by Alexandra Stevenson
|1||Lina FEDOROVA / Maxim MIROSHKIN||RUS||54.37||1|
|2||Margaret PURDY / Michael MARINARO||CAN||51.83||2|
|3||Vasilisa DAVANKOVA / Andrei DEPUTAT||RUS||51.34||3|
|4||Maria VIGALOVA / Egor ZAKROEV||RUS||50.76||4|
|5||Xiaoyu YU / Yang JIN||CHN||50.34||5|
|6||Brittany JONES / Ian BEHARRY||CAN||48.11||6|
|1||Alexandra STEPANOVA / Ivan BUKIN||RUS||61.18||1|
|2||Gabriella PAPADAKIS / Guillaume CIZERON||FRA||54.79||2|
|3||Anna YANOVSKAYA / Sergey MOZGOV||RUS||53.03||3|
|4||Alexandra ALDRIDGE / Daniel EATON||USA||52.60||4|
|5||Evgenia KOSIGINA / Nikolai MOROSHKIN||RUS||50.45||5|
|6||Valeria ZENKOVA / Valerie SINITSIN||RUS||50.39||6|
“I was really happy with the rest of the program (after the fall on Lutz) and how I recovered from that. This is not a good time to have big mistakes.”
“I’ve been working on edges and performing to the audience. Consistency is the biggest things because it’s what separates skaters.”
“There are little things in the free skate, but I’ve been training for a while and I feel comfortable (competing as a senior domestically).”
“I’m still feeling confident (for the free skate) because I know I’m a consistent skater and I can perform better than I did today. I’ll come back fighting in the long.”
“I’m very excited. I worked hard on this, training the (short)program over and over and I put out the best program I could.”
“We just moved the combination (to the second half of the program) for a few more points. We put the double Axel at the beginning because it’s a really strong jump and it goes well with the music there. It really didn’t affect the program at all when we changed it.”
“I’m working on them (having a triple-triple combination). They are not strong enough to put in the program yet but for next season, I’m going to put them in. I knew I could skate a clean program, that’s what I’ve been training for and I was really happy with the result.”
“I’m looking forward to it (the free skate) a lot. I love the free skate. I love how it flows and everything about it.”
“The first jump (in the short program) didn’t go as I had hoped but I feel I fought back for the rest of the program, and I’m really proud of that.”
“I’m going to skate (the free skate) how I have been practicing and hope for the best. My artistry has improved. I have been working a lot off ice with my choreographer Tom Dickson. I’ve also made some changes to my jumps.”
“I was really excited that I was able to start off my first competition where I had a clean (career first triple) Axel. And to do it in the program was very exciting. All the hard work, I felt it in that moment. It was unbelievable. I wish I did the flip. I messed it up and did a double. I want to improve that to be a triple, a beautiful triple.”
“I’m excited to know what it feels like to put the Axel in and to compete with it. I have been working on it for three years and it’s rewarding to do it here.”
“I feel pressure (as the reigning JGP Final champion) in the sense that I want to do well for myself and I want to skate my best at every event. I put myself on high standards. As an overall coming back from winning it last year, I don’t feel a significant amount of pressure. It’s a new season with new goals, like putting in the Axel. I’m focusing on getting two good programs with the Axel and ending up in a good spot.”
“The rink is beautiful. The stands are amazing. Being on the ice and looking around is breathtaking. To be with your coach and stand in the Olympic rink is a huge goal and what I hope to be part of my dream with her. It’s amazing to have a glimpse of it and I hope to be in an Olympic rink again.”
“I’m hoping next year I will be able to compete in the senior Grand Prix circuit. It depends on if I get picked by the host countries.”
“I hope to skate a clean (free skate) program. I also have a triple Axel planned. I want to stay calm through the whole program and know that no matter what happens with the Axel to keep moving.”
“I’m happy with that skate (short program). There was a little bobble but that means there is room for improvement. I can keep working toward the next competition which is nationals.”
“I can’t explain how exciting it is to skate in the Olympic rink. It’s so inspiring. Once I stepped in the rink, I was amazed, it’s so much fun.”
“I blocked it out of my mind (opening mistake on the Axel). I can’t change it. I was focusing on what Damon and Christy were telling me. One thing at a time, that’s how I did it.”
“I was pretty nervous (entering event as top ranked junior man). But after I skated this morning, I realized I’m skating for me and it’s not about anybody else and that calmed me down a lot.”
(On being in first after SP at 2011 JGP Final and World Juniors) “At junior worlds, I had gotten my mental state a lot calmer. I used to get really nervous for the free skate. I have been training so much better and using the tools I have learned at junior worlds to skate clean programs. I’m actually pretty confident going into the long this year.”
(6 December 2012) Sochi, Russia.
The Junior Short Programs christened the “Iceberg” Skating Palace, after a stirring Opening Ceremony, provided by singers and dancers in traditional costuming, moving on carpeting laid down as a “sun” with beams stretching out from the central circle.
The skaters grumbled about this material being placed on the ice, arguing that it softened the ice, so nine official inspectors came onto the ice examining it quite minutely where the carpet had been and presumably filled in any holes. The ice was then resurfaced as per normal.
First up were the Junior Men. Since only six men qualified, and they were from only four countries, the majority of the nine judges were from countries who did not have competitors in this section.
Five of the six qualifiers also skated in the Final last year.
1. SP 74.53 (40.32+34.21); Joshua Farris was so thrilled to be in the lead, he could hardly speak. “It was so inspiring to be in the Olympic rink. It’s so big.” He got here by earning gold in JGP events in Lake Placid, where he landed a quad toe loop in the Free, and a second gold in Bled, in Slovenia. In the two events, he earned more than any other Junior competitor in the Grand Prix. That meant he earned the “star” position of skating last.
He was delighted with that situation. “Competing in this event is not quite so nerve-wrecking, because I’ve done it a couple of times. Of course, it’s very exciting to be here, at the Olympic rink. It’s awesome. But I do not know if anything has truly changed in my skating since last year in Quebec. I am now more experienced.”
He trains with Christy Krall and Damon Allen in Colorado Springs, and is taking part in his fourth Junior Grand Prix Series. For the past three years he has progressed to the Final, finishing 6th in Beijing in 2010, and third in Quebec City last year. He has also gained senior experience, placing 21st and 16th in the past two U.S. championships.
Performing to “Suite for Solo Cello, No.1 in G Major, and Prelude by Yo-Yo Ma”, the now 17-year-old, who earned silver in this year’s World Junior championships in Minsk, Belarus, with his best ever total score of 221.97 and his best ever Free Score of 146.54. His score here in Sochi for the Short Program was just 1.16 below his record for this section of 75.69 gained in 2011 in Poland.
He did, however, step out of his triple Axel, and was penalized with a -1.71 Grade off Execution. Without that slip, he would have beaten his personal best. He pulled himself together with a triple Lutz to triple which was so good he earned a full point over its base value. His flying camel was Level 3 with +0.64. The following triple flip was also solid and gained an extra 1.0. His other two spins were the maximum Level 4 with +0.50 for the change foot sit, and +0.79 for the change foot combination. His final element, the straight line steps were also Level 4 with a full point extra. He is in the lead by 1.25.
2. SP 72.53 (39.07+33.46); Maxim Kovtun, from Moscow, the second ranked qualifier, who also won gold in his two JGP events, in Zagreb and Chemnitz, but with less points than Farris, is also 17. He was a reluctant figure skater preferring football and hockey, but since his father is a skating coach he has always skated. Eventually, he was persuaded that he could have greater success with figure skating than his other loves. For a while, he was trained by Nikolai Morosov, but this season he is now under the tutelage of Tatiana Tarasova and Elena Vodorezova Buianova.
He explained, “The competitor from last year (Kovtun finished fourth in Quebec) and the competitor I am now, are two completely different skaters. It’s not just the fact that I have grown up or reconsidered my values. The parting with Morosov was a blessing in disguise for me.” Buianova had initially refused to accept him. “But, eventually, I was able to persuade her and now I am in seventh heaven. I used to do full run-throughs only a couple of times a week. Now, I am doing them daily and it makes an enormous difference.”
Skating to music from “Lawrence of Arabia”, Kovtun began with very nice, softly landed triple Lutz to triple toe loop and triple Axel. His first spin was a Level 3 +0.86 GoE, but the flying camel was only Level 2 with +0.21 GoE. He performed his triple flip after the half-way point to take advantage of the 10% bonus. However, he was forced to do a double three turn to hold the landing. The jump was saddled with an “e” for wrong edge take-off by Technical Specialist Jayson Peace and his Assistant, former French champion, Vanessa Gusmertoli.
3. SP 69.43 (36.28+33.28); Jason Brown, from Highland Park, Illinois, who turns 18 on December 18, is defending his title earned last year in Quebec, when he set his best score for total points (208.41), Short Program (68.77) and Free Skate (139.64). However, this year he came in as only the third qualifier, after placing second in Courchevel (France) and winning gold in Istanbul.
Training in Lake Arrowhead with Kori Ade and Rob Peal, and with choreography by Rohene Ward, he earned the bronze medal in the last world junior championships.
Skating to Prince’s “The Question of U”, he opened with a triple Axel. Later he would say, “I’m so excited. It’s the first triple Axel I’ve ever landed in competition! I only landed it a week ago Wednesday for the first time. I’ve been trying it for three years. Hopefully, the quad can come quicker! I used to get really nervous, but I’m pretty confident now, going into the long.” It wasn’t absolutely perfect, and he lost -0.71 off the base value of 8.50, although three judges punched in 0, meaning good in every aspect.
The following triple Lutz to triple toe earned an extra +0.30 and his flying camel and change foot sit spins were the highest Level, 4, with +0.64 and +0.43. However, he doubled instead of tripled his flip. He agreed he was so thrilled to land the triple Axel, that his focus went. “I was so excited.” He did, however, pull himself together and his straight line steps were Level 4 with +1.20 and his final spin, a change foot combination, Level 4 and +0.71.
Brown, whose mother is a television producer, said, “It’s so great to be here, in this atmosphere. It’s so exciting to see so many familiar people here. It’s cool to be competing against the same people, people you know, who you are going to keep growing up with.
“I think since last year I have really pushed myself with artistry and with my spins. I am also trying to push my programs in different directions to try and become more diverse. I’ve just put in the triple Axel, so I was keeping my fingers crossed about landing it.”
4. SP 67.55 (38.20+29.35); Ryuju Hino, 17, from Tokyo, is the twice Japanese junior champion. He was fifth in last year’s JGP Final. This season, he was third in Courcheval and second in Linz, in the Austrian Junior Grand Prix. In the last world junior championship, he finished ninth. He has a team of coaches led by I Nagakubo.
Skating to Ta TaKu from The Best of Kodo by Tetsuro Naito and Motofumi Yamaguchi, he began with a good triple Axel and triple Lutz to triple toe. But he lost a small -0.13 on his flying camel spin which was only Level 2. He completed a triple flip and both of his other spins were Level 4 with +0.29 and +0.43. His steps were Level 3 with +0.29.
5. SP 61.74 (31.81+29.93); The final qualifier, Keiji Tanaka, who turned 18 on November 22, is from Osaka, and is trained by Yusuke Hayashi and Utako Nagamitsu. He won silver in Lake Placid and was fourth in Bled, Slovenia. He was the silver medalist in the 2011 world junior championships but only 7th last season. In the JGP Final last season, he was sixth.
Skating to “Afro Freak”, Tanaka opened with a double instead of planned triple Axel. His combination was triple Lutz to triple toe and his triple flip was good. His first spin, the flying camel was Level 2, and the other two spins received Level 4. His steps were Level 3.
6. SP 60.73 (32.13+28.60); The fourth qualifier, Boyang Jin from China, is the only competitor in this championship who did not compete in Quebec last year. That is hardly surprising since he is also the youngest competitor, having turned 15 on October 3, and this is his first international season. He is trained by Zhaoxiao Xu in Harbin. He beat Brown to the gold in Courchevel, but was only second in Slovenia, and the total of those scores was less that Brown’s total.
Skating to “Chambermaid Swing” by Parov Stelar, he opened with a triple Axel but then put at least one hand on the ice on his triple Lutz and singled the second jump, a toe loop.
1. SP 60. 90 (34.68+26.22); Elena Radionova, a blonde 13-year-old from Moscow, who performed in a futuristic, black outfit to music from the science fiction movie “The Fifth Element”, freely admitted, “Today, not everything worked out. I made an error on the double Axel.” She stepped out of the landing of this jump and also was penalized with an “e” for wrong edge takeoff in her triple flip.
But her opening element, a combination of two triple jumps, Lutz to toe loop, was good enough for +0.60 to be added to its base value of 10.10, and all three spins and her steps earned the maximum, Level 4. Her layback spin four votes of the maximum +3 Grade of Execution from the nine member judging panel. No other competitor received a single +3 for any element. (Four of the other five judges punched in +2 and the remaining judge thought the move worthy only of +1.0).
Radionova added, “I hope to do better in the free skating. Everybody has different temperaments. How you react depends on your psychology. I was born with a calm psychology. I go out and just do it. I love skating in front of an audience. The most important thing for me is to please them. The score depends on the judges. I want to be consistent and perform well no matter what.
“Of course, it’s an honor to come here as number one, but still it’s a responsibility. The rink is just great, and I think not everybody has the opportunity to compete in an Olympic ice rink. When you compete in Russia, you get bigger support from the crowd, but it is important to have confidence in yourself.”
2. SP 59.18 (33.84+25.34); Hannah Miller from Williamston, Mich. who trains in East Lansing with her aunt, Kirsten Miller-Ziaholz, lies only 1.72 behind the leader. She explained after her energetic performance to “Tanguero” by Sexteto Mayor, dressed in a black and pink outfit, “I was very happy with my skate. I am working on my triple-triple combination. Hopefully, I’ll be doing that next year. I think the rink is simply amazing. It’s just beautiful to skate here. I don’t think skating on home ice is an advantage for the Russians because we all skate on the same ice.”
She came into the competition as only the fifth ranked competitor, after taking silvers in Zagreb in Croatia and Linz in Austria. So, for her to be lying second was unexpected from the other competitors’ point of view. She added, “I’m very excited. I worked very hard on this, training the program over and over and I put out the best program I could.”
Daniil Barantsev and Tanith Belbin choreographed her routines. To maximum the points, she explained, they “put the double Axel at the beginning because it’s a really strong jump and it goes well with the music there. It really didn’t affect the program at all when we changed it. We put the combination (of triple loop to double loop) as the last jumping element to get the extra ten percent points.” She also brought off, as her second element, a triple flip which earned +0.50 over its base value. All three spins and her step sequence gained Level 4.
The Russian press questioned her about not presenting a triple-triple. “I’m working on it,” she replied. But they are not strong enough to put in the program yet but. I’m going to put them in next season. I knew I could skate a clean program, that’s what I’ve been training for and I was really happy with the result. I’m looking forward to getting back on the ice. I love my free routine. I love how it flows and everything about it.”
The 16-year-old comes from a very skating minded family, but it isn’t all on figure skates. “My coach is my aunt and my dad played hockey in the 1988 Olympics. I’ve tried skating on hockey skates but without the pick, I fell down. My whole family skates. I have three younger sisters. (The youngest are twins and one of them plays hockey.) I like snowboarding but I’m only allowed to do that when I’m not skating. I can’t risk injury.”
The family is very well traveled and Miller spent some years in Switzerland attending school, where she became fluent in German. She is still an honors 4.0 student at the school she attends a Math and Science Academy. She is thinking of becoming a doctor.
3. SP 57.94 (33.25+24.69); Anna Pogorilaya, a 14-year-old from Moscow, skated to Anne Dudley’s “Songs from the Victorious City”, presenting an impressive +0.70 triple Lutz to triple toe loop. But her triple flip was saddled with an “e” for wrong edge take-off and she had a slight -0.13 deduction off her Level 3 steps. The other three moves which receive a level, all spins, received the maximum 4. Her double Axel earned +0.36 over its base value.
“I’m trembling now,” she said after she’d skated. “There was a mistake in the step sequence and that is upsetting. I was ill before and this is my first season after the injury last season and I started to work harder. I understood I was a little behind the other girls who were doing triple-triple combinations but slowly I started to get into shape and catching up with the rest of them. The rink is so big here, I almost got lost. It’s just super. I don’t think we are at an advantage competing here because the ice is the same for everyone and all of us are competing here for the first time.”
She came into the event having won in Chemnitz, Germany, and placed third in Zagreb.
4. SP 51.16 (26.24+24.92); Angela Wang, a 16-year-old, who was 8th in the past U.S. senior championship, is from Salt Lake City and trains in Colorado Springs, Colo. She was inspired to take up the sport after watching the 2002 Olympics in her home city in 2002 when she was five.
Wang, whose parents emigrated from China to the United States in 1994, skated fifth, to the music from the award-winning movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” by Tan Dun. She earned her place in this event with a bronze in the JGP in Lake Placid and gold in Zagreb.
Wang had planned a triple Lutz to triple toe for her short program but, she explained, “The landing on the first jump didn’t go as I had hoped (so she had to single the second jump, a toe loop) but I feel I fought back for the rest of the program, and I’m really proud of that.”
She was given an “e” for her triple flip. However, the other five elements all were earned their base value or better. Her combination and layback spins were rewarded with the maximum level, 4, and the flying camel received Level 3. Her steps were Level 2. Her components ranged from two 5.25s up to six 6.75.
Asked how she would prepare for the Free Skate, she said, “I’m going to skate how I have been practicing and hope for the best. My artistry has improved. I have been working a lot off ice with my choreographer Tom Dickson. I’ve also made some changes to my jumps.”
She was also asked about training along the twice world champion, Patrick Chan. “Training with him is great. He’s such a good skater. He’s an inspiration to me. I’m so lucky to have that.”
5. SP 49.60 (26.22+23.38); Satoko Miyahara, Japan, 14, who was fourth in the world junior championships earlier this year, skated to “The Swan” by Camille St. Saens. But she stepped out of her first jump, a triple Lutz which was given an arrow for slight under-rotation, and she could not get airborne for the necessary second jump. She did not take advantage of “Plan B” and at least tag a double toe onto her next jump, a triple flip, although the flip was good, receiving a +0.30 GoE.
All her other elements received more than the base value. She is trained by Mie Hamada and her choreography created by Tom Dickson.
6. SP 47.23 (25.86+22.37); Leah Keiser, a 15-year-old from Wexford, Pa., is trained in Aliso Viejo, Calif., by John Nicks, who said he was, “absolutely delighted to be accompanying two very accomplished and talented young ladies” to the Final. (His other pupil is the favorite for the Ladies Senior event, U.S. champion, Ashley Wagner.)
Keiser performed to “Intro and Rondo Capriccioso by Camille St. Saens, but fell on her triple Lutz, the first jump of her planned combination with a triple toe loop. It was the only fall of this event and undoubtedly cost her a lot.
However, she said, “I was really happy with the rest of the program and how I recovered from that. This is not a good time to have big mistakes. I’ve been working on edges and performing to the audience. Consistency is the biggest things because it’s what separates skaters.”
The fall hasn’t unduly affected her. She said, “Going into the free skate, I’m still feeling confident because I know I’m a consistent skater and I can perform better than I did today. I’ll come back fighting in the long.”
Although her triple flip received an “e” for wrong edge take-off, all her other five required moves earned over their base value, including her double Axel, which was set after the half-way point to take advantage of the 10% bonus. Two of her spins, the combination and the flying camel earned the maximum Level 4. Her final spin, the layback, and her steps were Level 3. Her component marks ranged from two 4.75s up to two 6.50s.
Keiser earned her entry to this event by winning the Junior Grand Prix in Istanbul (in which Miyahara placed third. However, Keiser was fourth in her second assignment, in Germany, while Miyahara won the JGP in Lake Placid. That meant the Japanese youngster has a higher overall JGP ranking and got to skate after Keiser. Keiser was required to skate first up, a not-popular position because the audience hasn’t been thawed out by previous performances and the skater can not take full advantage of the warm-up time because he/she needs to be fresh for their performance.
Gale Tanger was the referee, Robert Rosenbluth was the U.S. judge, Karen Butcher, the Canadian judge, and Japan, China, Finland, the Czech Republic and South Korea were represented on the nine-member panel. Shin Amano was the Technical Specialist and Natalia Lebedeva, his Assistant.