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What an emotional evening - and none of us were all by ourselves!

Dmitry and Olga © Reinhard Egli

It was kind of expected that the Grand Slam Standard would turn out to be as wonderful as Latin was the day before. There were clear favorites to reach the final and the crowd was making sure we all knew who they were. 

There were three Russian couples, two Lithuanian couples and a German couple who found their way to the final. 

The Russian crowd of course welcomed the three-time World Champions Dmitry Zharkov and Olga Kulikova and their fellow Russian contenders Evgeny Moshenin – Dana Spitsyna and Alexey Glukhov – Anastasia Glazunova with loud support but they also paid the other three couples the respect they had earned during quarterfinal and semifinal. It was nice to see the warmth of the crowd, which obviously enjoyed the evening with highest quality of Standard dancing. 

Coincidence or not, it was a special moment to hear “All By Myself” played for Dmitry and Olga for their solo waltz in final, as just a little more than an hour before we had an in-depth interview with Dmitry only. You will have a chance to see the interview later. Of course we understand, preparing for the final stages of the competition takes time and effort and we wouldn’t want to interrupt her adjusting her dress and making finishing touches to her appearance for the spotlight in order to be perfect. Dmitry, however, showed into the interview room relaxed and seemingly enjoying the atmosphere of the event. 

And they were perfect. Dmitry and Olga dominated the final from the beginning to the end. And for the other finalists, there were no changes in positions after waltz. It seemed like a clear case, but for sure there were highs and lows for all couples somewhere in between. Mostly highs, as we can see from the increasing number of points compared to their semifinal points. 

For their emotional Dance of Honor they chose Waltz, and the same song was played again. Tears were rolling, not only on Dmitry’s and Olga’s faces, but also outside the parquet. It was a beautiful and a perfect end for the Sunday evening. And for the whole event, which was professionally organized by The All Russian Federation of DanceSport and Acrobatic Rock’n’Roll. They have raised the standard of such a dance sport festival to a new level and we were privileged and fortunate to be there to learn and to appreciate the different aspects of a top quality event as we are approaching a new decade. 

The top 12 of the Grand Slam ranking list will receive an invitation to Shanghai, to the Grand Slam Series Final. With their fifth place at ROC Vaidotas Lacitis and Veronika Golodneva from Lithuania climbed up the ranking list and secured their place among those who will walk the red carpet on the first weekend of December. But we will surely see many of these couples attending the World Championship in Vienna in a few weeks. We are all looking forward to it, too. 

You can relive the decisive stages of the Grand Slam Series at Russian Open Dancesport Championships 2018 at www.flodance.com.

Dmitry Zharkov - Olga Kulikova © Reinhard Egli