Preview: 2024 European Championships
by Matteo Morelli
Lithuania is ready to kick off the 2024 European Figure Skating Championships and crown this year’s continental champions. The competitions will take place at Žalgiris Arena in Kaunas, a multi-purpose venue that can accommodate up to around 15,000 spectators for such an event.
Hungary was originally meant to host the European Championships, however early in 2023 the Hungarian Federation had to pull out due to financial reasons and, after a call for bids to host the event, the ISU awarded the event to Lithuania.
The ice dance will see 33 teams competing, with 21 countries being represented.
The Medal Hunt
Entering the event as the reigning silver world medallists and European Champions will be Italy’s Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri, who recently won a silver medal at the Grand Prix Final and collected a sixth national title. This very experienced team will be competing at their twelfth European Championships, with a gold and two bronze medals won so far.
They will be challenged by Great Britain’s Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson, who for the first time this season won over the Italian team by earning their first ever Grand Prix gold medal at NHK Trophy in Japan. This will be their fifth European Championships, and they have earned a silver medal before at last year’s event.
The fight for a medal will also see another two experienced European teams potentially facing each other: Finland’s Juulia Turkkila and Matthias Versluis and Lithuania’s Allison Reed and Saulius Ambrulevičius. The Finnish team enters the event as the reigning bronze medallist from last year’s Europeans and, so far this season, they have earned a bronze medal at Grand Prix of Espoo, Finland; the Lithuanian team have won two bronze medals (Skate Canada and NHK Trophy) this season, their first Grand Prix medals ever, and are determined to secure a top three finish in front of their home crowds, after finishing just off the podium last year.
Also posing a threat for a podium finish are France’s Evgeniia Lopareva and Geoffrey Brissaud, who this season won two Grand Prix bronze medals (Skate America and Grand Prix de France), and Czech Republic’s Natálie Taschlerová and Filip Taschler, who will be back to competitions after having to withdraw from Cup of China Grand Prix because of an injury that affected Taschler.
Event info: Teams have official practices from Monday, January 08. The rhythm dance kicks off on Friday, January 12, at 12:00pm (EET); the free dance occurs on Saturday, January 13, at 6:30pm (EET).