As the Europeans 2023 ends in Espoo, Finland, we reflect on what has been one of our best results in recent years for our performance athletes. A Silver medal in the Ice Dance, a top 10 finish in Pairs and strong skates from both our singles skaters.
After a hotly contested Rhythm Dance, the fight for Gold was on in Ice Dance, with fan favourites, Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson lying in 2nd place narrowly missing out to the Italian team, Guignard and Fabbri. Less than a point and a half stood between them, Lilah and Lewis skated a fierce and powerful performance to a Lady Gaga mash-up to bring home the score of 123.77. In the end the Italians took the gold by 2.55-point lead.
Lilah commented in the press release afterwards when asked about representing Britain “Honour is the word that comes to mind, and just to realise that we’re a part of that legacy is really humbling. Something that is a big mission of ours is to encourage as many young people as possible to get into the sport in Great Britain!”
The British Pairs team, Anastasia Vaipan-Law and Luke Digby, finished 10th, a substantial improvement on their 18th place finish at last year's Europeans. Securing this place with a brilliant James Bond medley in their Free Skate, they scored 88.06 and a score of 49.30 in the Short Program, just shy of their seasons best.
The two-time national champs commented “We are pleased with our performance and delighted to have a top 10 finish in only our second championship appear. Yes, we would always want more, but most importantly, we are moving in the right direction and gaining valuable experience along the way.”
National Champions, Natasha McKay and Graham Newberry also skated well with strong performances. Natasha also scored close to her seasons best in the Free Skate to a powerful medley from the movie Burlesque. The 2022 Olympian was in the mix with some fierce competition and placed 19th overall with a score of 148.00.
The Dundee skater reflected “I felt I was in a great place physically and mentally and after a solid short programme and I wanted to attack my free. Yes, it didn’t go plan but I am happy that I went for and left it all out on the ice.”
Graham was off to a blistering start finishing out the Short Program roster in 15th with a score of 70.85 which is a season’s best. With a powerful triple axel and a triple loop, triple toe combo the short program was electric. He fought hard in the Free Program, however an uncharacteristic fall on his triple flip as well as other issues found him slipping down to 23rd place overall.
Graham contemplating on his performances commented “I was super happy with my short programme, and I need to take confidence from my skate. The free was just one of them days that I need to learn from. I am now fully focused on the worlds and putting down two strong performances in Japan.”
The 2023 European Championships leaves a legacy of strength and inspiration; strength in performance, power and talent; and inspirating young British skaters in all disciplines who now see podium places and medals as a reality in major championships. Thank you and congratulations to all our performance athletes who left everything on the ice!
Up next for our figure skating performance team is Figure Junior Worlds 27th Feb – 5th March – Calgary, CAN.
Photos with kind permission from @isufigureskating and @jmfotoz