Javier Fernandez leads European figure skating championships after short program


MOSCOW (AP) – Javier Fernandez took a step toward his sixth consecutive European Figure Skating Championships gold medal on Wednesday by being the only skater in the men’s short program to land two quads.

In the last major competition for European skaters before next month’s Olympics, the Spaniard opened with a clean quad toe loop-triple toe loop combination. He followed with a quad salchow, which he landed awkwardly but upright. He scored 103.82 points, the only skater in triple digits and more than a dozen ahead of second-place Dmitri Aliev of Russia.

“I was able to perform pretty good,” said Fernandez, who also executed a clean triple axel. “We were not looking for perfection.

“I felt this was a good run through and practice for the Olympics,” Fernandez added. “My goal for Europeans is to win, because it is important for me, important to keep writing history not only in Europe, but for Spain especially.”

Aliev, skating in his first European championship, had planned a difficult quad lutz-triple toe to begin, but tripled the opening jump.

“In the first hundredth of a second, I rethought the quad, because I took off awkwardly so I went for the triple,” he said. “An impulse in your brain says ‘Something’s not right,’ and you have to react.”

Deniss Vasiljevs of Latvia was in third place. He didn’t attempt a quad, but landed all four of his triples cleanly.

“I’m really looking forward to upcoming challenges, the free program,” Vasiljevs said.

Mikhail Kolyada, whose three Grand Prix medals this season had raised hopes he would lead a resurgence in Russian men’s skating, was in fourth place after stepping out of his first quad and doubling his second attempt.

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