BUDAPEST – Julia Lipnitskaia’s spectacular but respectful routine to John Williams’ score from “Schindler’s List” earned her the gold medal in the women’s event at the European Figure Skating Championships on Friday.
The 15-year-old Lipnitskaia, who was second behind compatriot Adelina Sotnikova after Wednesday’s short program, completed jump after spectacular jump, ending her free skate with a spin so fast she briefly became a blur. She scored 209.72 points, her season’s best.
“I was very nervous before my skate and my legs were trembling,” Lipnitskaia said. “In the second half of the program I was able to pull myself together and skate really well.”
Sotnikova, who faltered after a triple lutz but otherwise presented an exquisite routine, finished second with 202.36 points, while Italy’s Carolina Kostner, the defending and five-time champion, finished third with 191.39 points.
Lipnitskaia was the youngest competitor in the field and also became the youngest winner of the event.
Lipnitskaia wore a red dress, evoking the little girl in Steven Spielberg’s film whose red coat is one of the only details in color in the black-and-white film. The tension in the performance was evident, but she said it did not affect her presentation.
“Emotions help me to perform well,” said Lipnitskaia, the first Russian winner of the event since Irina Slutskaya in 2006. “I always thought that they would distract me, hinder my technique, but I discovered that emotions help me improve my performance.”
Lipnitskaia and Sotnikova are the favorites to get the two Olympic slots Russia earned in the women’s event, with Russian skating officials set to make a decision by Jan. 27.
“I think that now as a European champion I should make the team,” Lipnitskaia said. “My goal for the Olympics is just to skate clean and show good skating.”
Friday’s other event, the pairs’ short program, was won by defending champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia, who earned a season-best score (83.98) in dominating the competition.