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2013 World Junior Championships

Chinese Take Lead but Canadians and Americans Breathing Over Their Shoulder

 by Alexandra Stevenson


Quotable

Xiaoyu Yu/Yang Jin (CHN), 1st after the Short Program

Jin: It was the best performance of the season and I am especially proud of my partner today, she did a great job. I think we made a lot of progress and I want to thank our coaches for the work they did with us. We are very pleased with the outcome. (On how they feel about the backward outside death spiral) We like the backward outside death spiral. It is a challenge, it is interesting and we enjoy working on it in practice. (on resembling Qing Pang/Jian Tong in style) We really like Pang/Tong and look up to them. They are our role  models. We like to watch them and learn from them. (On who inspired them most and what was the biggest challenge to get to the high level they are now) Our biggest idols in skating are Xue Shen/Hongbo Zhao. But we think we are not at a very high level yet. We still have to work a lot and improve a lot and try to get there step by step. (On whether they also tried roller skating) I’ve tried roller skating and it is a lot of fun, but I didn’t compete in it.

Yu: (On whether they prefer to have or not to have a certain element in the Short Program) I like all the elements and we need to do each element, so there is no element we would like to have or not to have. (On whether they also tried roller skating) I was on rollers for fun, but I didn’t practice it seriously and I am not doing it now.

Margaret Purdy/Michael Marinaro (CAN), 2nd after the Short Program

Purdy: We’re very pleased with our skate today. We went out there to skate our best and have fun. It was our very last competition of the season. So we just wanted to enjoy it. We soaked up every moment of it and we are proud of what we did. We go out there, do the same thing tomorrow, do what we do every day in practice and enjoy ourselves. (On how they feel about the backward outside death spiral) If the backwards outside death spiral was the only one that was allowed to do I’m sure everyone would come to perfect it and be good at it. Just when you switching every year trying to learn a new death spiral – it comes up every four years in juniors – so it kind of gets pushed off.

Marinaro: (On whether they prefer to have or not to have a certain element in the Short Program) We have to get every element done no matter what anyways. The back outside death spiral has definitely taken a lot of work and we’ve been putting in a lot of work all year. It paid off today. We finally got the level three. We’re pretty excited about that. (On who inspired them most and what was the biggest challenge to get to the high level they are now) We have two big inspirations in our skating, right now, the first to be our dancers Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir. We look up to them a lot, and (to) Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford. Both are Canadian Champions in Pairs and Dance right now. The biggest challenge getting to this point would be just try to do what we do every day in practice out in competition. We’ve been working on that over the years. (On whether they also tried roller skating) I’ve been on roller blades, never roller skates and Margaret never has been on either. It could be fun to watch.

Haven Denney/Brandon Frazier (USA), 3rd after the Short Program

Frazier: It was a great feeling that my partner and I were definitely connected together. It wasn’t so much that we skated a clean program, it was how well we felt getting into the program and feeding off each other. It’s been a very long season and it was nice to go out there and put out some of the hard work we had to put in just to perform like that. It was a great feeling to give everything we have in this short program. (On whether they prefer to have or not to have a certain element in the Short Program) It’s hard to judge. We try to take every element exactly the same. If we would have an element taken out, it would be the backwards outside death spiral and maybe we put in a triple twist. (On who inspired them most and what was the biggest challenge to get to the high level they are now) I think the number one team we look up to would be Aliona (Savchenko) and Robin (Szolkowy), Germany. The reason – also what our biggest challenge is – we’re trying to focus more on the components and skating structure while doing the elements as well like Aliona and Robin do it. Our biggest challenge is really trying to give a feel to our programs focusing on the program and the skating as well as doing the technical elements. I feel the Germans have accomplished both technically and component-wise. (on comparing roller skating to ice skating) It is very different, just looking at it. It’s not that cold. When you fall you don’t glide, you get stuck. A lot of it is the opposite of what you would do for figure skating.

Denney: (on comparing roller skating to ice skating) Instead of the toe pick, there is a toe stop. But there are also similarities.

(28 February 2013)

Sixteen pairs from nine countries competed and all were allowed to progress to the Free Skate.

American Gale Tanger is the Technical Controller who supervises the Technical Specialist, Lorenzo Magri, and his Assistant, Peter Cain, who is the Australian former pair skater who now lives in California. The referee is the former Russian competitor, Marina Sanaya.

1.SP 54.54 (31.10+21.85) Xiaoyu Yu, who turned 17 on January 2, & Yang Jin, 18, are the Chinese senior champions, but that was more from default in that others did not enter this season. Yu & Jin won silver in last year’s Junior World Championships, held in Belarus, and since last year’s champions, China’s Sui Wenjing & Han Cong, did not enter this time, anything less than the lead for Yu & Jin would have been embarrassing.

They drew to skate their routine, choreographed by Marina Zoueva to Mendelssohn’s romantic “Violin Concerto in E Minor” 12th, which was last of the third group of four pairs. Dressed in purple, they opened with good, +0.43 double Axels. Their double twist lift included all the extra features necessary to earn the maximum Level 4 with +0.34 Grade of Execution added. Their throw triple Salchow was so good, the judging panel voted to award them an additional +1.30 over the base value of 4.5 points. Their back outside death spiral was Level 3 with +0.50. Their straight line steps and the flying change foot combination spin were both Level 4 with +0.60 and +0.57.

With a smile on his face, Jin said afterwards, “It was the best performance of the season and I am especially proud of my partner today. She did a great job. I think we made a lot of progress and I want to thank our coaches for the work they did with us. We are very pleased with the outcome.

It was interesting that all the medalists thought the back outside version of the death spiral was the hardest to do despite the fact that until the great Russian skaters Ludmila & Oleg Protopopov (Olympic gold medalists in 1964 & 1968) created the other three edge versions in the late 1960s, it was the only one executed. However, that may have to do with now it is necessary to add extra features to get the Levels.

2.SP 53.09 (29.18+23.91) Margaret Purdy & Michael Marinaro from Canada, gave an extremely graceful showing to Puccini’s melodic “Oh, My Beloved Father”, to earn their season’s best score, only 1.86 behind the Chinese. Purdy, who turned 18 on January 18, said, “We’re very pleased with our skate today. We went out there to skate our best and have fun. It was our very last competition of the season. So we just wanted to enjoy it. We soaked up every moment of it and we are proud of what we did. We go out there, do the same thing tomorrow, do what we do every day in practice and enjoy ourselves.”

Her partner was 21 on January 7 and so they will no longer be eligible for Junior events next season. Skating 10th, which was second in the third group of four pairs, they earned the maximum Level 4 for their lift, the straight lines steps and the change foot combination spin. Their double twist was Level 3 as was their back outside death spiral. Their throw triple Salchow was solid. They agreed their fellow Canadians, Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir, have influenced them to become more musically interpretive than pairs normally are. They are trained by Alison Purkiss & Scott Rachuk in Strathroy, Ontario.

Purdy thought that maybe their feeling of caution for the back outside death spiral comes from having different versions required every year in the SP. If it is not specified that year, then that version becomes less important, and skaters possibly devote less time to the move than they did in the past.

3.SP 52.61 (27.76+24.85) Haven Denney & Brendon Frazier, USA, lie only 0.48 behind the Canadians. They performed to “Malaguena”, opening with a +0.39 Level 3 double twist and a +0.50 throw triple Salchow. Their double Axel earned an extra +0.14 and their Level 3 change foot combination spin was awarded an extra +0.29. Their group 4 (Press) lift received the maximum Level 4 with +0.43 and their Level 2 death spiral earned an extra +0.90. They finished with their steps which were Level 2 with +0.71.

Denney & Frazier are the 2010 U.S. champions at Junior level who are now climbing the senior ranks domestically. The 17-year-old Denney and 20-year-old Frazier train in Florida with John Zimmerman & Sylvia Fontana. In Milan, they improved their previous season’s best of 44.58 points significantly. “It was a great feeling,” Denney said. They finished 9th in the 2011 U.S. senior nationals; 6th in 2012 and 5th in Omaha in January.

He said, “I think my partner and I definitely connect together. It wasn’t so much that we skated a clean program, it was how well we felt getting into the program and feeding off each other. It’s been a very long season and it was nice to go out there and put out some of the hard work we had to put in just to perform like that.”

Denney’s parents started out as roller skating instructors so Haven was brought up in that environment and she initially teamed up with Frazier in competition on rollers. Frazier delighted attendees at the evening’s press conference with explanations of how different the two sports are. “For one thing, it’s not COLD! But, when you fall, you don’t slide. You stay where you are. The ice is kinder! The outside or inside wheels move so you can do edges but it’s much more difficult than on blades.”

4.SP 52.25 (29.51+23.74 -1) Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov, from Russia, who are NOT related to the famous coaches, Tatiana Tarasova or Stanislav Morosov, skated eighth, just before the ice resurfacing. Dressed in gray and black, with embroidery on his back, they interpreted music from the soundtrack of “Liquidation”, taking the standard of the event to a new level despite his fall on a double Axel.

They opened with a high Level 4 double twist. After his fall, they got back in synch with a nice throw triple Salchow and a good Level 3 back outside death spiral. The Group 4 lift, step sequence and flying change foot camel spin were all the maximum Level 4.

The 18-year-old Tarasova was born in Kazan, and 20 year-old Morozov, in Potsdam in Germany. They train with Stanislav Morozov and Andrei Hekalo in Moscow. They earned silver in the last Russian Junior championship. Both have had previous partners, but Tarasova did not begin to pair skate until 2010.

5.SP 51.57 (28.03+23.54) Brittany Jones & Ian Beharry, from Canada, skated first in the second warm-up group, and gave a clearly superior performance to those who performed earlier. Dressed in black with silver, with her in sleeves along with a cut-out back, they interpreted, “Black Magic Woman” by Santana. They are taught by Kristy Sargeant-Wirz.

Their double twist, lift and flying change foot combination spin all received the maximum Level 4 with good Grades of Execution, and their steps were Level 3 with +0.50, but their double Axels got a negative -0.15 and their back outside death spiral was awarded only the base value for Level 1.

6.SP 49.95 (27.75+22.20) Annabelle Prolss & Ruben Blummaert, from Germany, train in Oberstdorf. Both have birthdays in March. On the 30th Prolss will turn 14 and on the 5th Blummaert will be 21. Skating a pleasing program to a variety of well-known Italian music, they began with double Axels. Their double twist was Level 3 and their throw triple Salchow was landed a little scratchily but received a small positive GoE. Their lift, which had a change of direction, was Level 4 as were their steps. They got a small negative on their flying change foot combination spin and their back and there back outside death spiral was only Level 1.  

7.SP 49.43 (26.46+23.97 -1) Lina Fedorova & Maxim Miroshkin, are the Russian junior champions. She is 15 and he 18, and they presented an upbeat program to “Singing in the Rain”, in colorful, redominately yellow outfits. They won in the Junior Grand Prix Final in Sochi in December, but she fell on their throw triple Salchow in Milan. They are trained by Vladislav Zhovnirski & Andrei Hekalo. Zhovnirski won three bronze medals and the 1996 gold in the World Junior championship.

8.SP 45.72 (24.58+22.14 -1) Jessica Calalang & Zack Sidhu, USA, performed last. They are both Californians and train with Todd Sand, Jenni Meno, Christine Binder & John Nicks in Aliso Viego. They teamed up in 2010 and won silver in this season’s U.S. Junior championship. She turns 18 on February 24, and he was 21 on October 21. They skated to “Elite Synoptications” by Scott Joplin. She wore a sleeveless red and black outfit and he had a waistcoat to match.

Calalang fell on their double Axel which received an arrow for under-rotation. Their Level 4 lift also got a slight negative -0.14. And their double twist and back outside death spiral were only Level 1. However, their throw triple Salchow received +0.30 and their steps and spin received the maximum Level 4.  

9.SP 43.16 (22.36+21.80 -1) Britney Simpson & Matthew Blackmer, USA, performed to a Flamenco by Didulia. They are taught by Dalilah Sappenfield and Laureano Ibarra in Colorado Springs. Last year, when this event was in Minski in Belarus, they finished tenth. Simpson is 16 and Blackmer turned 21 on December 12.

Last year they were runners-up and this season they won the U.S. Junior title. This was not a good day for them, although they earned the maximum Level 4 for their lift, the steps and the spin, they had negative GoEs for five of their required seven elements, including a fall on a double Axel.

10.SP 42.87 (22.20+21.67 -1) Kamilla Gainetdinova made several errors including messing up her double Axel and falling on her throw triple Salchow. She and partner, Ivan Bich, are from St. Petersburg in Russia and are trained by Oksana Kazakova. They performed fourth. She is 15. He turned 20 on Valentine’s Day. They skated to “Yablochko”, (The Russian Sailor’s Dance) by Reinhold Gliere.

11.SP 42.61 (22.37+20.24) Julia Lavrentieva & Yuri Rudyk are from Kiev in Ukraine. They performed to the Hans Zimmer soundtrack for “Sherlock Holmes, A Game of Shadows”. She is 15 and he turned 21 on November 11.

12.SP 41.88 (23.05+18.83) Meiyl Li & Bo Jian from China performed to “Fantastic African Dance” dressed in  with one bare one shoulder. She is 15 but he will turn 21 on April 21 and so will not be eligible for this level of competition next season. They had four negative GoEs.  

13.SP 40.57 (23.59+17.98) Giulia Foresti & Leo Luca Sforza from Italy were first up, skating to Benny  Goodman’s “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen”.

14.SP 40.18 (20.52+20.66 -1) Hayleigh Bell & Alistair Sylvester from Canada performed a Charleston number with music by Cecil Mack. However, she fell on their throw triple Salchow and three other elements received negative GoEs, their double Axels, the Level 3 spin and their back outside death spiral.

15.SP 36.30 (20.27+16.03) Marcelina Lech, 16, & Jacob Tyc, who turned 21 on February 13, are the new Polish champions, trained by Dorota & Mariusz Siudek in Toran.  It was a rather down-beat performance. They managed to get the base value for their Level 1 back outside death spiral, but the judging panel gave them negatives for all their other elements.

16.SP 30.90 (16.24+15.66 -1) Rachael & Dmitry Epstein, sister and brother from the Netherlands, skated to “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC survived a fall on their throw triple Salchow. However, they were saddled with negatives for all seven required elements.

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