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The prodigy is heading to the Winter Olympics after winning gold at the European Figure Skating Championships
Mark Kondratiuk continued his meteoric rise and sealed a place at the Beijing Games by becoming continental champion for the first time – then spoke of his misgivings and pledged to hand a medal to his coach.
Russian champion Kondratiuk, who was a little-known competitor until last season, set a personal best of 286.56 points to move from second place after the short program to titlist in Tallinn.
The 18-year-old landed a toe loop and two Salchows alongside several Rippon jumps with his arms aloft to outshine Italian Daniel Grassl and Latvia’s Denis Vasiliev, both of whom also earned debut medals at the competition.
“I’m happy with the elements performed but not very happy with my skating,” the CSKA Moscow skater admitted afterwards, via TASS.
— ISU Figure Skating (@ISU_Figure) January 14, 2022
“I would like it to be more emotional, like at the Russian Championship, but it didn’t work out. I don’t know how it looked from the outside – I’m [speaking] purely based on my feelings.”
Kondratiuk said he plans to hand one of the awards he received for his routines to Svetlana Sokolovskaya, his coach who had earlier pictured herself flying with him to the showpiece from Moscow.
“I will give one medal to Svetlana… I will keep the big one for myself at home in a box,” he added.
“Titles are nice. Today I won, [so] I’ll be happy for a couple of days and then I have to continue working.
“Maybe titles give you self-confidence but if you don’t think that this is a burden of responsibility, then it’s easier. So far, it seems to be working [out].”
Gleeful Kondratiuk was seen clutching a teddy and grinning as he watched the results come in while sitting back stage at the national championships in St Petersburg at the end of 2021.
© Jurij Kodrun / International Skating Union / International Skating Union via Getty Images
The rising star has repeatedly praised his coaches, telling Sokolovskaya shortly afterwards: “Thank you for this path that we are walking together.
“Without you, this victory would never have happened. I would also like to thank other specialists of our coaching staff who work with me and make an invaluable contribution to achieving results.”
He also expressed gratitude to his fans for “such insane support.” “I hope I could bring you energy in return,” he added. “Why fate ordered it this way, I don’t know – but I’m happy with this opportunity.”
The Beijing Olympics are scheduled to take place from February 4-20 2022.