TALLINN, Estonia -- Russia dominated the first day of the European figure skating championships on Wednesday, taking the top three positions in the men's and pairs short programs.
World champions Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov led the pairs competition after a clean skate that scored 82.36 points in a classical program to music from the ballet "La Esmeralda." Mishina and Galliamov won the world title last year and have won all four of their competitions this season going into next month's Olympics.
Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov were in second on 81.58 after Tarasova put a hand down when landing from a throw. Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii were third on 76.26 after Boikova doubled their opening triple salchow. They have a 13-point lead over the next-ranked pair. The pairs free skate is Thursday.
Andrei Mozalev led a Russian sweep of the top three positions in the men's short program, only three days after he was added to the team as an injury replacement.
Less than a point separates the three Russians, leaving the competition finely poised ahead of the free skate on Friday. Mozalev leads with 99.76 points after landing a quadruple toeloop-triple toeloop combination, a quad salchow and a triple axel, with Mark Kondratiuk on 99.06 and Evgeni Semenenko on 99.04.
Mozalev, who won the world junior title at the same venue in 2020, was named to the Russian squad on Sunday after 2018 Olympian Mikhail Kolyada was injured in training. Mozalev is looking to impress the federation to claim one of the three spots on the Russian Olympic team.
"It was a little difficult for me when I found out I was coming here to compete, but I coped with it," he said.
The coronavirus has caused several skaters to miss the European championships.
Five-time European ice dance champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France withdrew last week, citing the risk of contracting the virus before the Olympics. Most of the Israeli team is absent after media in the country reported a virus outbreak on the squad.