Figure skating-Russia's Valieva sets two world records in emphatic win in Sochi

Figure Skating - ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating - 2021 Rostelecom Cup - The Iceberg Skating Palace, Sochi, Russia - November 27, 2021 Georgia's Morisi Kvitelashvili in action during the men's free skating REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) -Russia's Kamila Valieva won the Rostelecom Cup on Saturday by beating her own free skate and combined total score world records a day after smashing the world record in the short program.

The 15-year-old reinforced her status as a gold-medal favourite for next year's Beijing Olympics by leading a Russian podium sweep. Silver medallist Elizaveta Tuktamysheva trailed Valieva by more than 40 points, while Maya Khromykh took the bronze. All three qualified for the Grand Prix Final in Japan next month.

Skating to Ravel's Bolero, Valieva effortlessly completed three quadruple jumps to earn 185.29 points for a combined total of 272.71, two world records. On Friday she set a new high score of 87.42 in the short program.

On the men's side, Georgia's Morisi Kvitelashvili edged Mikhail Kolyada of Russia to win his first Grand Prix title, but the Russian's second-place finish was enough to qualify him for next month's final.

Performing to a medley of songs by Frank Sinatra, Kvitelashvili fell on his quadruple toe loop but managed to cleanly execute most of the other elements of his free skate to clinch gold with a total of 266.33 points, a personal best.

Kolyada, silver medallist in the team event at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, finished fewer than two points overall behind his Georgian rival. Japan's Kazuki Tomono placed third with 264.19 points.

Russians swept the podium in the pairs as Anastasia Mishina and Alexander Galliamov confidently clinched gold with a near-flawless free skate that earned 226.98 points.

Mishina and Galliamov, as well as silver-winning pair Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin, qualified for the Grand Prix Final. Yasmina Kadyrova and Ivan Balchenko took bronze.

Reigning ice dance world champions Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov pleased the home crowd as they twirled beautifully to music by Rachmaninov to win gold, earning 211.72 points and their second Grand Prix gold medal this season.

Italians Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri finished just over eight points behind the Russians, with both pairs of dancers qualifying for the final.

Canada's Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Soerensen clinched bronze with 191.40 points.

The Rostelecom Cup was the last of the six Grand Prix events during the Olympic season before the final on Dec. 9-12 in Osaka.

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Ed Osmond and Clare Fallon)

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