair skaters Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya and Harley Windsor took the skating scene by storm. Not only did they win the 2017 World Junior title after having skated together for a little over a year, but they also are the first Australian figure skaters to win an ISU Championship title.
Q: How did you start skating?
E: My mom took me after she had a dream one night. Near our house in Moscow, an ice rink opened and my mom took me there. I skated right away and my mom said, you can train. I was about four and a half years old when I started. I remember my first competition, I took second place, because I fell on a three-turn. I would have been first if I hadn’t fallen on that little three-turn.
H: I became a skater literally by accident. I was with my mom, on a Saturday morning, it was in the middle of summer and we just took a wrong turn and I found an ice rink. There was nothing else to do on a Saturday so I just went into a public session. I quite liked it so I asked to go back the next week and the next week, the next week… I was eight when I first started. First (I went) once a week, then twice a week, three times a week. Then one of the coaches at the rink saw me and suggested private lessons. So I had private lessons for a few months and then after a while I moved to Galina and Andrei (Pachin, coaches) and I’ve been with them for eight years now. Sort of the last two years I didn’t really do anything and I was about to quit.
Q: What made you change your mind and start Pair Skating?
H: Andrei was in Moscow at the time. He called and had spoken to Nina (Mozer) who said there are three girls that I could try Pair Skating with. He asked, if I wanted to come over and try it out. I was like ‘ok’ and a week later I was in Moscow.
Q: Why did you want to give it a try?
H: I really enjoyed watching pairs and sort of the excitement of it. So I was like, if I don’t like it, I guess it is a kind of holiday for me. So I went to Moscow and I wasn’t training for like three months before that. I was super unfit. That was mid of December (in 2015). When I went there I was on the ice and Nina Mozer came out to watch. She just wanted one double Axel, one triple toe, one triple Sal and one flying camel and she just said ‘thank you’ and left. I didn’t understand what that meant. I had no idea and I asked Andrei. He was like ‘I have no idea’. So we just left. I was staying at his mom’s apartment and he called me and said that Nina had called and said, “be at the rink tomorrow at 11.00”. I went to the rink the next day. We started with lifts off ice and it was terrible. I remember I almost dropped her on her head the first time I lifted her. She (Ekaterina) was the first girl I tried with. I even didn’t try with other girls. We did a few off ice lifts. I never had done lifts before on the ice. I did very basic lifts before, press lift, star lift, that is basically it. I had somebody else to show me a reverse (lift). I had no idea what I was doing.
Q: Wasn’t that scary for Katia?
H: I don’t know if she knew at the time that I had no pair experience. She sort of just assumed that I had pair experience (laughs).
Q: Katia, when and why did you switch to pairs?
E: I was eleven years old, in December 2011. Pair skating I think is much more interesting. There are many different elements and I thought it would not be boring at practice. There is support, and you have a partner. I didn’t like singles so much, it was only jumps, jumps and the competition was very tough.
It wasn’t yet like it is now, but still, without a triple Lutz or triple-triple combinations you couldn’t go anywhere. I said to myself I want to try it and my mom also said, let’s try it. I went to Andrei Grigorievitch Hekalo, who is one of our coaches today, at the ice rink “Inspiration”, where Nina Mozer is working, so he could look at me.
I skated alone for two months and then they gave me a partner, but the level wasn’t that high obviously. After these two months I went to Ukraine. I saw an advertisement on a site that they were looking for a partner and it was the right age, too. My mom and I lived in Ukraine for half a year, in Dnepropetrovsk.
That was in 2012, from March to September. Then we took the decision to go back to Moscow, because it was not working. We asked Nina Mikhailovna (Mozer) to skate in her school again and they gave us Vladislav Zhovnirski as a coach. We skated for half a year and then we split up. To fight for sixth place at an event of the Russian Cup series …
I already wanted to stop, and suddenly Nina Mikhailovna said, there is someone from Australia. At first I didn’t even understand if it was Australia or Austria, but I didn’t really care at this point. My mom and I thought about it for two days and then we decided it is worth a try. He (Harley Windsor) came to Moscow and we tried out.
We suited each other physically and from our looks. But it was scary to travel to Australia, a different language, you don’t know anyone and it is far away. But the whole training process is much better in Moscow than in Australia, because the ice and the conditions are not the same. It is a hot country and they don’t have so much training time. We have to go out on to the ice at eight in the morning and on Saturday at 6.30 in the morning and it is always very crowded. They have only three or four ice rinks in Sydney. Figure skating is not very well developed there.
Q: You are quite often in Moscow now. How is your Russian?
H: Not very good. I can understand a little bit more, but I’m a little bit scared to talk, because I make so many mistakes. I only speak with my friends in Moscow, because I make mistakes and they still understand. But if I speak it in the street people are like what?
Q: How do you like Moscow and Russia?
H: I hate Moscow (laughs).
E: It’s because he was born in paradise and Moscow is just lots of houses and there is no sea and the weather is not very good.
H: Maybe if I came from somewhere else to Moscow it would be a bit different, but coming from Sydney it’s like… have you ever been to Sydney?
H: Just the quality of everything I guess. I don’t really like Moscow, but I put up with it, because training is worth it. So I just deal with it. It’s also hard being by myself there as well.
Q: Do you have other athletes in your families?
E: My mom was a fencer until she was 15 years old. She did quite well, but during this moody transition age that everyone goes through, she gave it up and her mother at the time didn’t support her enough, didn’t tell her that she should go on. When I said I want to stop, my mom said, ‘are you crazy? You already spent the majority of your life in Figure Skating and you can’t just stop like that’.
Also Andrei Grigorievitch (Hekalo) supported me a lot in these tough times when I said I don’t want to go out on the ice. I had problems with my partner and then the transition age, you are in a good mood and the next moment you want to jump from the balcony. Andrei Grigorievitch gave me a lot of support and told me ‘I’ll find you another partner’. Three months after this conversation I got one and now I’m here.
H: My brothers and sisters did sports, when they were younger, but nothing too major. I’m the youngest. My parents were married before, so I have four brothers and four sisters, they are half (brothers and sisters), but I just call them brothers and sisters. They’re all married and have kids now, a completely different life.
All my brothers and sisters grew up horse riding, because my parents are from the country (side), like way, way up. My mom is nine hours from Sydney and my dad is pretty close to the Queensland border. My parents grew up on a farm. They moved to Sydney maybe 20 years ago. All my siblings were horse riding, but I hated it. So I was completely different from my siblings.
Q: You made history by winning the World Junior title. What were your emotions on the podium at Junior Worlds?
E: It was kind of funny.
H: Lots of smiling.
E: It was like a dream. I felt like someone will pinch me and I will wake up.
H: I knew I won a competition, and it was a good emotion, but it wasn’t a 100 percent clicking that it was Junior Worlds and it still hasn’t really clicked either.
Q: What do you think your historic victory means for you and for Australian Figure Skating?
H: For us it’s really, really good for our first season. I don’t think many pairs have their first season and win their first Junior Worlds. It’s definitely exciting for us and for Australia I guess it helps them a lot with the skating and brings Australia into the skating world a little more. Hopefully we encourage a few more skaters.
Q: How was the reaction in general to your victory at Junior Worlds?
H: Everybody was obviously very excited and happy for us. When we were in Australia we had to go to Melbourne for Olympic Committee activities for TV promotion and stuff like that. All the winter athletes were in Melbourne for the week doing a bunch of stuff down there. We had to do an exhibition as well.
Q: How was your experience at the World Championships like?
H: Going to senior Worlds was definitely a lot different than going to Junior Worlds, just the overall stadium, a lot more people and the atmosphere was really different. I was really nervous when I first arrived, but once I got on the ice it was not too bad.
E: It was tough, yes, because there were so many people at the rink, there were other athletes, other competition. Not only the competition, but there were these great athletes. We were nervous, but when we skated the short program and we realized we just need to skate clean and we have nothing to lose, because the most important thing for us was to make the top 16 (the final), which we did. We beat our personal best, but we didn’t skate our best in the free.
Q: What is your plan for next season?
H: I really would like to be on the senior Grand Prix. It would be really cool if we could get an invite to a senior Grand Prix. I want to have that new experience. And of course, next year at Four Continents we aim at top eight. That would be really good for us.
Q: It was very hard to qualify an Olympic spot and you need to go to the qualifying competition in Oberstdorf (Germany). How are you going to prepare?
H: We’re currently starting our new short program, so that’s in progress right now and we’ll be doing our long program in a month’s time.
Q: What kind of music have you picked?
H: For our short it’s a remix of the Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black”. It’s very strong music and it’s a little bit dark I guess and needs lots of emotions and strong skating to do it. We’re trying to work around that and see how we can pull it off. We have no idea what our long program is going to be yet. Still listening to a few pieces of music I guess and trying to decide on what everyone likes.
Q: Because of Oberstdorf you have to be ready quite early. How are you going to prepare to fight for that Olympic spot?
H: We just train like the last season. Our preparation in the last season was a lot better towards the end of the year so I think we’ll be more experienced now and know what we need to do to train and to get fit in programs. So I guess we’ll be just doing the same training that we did leading into last year’s season.
Q: You recently took part in the ISU Pair Skating seminar in Novogorsk (Russia). What are your next plans?
E: We’re going to a training camp in Kislovodsk, off ice, then we’ll train in Moscow and maybe we go to Italy. We’ll be mostly in Europe, but he has a problem with his visa, it is expiring, so maybe he or we together will fly for one week to Australia, so he gets the visa. There is no way to get it here (in Russia).
Q: How is your Australian citizenship coming along?
E: There is progress. Soon I’ll probably get the residence permit and then it shouldn’t take too long to get the passport. I don’t know when this will happen, but the process is going on and we’re doing everything for it.
Q: Thank you very much for the interview! And good luck for the next season.
Courtesy: Interviewer Tatjana Flade for ISU
Newly crowned Junior World Pairs Champions Harley Windsor and Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya hopes of early qualification to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang next February have been dashed despite making it to the final sixteen at the World Figure Skating Championships early this morning.
The talented pair, who have surprised the skating world with their meteoric rise in just one season, skated their way into the final against 27 senior pairs with a superb short program – smashing their personal best.
Skating in the early group for the free program, Windsor and Alexandrovskaya delivered a 4.30 minute program with triple twists, jumps and throws but a fall by both skaters on their easier triple jump kept the emerging duo in 16th place, just behind the North Korean couple and 2016 World Junior Champions from the Czech Republic.
In a cruel twist, the sixteen Olympic qualifying quota places available at the World Championships was filled by only the top seven pair skating nations that were able to achieve multiple entries for 2018.
Wenjing Sui and Cong Han won their first World Championship ahead of Germany’s Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot. Bronze went Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov from Russia.
Fourth to seventh places went to China, Russia and two Canadian pairs in a pressure-packed finals competition that was marred with errors by most pairs.
China, Russia and Canada qualified three teams each to PyeongChang plus Germany, France and Italy qualified two quota spots each and as a consequence, the younger pairs from the Czech Republic, North Korea and Australia missed the qualifying quota.
Quota spots are determined on country basis, considering the finishing places of all 28 competing pairs. Quota spots were not issued to the top 16 places.
Australia’s Windsor and Alexandrovskaya will have the opportunity to qualify for one of the four remaining pairs quota spots in September in Germany.
On the upside, Australia’s chances of making the Team Event for the top ten countries overall across all four figure skating disciplines have been enhanced by their 16th place.
“The event went just liked we had hoped - qualifying for the long. Overall it was an amazing experience to compete at our first Senior World Championships,” Windsor said.
“We were extremely happy with the 16th place after the short because that was the goal, and whatever happened in the long happened.”
“At the beginning of the free we felt calm and the beginning started well. It was a bit of a shock for the both of us to fall on the side by side triple toes but we took the program one element at a time and tried our best to keep fighting throughout the program.”
The World Championships continues tonight with the Ladies. Australia’s Kailani Craine qualified 19th into the top 24 and final free skate.
Brendan Kerry delivered the performance of his career to date last night in the power-packed Men’s short program, placing 13th with a PB in one of the most exciting high-calibre men’s event ever witnessed. Kerry skates the free program on Saturday.
Breakdown of Qualification Pairs Skating Quota Spots from 2017 World Championships
At the World Championships, the system was as follows:
A country can earn thee quota places if they secure top two placements is equal to or less than 13, meaning three quota spots were issued to the following countries:
Countries could also secure two quota places at the 2018 Olympics by securing top two placements is equal to or less than 28.
Countries were also awarded two quota places if one pair finished in the top 10 positions
The USA secured the final quota place with a pair finishing in 8th place.
Therefore, the following quota positions were achieved at the 2017 World Figure Skating Competition:
Olympic qualification could be just days away for Australia’s super pair, Harley Windsor and Katia Alexandrovskaya when they compete in the World Figure Skating Championships in Helsinki this week.
The amazing story of the 20-year-old indigenous man and his Moscow-born 17-year-old partner has grabbed attention world-wide since they burst onto the international scene last September, won a gold medal and capped off their junior season ten days ago by claiming the biggest prize of all – the Junior World Pair Skating Championship against much higher ranked and fancied teams.
Coming down off such a high and re-preparing for the all-important 2017 World Championship in the largest pairs field assembled in recent memory, will not be easy but this Aussie pair are up for yet another challenge.
The short program is vital because only sixteen pairs of the 28 entered will make it through to the final free program – and 16 Olympic qualification quota places by nation is what is at stake for all 28 pairs.
“It was hard to come down off Junior Worlds,” said Windsor from Moscow where the duo prepared for the upcoming event.
“The comps take it out of you. We had two days off – sort of – because had the exhibition gala to do at Junior Worlds.”
“When we got back to Moscow from Taipei, we arrived in the morning and trained in the afternoon.”
The hype surrounding the pair is understandable. To have achieved such a confident, trusting bond that is evident to casual watchers of figure skaters, let alone the experts - in only fourteen months, is a testament to their hard work and talent.
Magnificently executed lifts and triple jumps, twists and throws at high speed is only one component of what makes this pair equal to their competitors. The accelerated growth in their performance skills is probably what is the most surprising.
Matching lines, extension, emotion, trust and the desire to perform has developed rapidly from one competition to the next. Serious-minded Katia is comfortable on the big stage and the more laid-back, pragmatic Harley is where he wants to be. It shows.
“It’s been pretty crazy,” Harley said of the past ten days. “I keep thinking… wow – we won Junior Worlds. Then I think about Worlds coming up and I do get a bit nervous, just because it is Worlds.”
“Then part of me is like, we’ve done so many comps all season that this is just one more. All we have to do is just try to qualify in the short and then whatever happens in the free, happens.”
The #WorldFigure Skating Championships begin this Wednesday with the Ladies Short program with Australia’s Kailani Craine looking to qualify into the top 24, followed by the Pairs Short.
Australia’s six-member figure skating team, with an average age of 17, delivered the ultimate in Taipei at the Junior World Championships coming home with a gold medal, PB’s and a finals appearance.
Shock waves and delight reverberated around the figure skating world for Australian pair skaters Harley Windsor and Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya when they became the Junior World Pair Skating Champions.
Indigenous skater Harley, from Western Sydney, and his Moscow-born partner Katia were hoping for a podium finish, beginning their Junior Worlds campaign with a clean short program and PB, finding themselves in third and within two points of the leaders.
Skating first in the final group for the free program, the Australians delivered a soaring, perfectly executed triple twist to open then side-by-side triple jumps, throw triple flip and fast, complex lifts.
The ease and confidence with which they attacked the four-minute program shone through scoring a PB for 104.16 for a total of 163.98 points – making them a hard act to follow for the remaining three teams from China and Russia.
"I'm shocked that we got first place, it's crazy to put Australia in the scene for skating and we're over the moon about the gold medal, I can't put it into words," Harley said.
An ecstatic Katia added: "I can't believe it".
For the first time, the Australian flag was raised to the top in an ISU Figure Skating Championship, sending a strong message to other young Australian figure skaters that anything is possible.
The Australian team in the stands witnessed history and sang the national anthem for the first time, with many – including ice dancer Matlida Friend, in tears.
A day and many press interviews later the pair headlined the Exhibition Gala skating to Peter Allen’s “I Still Call Australia Home”, which was followed by the closing banquet, where the team were honoured yet again by being invited to deliver a ‘thank you’ speech on behalf of all athletes.
Ladies competitor Holly Harris, at just 14 years of age, came away from Junior Worlds with a final placing of 23rd.
The expressive youngster made it into the final 24 out of 44 competitors at her first Junior World Championship with a beautiful short program, which earned her 20th place. Her free program scored 74.87 points for a total 123.11 points.
Despite suffering a fall in the free program warm-up in which she injured her hand, the youngster battled through.
“I was really excited to compete at my first junior world championships,” Holly said after the event.
“It has been an amazing experience. I really wanted to make the freeskate to be able to earn more opportunities for Australia in the Junior Grand Prix series next season."
Holly’s final placement ensures more Australian junior ladies will have the opportunity to compete in the Junior Grand Prixs next season.
"I was happy with my short program, it wasn't perfect, but I was happy I took the chance to open with the triple lutz/double toe combination and that worked well. But I was disappointed with how I skated my free,"
"I'm looking forward to returning to Australia now for a short break to refresh, then back to training to work hard with my coach Tom to improve for next season.”
Skating to ‘One More Night’, ice dancers Matilda Friend (17) and William Badaoui (18) delivered their best Short Dance of the season posting a massive boost to their PB by over five points to 40.24 and a lift in their world ranking.
The final cut of twenty dance teams in a 31-team field for the Free Dance was always going to be a big ask for the Sydney dance team and they gave it their best, placing 25th.
The Sapporo Asian Winter Games experience was put to good use in Taipei with both skaters exuding a more attacking style.
“It was not a perfect skate but we’re stoked with a PB,” Matilda said from Taipei.
National Junior Men’s Champion James Min (16) also collected a PB for his short program, scoring 53.72 but landing errors on his triple/triple combo and triple loop cost him a place in the top 24 final free skate and he had to settle for 29th in a 45-trong field.
Australia is celebrating a magic moment in the nation's sporting history with pair skaters Harley Windsor (20) and Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya (17) crowned 2017 Junior World Figure Skating Champions after a confident, attacking free program skate in Taipei City, Taiwan.
Coming into the final ranked third after the short program the Aussie couple were all class, outstripping their rivals from the world's skating powerhouse nations to claim the gold medal ahead of Aleksandra Boikova and Dimitrii Kozlovskii from Russia with China's Yumeng Gao and Zhong Xie taking bronze.
It follows their ground-breaking gold medal at a Junior Grand Prix in Estonia last year, another first for Australian figure skating.
Indigenous skater Harley, from Western Sydney, and his Moscow-born partner Katia scored a personal best for their free skate of 104.16 for a final score of 163.98 - another personal best despite a fall on their throw salchow.
They pulled off a clean throw triple flip and side by side triple jump combos in what was their skate of the season.
"I'm shocked that we got first place, it's crazy to put Australia in the scene for skating and we're over the moon about the gold medal, I can't put it into words," Harley said.
An ecstatic Katia added: "I can't believe it".
Hearing the Australian anthem played at a Junior World Figure Skating championships was moment the pair, and a proud country, will savour for ever.
"Mum and dad this is for you!" Harley said from the kiss and cry as they waited for their score.
There were high hopes for this charismatic team going into the Junior Worlds and they didn't disappoint. After placing third in the short program, the Australians were first to skate in the final group of four pairs and their shot at a medal.
Their 4.30 minute free program was packed with difficulty and they delivered with confidence, opening with a quality split triple twist, following up with two side-by-side triple jumps and then the throw triple flip. With mounting points already on the board, the pair relaxed into an engaging performance that ultimately couldn’t be beaten.
Watching in her Sydney home as her husband Andrei travels with their star students, co-coach Galina Pachin was overwhelmed.
“This is a big thing. I am crying and just so proud,” she said.
The Pachins have taught Windsor since he was a nine-year-old and found a partner for their young charge in Moscow when all attempts at a local partnership failed. It was instant magic when Windsor and Alexandrovskaya first teamed up in Sydney in January 2016 and began competing for Australia mid last year.
The pair split their training between Canterbury Ice Rink in Sydney and Moscow with their Sydney-based coaches Andrei and Galina Pachin and will return to Moscow for less than two weeks training before competing at the World Championships in Helsinki, Finland to vie for an Olympic Qualification spot for Australia in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games next February.
Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya and Harley Windsor continue to set new milestones for Australian figure skating, finishing in third place after their first day of competition in the Pairs short program at the World Junior Championships in Taipei, Taiwan.
The ranking puts Moscow-born Katia, and Harley, a young indigenous man from western Sydney, in strong medal contention heading into what is guaranteed to be a thrilling free skate to determine the 2017 Junior World Champions late Friday evening.
Their score of 59.82 in their short program is just two points behind the leaders, Russians Aleksandra Boikova and Dimitrii Koslovskii.
The Australian pair were awarded small bronze medals for their short program at a press conference for the top three pairs after the event.
“We have come a long way in a short time,” Windsor said when asked about how the relationship works between the two. “You approach it as a business partnership and keep it very professional, as it is just like a full time job, and so you need to respect one another.”
Windsor’s parents were among bleary-eyed supporters celebrating in Sydney after getting up in the middle of the night to watch the couple nail a triple twist lift, perfect side by side double axels and a throw triple flip - a difficult element that only a handful of skaters in the world can do - to notch a new personal best.
China's Yumeng Gao and Zhong Xie are in second.
In the men's short program earlier in the day South Australian dynamo James Min finished 29th with a PB of 53.72.
The competition continues today with Sydney couple Matilda Friend and William Badaoui in the short dance and Holly Harris, the youngest skater on the Australian team, looking to make her mark in the Ladies short program on Friday.
The meteoric rise of Australia’s pair figure skating team Harley Windsor and Katia Alexandrovskaya has been nothing short of amazing.
In less than six months on the international scene and a little over a year since the young indigenous man from Rooty Hill in Sydney and his now 17-year-old partner from Moscow teamed up – the pair has set the skating world alight after winning Australia’s first-ever Junior Grand Prix gold medal in Tallinn, Estonia last September and then placing fifth in the Junior Grand Prix Final in December.
They are tipped to be in medal contention (all going well) at their first Junior World Championship this week in Taipei and that’s exactly what this team wants as the laid-back Harley and the more impatient Katia meld their strengths and weaknesses to become Australia’s greatest pair team ever.
“In the short program we expect to be clean,” Harley said, winked and added, “and second place.”
“We wouldn’t want to be too ambitious,” he said laughing. “Actually, if we can do two clean programs and only come fifth – that’s still good.”
For Katia the differences between Australians and Russians are stark because this is a young woman with high expectations, who is after the best of herself and of her partner.
“Russians are very impatient,” she said, to which Harley chimed in with “extremely impatient.”
“Sometimes I don’t understand Australia because in Russia people are often angry but in Australia I see and hear people who are happy and more friendly,” she said.
The pair split their training between Sydney and Moscow with their Australian Russian coaches Andrei and Galina Pachin.
Whilst Windsor appreciates the training in Moscow, there’s no place like home.
“I don’t like it that much over there. There are apartment blocks everywhere but the training is really good. In fact, I have never understood why people want to go to somewhere like New York either.”
“Australians are slower and I like flora and fauna around me,” he said.
“Too slow sometimes,” piped in Katia.
However, the serious-minded 17-year-old has come a long way since first arriving in Sydney just over a year ago with little knowledge of Australia or English. All that has changed.
“The best thing about Australia is “my awesome partner – the weather, beaches and nature,” she said.
So, of all things that truly bind this unlikely pair team together – it is a love of the outdoors.
After the World Junior Championships this week in Taipei, the pair will return to Moscow for less than two weeks before heading to Helsinki, Finland to compete in the World Championships at the end of March for what promises to be an outstanding event with 29 pair teams entered.
The World Figure Skating Championships is also the first qualifying event for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, where 24 men and ladies places (by nation) will be decided along with 16 pairs and 19 dance spots.
The second round of qualifications for PyeongChang 2018 will occur in September at the Olympic Qualifying Competition.
Australia’s largest, strongest and youngest Junior Worlds Figure Skating team in recent history will compete at the Junior World Figure Skating Championships in Taipei this week.
Contesting the Ladies, Men, Dance and Pair titles will be Holly Harris (14), James Min (16), ice dancers Matilda Friend (17) and William Badoui (18) and pair skaters Harley Windsor (20) and Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya (17).
The rise of pair skaters Windsor and Alexandrovskaya has them tipped as genuine medal contenders.
After winning Australia’s first gold in a Junior Grand Prix and backing it up with a fifth place in the Junior Final and performing high-quality high-level triple throws and twists in their first season, the expectations of the indigenous Sydney-sider and his Moscow-born partner are high.
“Last year when we started I could not expect the result we had,” Alexandrovskaya said of their performances so far. “Australia is not a figure skating country. But this (the pairing) has worked.”
“We are going for a medal but we have to skate clean to do it,” Windsor said.
National Junior Men’s Champion James Min is no stranger to world competition who already has two World Junior Championships under his belt (placing 31st and 27th).
The engaging Adelaide teenager, who is the eldest son of Cambodian refugees, weighs just 44kgs – but is accomplishing multiple triple jump combinations and what he lacks in stature he makes up for in performance skills and execution.
“The key is on-going development,” said coach Richard Laidlaw who has taught Min since his first days on the ice.
“He has a good jumping technique now. All the triples are in place and we will continue to develop quads next season. For now though, it is about doing what he can do well,” Laidlaw said.
Min is much more focussed on the process rather than the outcome.
“I’m doing clean run throughs and my fitness is great,” he said. “I am obsessed over my lutz at the moment because it’s not 100 percent where I want it to be every day.”
“I just need to focus on what I need to do in the moment. Think about the process and not the outcome and do what I do in training.”
At 14, Holly Harris is the youngest in the Australian team but has impressed in her debut junior international season placing 11th in her first Junior Grand Prix (Germany) and collecting a silver medal in Riga, Latvia late last year with mature performances, technically and artistically, that belie her tender years.
Harris, who trains most of the year in Colorado Springs with her mum Karen looking after her whilst her father and siblings remain in Sydney, is a talent to watch for the future.
Coach Tom Zakrajsek confirmed Harris’ potential.
“Holly has been working very hard and training very thoroughly to prepare for World Juniors,” Zakrajsek said.
“I feel fortunate to be coaching her as she is a young talent with a bright future. She has very specific goals for the event regarding personal bests and she will using her first appearance at theses championships to gain experience so that she can springboard to greater achievements over the next few years.”
For ice dancers Matilda Friend and William Badaoui, its’ another week, another country and another comp.
Junior Worlds closes a long and demanding season for duo, who in February, competed back to back in the Four Continents Championship in PyeongChang and the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan.
Baddoui says competing at the Asian Winter Games, where they finished in 6th place with two new PBs, has given them a big confidence boost.
"Just the scale and level of competition at Asian Winter Games, everything feels a little bit easier when you come out of a competition that big," he said.
"Experiencing something that was so close to an Olympics, which is our ultimate goal, gave us new motivation and drive." Friend said.
The Junior and Senior Ice Dance national champions goal for Junior Worlds is to earn a high enough ranking after their short dance to make it through to the free dance , which both acknowledge will require a flawless skate and top effort given the calibre of the 31 teams competing.
"But we're also looking for a PB and to improve our ranking from last year,” they said.
The Junior World Figure Skating Championships will be held from Wednesday March 15 to 18 in Taipei and begin with the men’s short program on Wednesday followed by the Pairs short.
Gangneung Ice Arena has proven it is well and truly ready to host the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, as the Australian Figure Skating Team wrapped up their ISU Four Continents Championships campaign with great results across the board.
Serving as the Test Event for the 2018 Games, the South Korean arena saw the largest Australia contingent of skaters compete at the event, with athletes in every discipline for the first time since 2006.
The first pairs skaters in over a decade, Harley Windsor and Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya, finished the Championship in 11th place, with consistent results in both the short and free program.
“I feel like we're becoming more of a mature senior team now,” said 20-year-old Windsor, who has been skating with 17-year-old Alexandrovskaya since January 2016.
“Overall we are pretty happy with our senior championship.”
Windsor and Alexandrovskaya will now turn their attention to Junior World Championships in mid-March before taking on the world’s best at World Championships later in the month, which is also an Olympic qualification event.
In the men’s event, Sochi 2014 Olympian Brendan Kerry produced fantastic results, finishing 11th overall with a season’s best and his highest ever Four Continents result.
“I was incredibly happy and incredibly annoyed after my season’s best,” said Kerry who recorded his first short program score inside the top ten at an ISU Championships.
“I had so much fun out there and gave it my all.”
Despite nailing majority of his routine, the 22-year-old walked away frustrated with a mistake on his triple axel in the short program.
“I missed my money jump. Ask anyone at my training rink and they'll tell you- it's never the 3A he's worried about.”
But a mistake won’t deter Kerry in his quest for PyeongChang 2018 qualification as he hopes to feature on the Olympic program for the second time.
“That's my number one focus.
“I know that if I give my absolute best at every other event and treat it like an Olympic qualifying competition that when the time comes it won't be as big of a deal,” said Kerry who was also eager to test out the Gangneung Arena.
“The Olympic venue was awesome! Less intimidating than I thought it would've been.”
Kerry now turns his attention to Sapporo, Japan where a team of 30 Australian athletes will make their Asian Winter Games debut.
“I'm excited to do the AWG as there isn't any pressure for a specific result - it's a competition I can do just to enjoy the experience. I'm also really looking forward to going to Japan.”
Fellow Aussies Andrew Dodds and Mark Webster finished in 20th and 21st position respectively in the men’s event.
In the women’s competition, 2014 Olympian Brooklee Han wrapped up her campaign in 14th, two places ahead of Australian teammate Kailani Craine in 16th.
Mixed results for the Aussies saw Han record her best ever free program routine, while a bad day on the ice and two falls for Craine proved to be an important learning lesson for the 18-year-old.
“I expected everything to go as it has gone in practice, so when I made a mistake on the triple lutz I was in a state of shock, and just couldn't recover,” Craine said.
“I am told ‘all champions have had bad skates’, so now I have had mine.”
The Newcastle native is determined to put her bad skate behind her and is looking forward to bouncing back for the Asian Winter Games.
“Even though I know myself that I work way too hard to perform the way I did, the bad days at the office make the good days feel even more special.
“I'm so grateful to have the incredible support from my Australian team mates, and I'm the luckiest girl alive to have my two number one fans by my side; my mum and dad.”
Rounding out the green and gold skaters, the three sets of Australian Ice Dancers finished their ‘4CC’ campaigns with the free dance event on Friday afternoon.
Adele Morrison and Demid Rokachev finished in 14th overall, while AWG skaters Matilda Friend and William Badaoui secured 15th position ahead of Kimberley Hew-Low and Timothy Mckernan in 16th.
Craine, Kerry, Friend and Badaoui will now join pair skaters Paris Stephens and Matthew Dodds plus their AWG teammates in Japan and will look to record some more strong results for Australia.
The 2017 Sapporo Asian Winter Games’ were officially opened overnight and figure skaters are set to take to the ice on Thursday February 23, with Ice Dance the first event on the program.
Live streaming is available on the Sapporo17 website.
IMAGE: Brendan Kerry and coach Tammy Gambill wait for the scores after the free program at the ISU Four Continents Championship. Photo: ISA Facebook
From Sydney to Moscow, to Poland and back to Sydney and Melbourne, then Marseille France for the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final has been Harley Windsor's travel travel schedule in just four weeks and his 16-year-old partner, Katia has done almost the same.
Last night wrapped up the first competitive year for the indigenous figure skater and his Russian-born partner when they secured 5th of the top six pairs in the world in the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final.
The relentless schedule and pressure showed in the free program last night for the young pair who have defied all expectations in making it this far in less than one year together.
The reliable opening Split Triple Twist failed to take off, upsetting the pair's natural rythym, yet they fought throughout the program despite Katia falling on both throw jumps (lutz and salchow).
Their lifts and side by side triple toe jump racked up enough points to kee them ahead of Russian pair Atakhanova and Spirdonov in an event dominated by the winners - also from Russia - Anastasia Mishina and Vladislav Mirzoev who scored 180.63, almost 13 points clear of the Czech silver medallists.
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