The 2019 European Figure Skating Championships wrapped up in Minsk on Saturday, 27 January. The ice dance event ended with a spectacular gala performance attended by Belarus President Aleksander Lukashenko.
For almost a week Belarus was the center of figure skating in Europe. The top skaters of the continent, including the Olympic champions, came to Minsk to compete for the best of the best title.
Who are the winners?
Spain’s skating star Javier Fernandez crowned a remarkable career as he claimed a seventh consecutive European title after winning the men’s free skating.
— sandra🥇🌸🐰 (@hopeIegacy) January 24, 2019
“It was really difficult to compete after such a long break since the Olympics. It was quite complicated. And knowing that it is my final career competition, it was really hard to win here,” Fernandez told the packed 15,000-seat Minsk arena about his decision to hang up his skates.
This victory in Minsk equaled the 2018 Olympic bronze medalist and two-time world champion the record of Russian skating icon Evgeni Plushenko.
— Evgeni Plushenko (@EvgeniPlushenko) January 26, 2019
Russian sixteen-year-old Sofia Samodurova stormed past fellow Olympic champion Alina Zagitova and clinched her debut gold in the ladies’ single free skating program.
Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres of France became the first French European pairs skating champions since 1932 after a stunning display in Minsk.
“We’ve made history. But we’re gonna keep on going. This is not the finish for us,” Cipres shared his emotions after the event.
The duo rounded struck gold as they built on their overnight lead of nearly three points over defending champions, Russians Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov.
CHAMPIONS D’EUROPE ! 💪🇫🇷 Vanessa James et Morgan Ciprès décrochent le premier titre continental en couple pour la France DEPUIS 87 ANS 😱 pic.twitter.com/zt15Z9vjrv
— Eurosport.fr (@Eurosport_FR) January 24, 2019
Another French pair Guillaume Cizeron and Gabriella Papadakis won their fifth consecutive European title leaving their Russian rivals Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin far behind.
“We are really happy. That skate was almost technically perfect. The crowd was really uplifting and we couldn’t be more grateful to them,” said Cizeron.
🔢 The ISU European Figure Skating Championships – Ice Dance Medalists:
🥇 Gabriella Papadakis / Guillaume Cizeron 🇫🇷
🥈 Aleksandra Stepanova / Ivan Bukin 🇷🇺
🥉 Charlene Guignard / Marco Fabbri 🇮🇹
— ISU Figure Skating (@ISU_Figure) January 27, 2019
Held in Belarus for the first time, the championship welcomed over 100 skaters. As to Belarusian ice dancers Anna Kublikova and Yuri Gulitsky, they were ranked 18th with 147.51 points.
During the closing ceremony, Aleksander Lukashenko also took to the ice to thank the athletes, judges and the audience. Besides, he expressed his belief that Minsk had deserved to host the European Figure Skating Championships and proved it can do it very well.
Indeed, judging by numerous overwhelmingly positive reactions on social media, the ice skating community can’t but agree with the Belarusian leader.
Добрый вечер! pic.twitter.com/ObHAHoIlmb
— Юра Гулицкий (@yura_gulicki) January 27, 2019
Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko (C) flashes the V-sign as he poses for a photo with the athletes after the gala exhibiton at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships, in Minsk, on January 27, 2019. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP) pic.twitter.com/WH6WW6c4C1
— hamonrsa (@Sk84it) January 27, 2019
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Hi everyone !!👋 I wanted to wait before posting about this amazing European Championships. We finished on Thursday but our French team had not finished competing until Saturday, so I wanted to wait out of respect for everyone on this beautiful French team. Firstly… Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!! Wow, there are no words to describe this feeling. To be able to call ourselves the 2019 European Champions🤗!! This is something we have dreamed about for so long. We are so proud to represent France, our federation @ffsportsdeglace and our families here in Belarus. Belarus 🇧🇾 YOU will always be very dear to our hearts! You made us feel at home during EVERY practice and even more so with that STANDING OVATION after our long program. Wow! 🥰 Thank you! To our families, friends, coaches, our entire team back in Tampa and all of our supporters who have never stopped believing in us… YOU made this possible. You believed in us even when we didn’t believe in ourselves. OUR success is truly YOUR success and this medal is for all of us! We can’t thank you enough! We love you all! 2019 European Champions yesssss!!🙈😆!!! I want to put in a special thank you to @johnkerrsk8er who has been a part of this team since the beginning. He was not present this year as our choreographer, but he has played a vital role in our success today; with our HIT programs from the last 2 years and our famous SOS program that went Viral! You will always be a part of this team! Thank you Our team: @ffsportsdeglace @brojo1126 @silviafontana76 @jeremybarrett @guillaume_cizeron @charlieawhite @darabushman @nestorgarciasantos @tyanamarlowe @maximerodroguez @tyanamarlowe @astraeecouture @johnwilsonblades @edeaskates @crystalprincesalon @floridahospitalcenterice @johnkerrsk8er
From my fan point of view it’s been amazing Figure Skating European Championship. The ones who I love the most in all categories have taken some medal, with some of them it was very surprising. The more proud fan I am. #EuroFigure2019 #FigureSkating
— Monika Pokludová (@Niikkaa90) January 26, 2019
— Jennifer Willard (@ArtWillard) January 27, 2019
🎤 A dramatic Men’s Final ended in tears and hugs all around – @javierfernandez leaves the competitive rinks hoping to leave behind a legacy 👉📹
— ISU Figure Skating (@ISU_Figure) January 27, 2019
About 105,000 spectators from more than 30 countries visited the large-scale championship. According to the Belarusian Union of Skaters, 30,000 tickets were purchased by foreigners from Japan, Chile, Germany, Italy, Slovakia, France, Lithuania, Latvia, the Czech Republic and other countries.