by Alexandra Stevenson
Joshua Farris (USA), 1st after the Short Program
(On recovering well from his rough warm up) Basically after the warm up my coach (Damon Allen) was like, rely on your training. Iíve done numerous clean short programs. I just let my muscle memory take over and thatís kind of how I recovered from that warm up. I felt good about the skate. (on the success of the U.S. Men in Juniors) To be picked to go to Junior Worlds is an honor. Like he (Brown) said, the fact that we swept the podium for the short program is amazing. (on his strategy for the Free Skating) I kind of go on how I feel that day. Right now Iím planning on putting everything in there. Iíve been training clean programs with everything in there. So I mean there is not really a question, why would I take it out. Iím planning on doing everything. (On whether he plans to move up to the senior level or stay in juniors for next season) For me, it kind of depends on how I do. Iím planning on it. Itís the ISU that selects (for the Grand Prix). Itís not up to my decision. If I get selected yes, Iím definitely going senior.
Shotaro Omori (USA), 2nd after the Short Program
I am very surprised that I am in top three. I feel very honored to be in the top three with my teammates. I think Josh and Jason are definitely skaters I look up to. I think itís definitely an honor to go and compete for the U.S. I felt really good talking to my coach Tammy Gambill before the competition. She just wanted me to relax and really focus on what I had to do to complete each element. That went well. (on the success of the U.S. Men in Juniors) Like Jason said, I think the U.S. has a deep field and is very competitive. So to be able to be on the Junior World team takes a lot from a skater. We always push each other to a higher level. I think that the USFSA is very supportive of their younger skaters to develop them into elite athletes. (on his strategy for the Free Skating) My coach and I always plan to just do what I have been doing in practice and just hopefully do well. (On whether he plans to move up to the senior level or stay in juniors for next season) I am not really sure about what Iím going to do next season. I havenít talked about that with my coach, but I believe Iíll be staying in the Junior Grand Prix if I get selected. (On his Japanese background) Both my parents are from Japan. They emigrated to the U.S. and so I was born in the United States. (On speaking Japanese) Only a little bit, not too much. I try to speak Japanese with my parents so itís a mix of Japanese and English.
Jason Brown (USA), 3rd after the Short Program
(On the triple Lutz-double toe combination) I felt good going into the Lutz and maybe I thought I was too close to the boards. I donít really know what happened. After that happened I tried to move on and just look forward and try to make everything else as good as it could be. I was very excited about the opening and the Axel. That was definitely something that was a big relief and big burden off my chest to come here and land the triple Axel. That part was really exciting and I look forward to do two more in the long. (on the success of the U.S. Men in Juniors) I think we have a really deep field in the U.S. right now. Itís been really competitive just to make it on the Junior World team. So to be here we all know that we made it and that we worked really hard to be here. Itís just such an honor to be on the team with these two other guys and to be in the top three. To have an American sweep in the short is absolutely amazing. We hope we can stay this way for the long. (on his strategy for the Free Skating) For me, nothing is going to change. We changed the program since Nationals and since the Final. Itís a more difficult program going into the event. Between now and the long program nothing is going to change. My plan is to go out and do what I have been training and what Iíve been working on. Thatís the main goal. (On whether he plans to move up to the senior level or stay in juniors for next season) I hope to compete senior next year. It definitely depends how the year ends up and how everyone else falls with the world ranking. Hopefully after talking to U.S. Figure Skating they will want me to move up. But if they donít another year (in Juniors) would be fine.
(1 March 2013)
Joshua Farris, Shotaro Omori and Jason Brown, the American youths who took the top three places after the Mens Short Program on Thursday, couldnít stop smiling here in Milan, as they took the top three places in the large field of 37 competitors from 32 countries.
Now they face an even greater challenge, with the pressure on to maintain their top-of-the-pile status. And they have to do that while sporting huge grins, explaining how they are delighted with their main rivalsí successes. Thatís not easy in a sport which is very competitive, sometimes lonely, occasionally unfair, and always very, very demanding physically.
ďWeíre a team,Ē they all divulge, in one variation after another. ďWe cheer for each other. Itís Team USA. We support each other. We want everyone to do their best and then itís up to the judges.Ē
There was a time, when the world senior podium was dominated by U.S. Men, but that was a long, long time ago. In 1951, it was Dick Button for gold, James Grogan for Senior and Hayes Alan Jenkins for bronze. In 1955 & 1956 it was Jenkins, Ronnie Robertson and Hayes Alanís younger brother, David. In 1957 it was David, Tim Brown, and Charles Snelling.
Those were the days!! But they are long gone. Could a result like todayís hint that such times could resume? Well, itís certainly a hopeful sign!
Farris, Omori & Brown are all lying well ahead of their rivals with Michael Christian Martinez, of the Philippines, who drew to skate last of the 37 entries and did surprisingly well, placing fourth, over three points behind Brown but almost four points ahead of competitors from the powerhouse countries. Two Russians, two Chinese and a Japanese are all very close making up the next five slots, with the Canadians are buried in 14th & 15th places. Those who finished 25th have unceremoniously been ushered to the exit!
1. SP 75.84 (41.45+34.39) Joshua Farris, from Colorado Springs, is riding high, in first place by a pretty decisive 5.02 points. Heís been in this position before. Last year, the 18-year-old who was born in Renton in Washington State and now trains in Colorado Springs, was in the lead but not by such a substantial amount.
Then, in 2012, in Belarus, Han Yan of China was lying second but was able to overtake him. Yan, who recently won bronze in the Four Continents Championships, was entered to defend his title here, but he was withdrawn over a week ago without his Association giving an explanation.
Farris, who finished fourth in this seasonís U.S. Senior Championship, performed to the Prelude of Bachís Unaccompanied Cello Suite, played by Yo Yo Ma. He soared into his first element, a +1.29 triple Axel followed by a +0.80 triple Lutz to triple toe loop. His flying camel spin was Level 4 with +0.50 GoE.
He had had problems with his triple flip in the warm-up, and, in the actual competition, the landing was a bit shaky. He lost -0.70 from its base value but this was his only error. His other two spins and the steps were smoothly executed and earned the maximum Level 4. Both his element and component scores were the highest.
About the flip problem, Farris explained, ďBasically after the warm up my coach (Damon Allen) was like, ĎRely on your training.í Iíve done numerous clean short programs. I just let my muscle memory take over and thatís kind of how I recovered from that warm up. I felt good about the skate. Right now, Iím planning on putting everything in there in the Free. In my training, Iíve been doing clean programs with everything in.Ē
2. SP 70.82 (39.75+31.07) Shotaro Omori, who won the silver in the recent U.S. Junior championship, certainly looked happy but in a shell shocked kind of way. The many Japanese press members here are just fascinated with his obviously Far Eastern appearance. He said, ďBoth my parents are Japanese and emigrated. I was born in the United States (in La Miranda, California).Ē He turned 17 on October 23rd and was ninth in the World Junior championship last year.
Omoriís ďMiss TangoĒ routine, which was choreographed by Cindy Stuart, opened with a +1.43 triple Axel, followed by a +0.30 triple Lutz to triple toe loop and a +0.29 Level 3 change foot sit spin. His triple flip got a slight negative (-0.30) GoE. His two other spins were the maximum Level 4 with +0.21 and +0.50 while his steps were Level 3 with +0.50. His element score was the second highest (behind Farris) but his components were only third best (behind both his teammates). The total score surpassed his previous Seasonís Best by more than 12 points.
ďI am very surprised that I am in top three. I feel very honored to be up with my teammates. Josh and Jason are definitely skaters I look up to. I felt really good talking to Tammy Gambill (who coaches him in Riverside, CA) before the competition. She just wanted me to relax and really focus on what I had to do to complete each element. That went well.Ē Omori was fourth in both his Junior Grand Prix assignments in Istanbul and in Chemnitz.
3. SP 70.06 (36.62+33.44) Jason Brown, who placed eighth in the U.S. Senior champions in Omaha, turned 18 on December 15, opened his routine, set to ďQuestion of UĒ with a +0.86 triple Axel. However, after being forced to execute a double three turn after his triple Lutz, which took him extremely close to the barrier, he reduced the second jump of his combination to a double toe loop. Everything else received positive Grades of Execution. Two of his spins earned the maximum Level 4 but his steps and the final combination spin were Level 3.
Brown, who is taught by Kori Ade and Rob Pea in Northbrook, Illinois, won bronze in this event last year after being 7th the year before. He said, ďI felt good going into the Lutz and maybe I thought I was too close to the boards. After that happened I tried to move on and just look forward and try to make everything else as good as it could be. I was very excited about the opening and the Axel. That was definitely something that was a big relief and big burden off my chest to come here and land the triple Axel. I think we have a really deep field in the U.S. right now. Itís been really competitive just to make it on the Junior World team. To have an American sweep in the short is absolutely amazing. We hope we can stay this way for the long.Ē
4. SP 67.01 (36.73+30.28) Michael Christian Martinez, the Philippines, is trained by his mother in the Philippines but does come to the United State for a couple of months a year to train in California with John Nicks and Ilya Kulik. The 16-year-old opened with a+0.57 triple Axel and a +0.30 triple Lutz to double toe loop. But his triple flip received an ďeĒ for wrong edge takeoff and he lost -1.20 for this error. All three spins were Level 4. His straight line steps were Level 3.
North of the border (Canada, eh!):
15. SP 54.04 (28.19+25.85) Michell Gordon, who was the Canada Junior champion last year and placed seventh in Senior nationals this season, is a 16-year-old from Vancouver, training at the Connaught Skating Club with Keegan & Eileen Murphy. He performed to ďThe UntouchablesĒ in a routine that has great promise, but he just had one of those days. Although he didnít fall, he was saddled with minuses on his triple Axel, triple Lutz in which he didnít get airborne for the second jump and triple flip which got an ďeĒ for wrong edge take-off.
16. SP 53.43 (24.97+29+46 -1) Nam Nguyen, 14, was sixth in the resent Canadian Senior championships. Trained by Brian Orser in Toronto, the 14-year-old shows great performing potential, skating an entertaining routine set to Cole Porterís ďThe Ritzí Roll ín RollĒ and ďRed BluesĒ. However, his jumps are still very small. He fell and got two arrows downgrading his triple Axel attempt.
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