Russia’s triumph in the pairs skating event at the World Figure Skating Championships was somewhat marred by the controversial behavior of Aleksandra Boikova, who directed caustic remarks at her own coach after winning bronze.
The Russian skater, who was visibly upset by her third-place finish, reacted angrily to the fact that she and her partner had been overshadowed by their teammates and training partners, Anastasia Mishina, 19, and Aleksandr Galliamov, 21, who sensationally claimed gold on their senior debut at the championships.
After receiving the scores from judges and realizing the final standings, Boikova retorted: “Congratulations – now you have the world champions” – a reference to the newly-crowned gold medalists also being trained by top coach Tamara Moskvina.
Boikova’s comments left Russian fans agog, as it was her, rather than Moskvina, who was clearly culpable for two noticeable errors in the free program, which cost the couple the coveted title.
Boikova and Kozlovsky were first after the short program but squandered their lead after failing to deliver clean skating on Thursday, dropping two places down the standings.
Two-time world champions Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, of China, finished second, having also made slight errors in their free routine, with Sui under-rotating two jumps.
The couple now have five world medals after claiming gold in 2017 and 2019, and silver in 2015 and 2016.
World tournament debutants Mishina and Galliamov produced a stunning performance in Stockholm, nailing all technical elements in their free program and posting a whopping score of 227.59 points, which appeared unachievable for the rest of the competitors.
Their music choice turned out to be prophetic, as they skated to Queen’s ‘We are the Champions’, with the athletes ending a gold medal drought for Russian pairs which had lasted for eight years.
They became the youngest pairs world champions since the legendary Russian duet of Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergey Grinkov scooped the title on their senior debut in 1986.