Admit it, you didn’t think Alena Leonova was going to be the World silver medalist last March. Neither did I. I had her sixth in my preview, but in fact, I actually thought she would’ve had to do a whole lot to get there.
She had a great start to her season, medals at all three of her Grand Prix events, including a bronze in the Final. But then, she faltered and took an unexpected bronze at the Russian Nationals and then, even worse, a seventh at Europeans.
But she came into Worlds two months after that seventh-place finish and blew everyone away with this short program, which put her first going into the free skate. This performance was certainly the best of her career – fast, expressive, and confident. And at a World Championships that was wide open, she run through the door while others made mistakes.
This season hasn’t been all that kind to Leonova. A sixth and a seventh on the Grand Prix, then, even worse, a seventh at Russian Nationals. As a result, the reigning World silver medalist is not even on the Russian team for the European Championships. Let’s hope this short program won’t be the last short we see from Leonova at a major international competition.