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World Championships beckon for Olympic figure skaters

19 March 2018

FIGURE SKATING: 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, Brendan kerry, Harley Windsor and Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya 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.Harley Katia PyeongChang

“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 Alexandrovskaya, 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," Alexandrovskaya said.

"Olympics is in my heart. I take all of the emotions from PyeongChang and they will be forever in my heart.”

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 at PyeongChang

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.

Belinda Noonan

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