Rivals hail “idols” Panfilova and Rylov after Russian pair glide to gold

LAUSANNE, Jan 12 – Russia’s Apollinariia Panfilova and Dmitry Rylov won the pairs gold medal on Sunday with an incredible display of speed, precision and technical excellence.

And their rival skaters at the Lausanne 2020 Youth Olympic Games are in no doubt that the duo are destined for figure skating stardom.

“They are my idols,” said Cate Fleming (USA), who finished sixth with partner Jedidah Isbell (USA). “They are so clean, so comfortable out there. I never thought I’d even compete against them. I’m just happy to even be on the same ice as them.”

“They have such quality to their skating. They know they are the best and they are super confident,” said Brooke McIntosh (CAN), who finished fourth.

Apollinariia Panfilova and Dmitry Rylov on their way to gold | Joe Toth for OISphotos.com

Her partner, Brandon Toste (CAN), agreed. “They’re really great because all the elements they do have a really nice quality to them,” he said. “They look effortless which is always great to see and they always skate to their music.

“Speed is really important. In figure skating you want to be able to flow across the ice, and their speed lets them really fill out the rink which is something the judges are always looking for.”

“They can be future superstars,” said Luis Schuster (GER), who came eight with partner Letizia Roscher. “We all want to make it to the Olympic Games, of course. But they are so fast. They just fly over the ice, and their elements are just the best.”

Panfilova and Rylov were not letting the acclaim go to their heads, however. “We are not idols, or people that should be followed,” Panfilova said. “We have a lot of work to do to get better.”

Panfilova and Rylov | Jed Leicester for OISphotos.com

The winners scored a total of 199.21, wowing the enthusiastic crowd at the Lausanne Skating Arena with a programme that included a flawless triple twist lift, triple salchow and throw triple loop.

Diana Mukhametzianova and Ilya Mironov (RUS) got silver with 175.42, while Alina Butaeva and Luka Berulava (GEO) took bronze with 157.29.

“The crowd was very loud and we felt the support after every single element,” Mironov said. “But Apollinariia and Dmitry have great stability, speed and experience. They have been skating for such a long time. That’s what makes them so good.”

Skating fans will be keen to see if the Russian duo can take their form into the senior competitions, as the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games approach.

“We really enjoyed the atmosphere but we have to work more to go to the senior Olympic Games,” Rylov said. “We have to grow to become much better. We need to add new pieces to our routines but it is a lot of work to put all these things together. We will keep trying to improve.”

OIS nm/sb/pp/sg

By IOC Young Reporters for Olympic Information Service

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