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2013 World Junior Championships

American Men Outshine the World, Each Takes Home Three Medals and a Watch

 by Alexandra Stevenson


Joshua Farris (USA), 2013 World Junior Champion

I’m very happy with how I skated. I went out there to have fun. I knew it was my last junior competition and I was like, I’m going to enjoy it and skate my heart out. And that’s what I tried to do.

 The fall on the quad kind of ruined my clean skate that I was hoping for, but I had fun out there. I’m looking forward to next year and moving up to senior and competing against the guys I’ve looked up to ever since I was little.

 (On the message this podium sweep sends) I think it sends a strong message that there are a lot of good, young U.S. guys that are coming up through the ranks. It’s not just us, there are many more U.S. skaters that are very good. I’m excited to see the young skaters come up and go senior.

(on the challenge of transitions) There are very hard transitions. I actually admire Jason’s transitions quite a lot. That’s one area my components always struggled on, that’s what I’m trying to improve. I do wish it was like skating in the early 90s or 80s where you just skate back and forward and to jumps. I would rather have easier transitions.

 (On his chances to make the 2014 Olympic team) I would love to go to the 2014 Olympics, but there are so many more mature skaters at Nationals. I think our more reasonable goal is 2018. I think 2014 is more like a cherry on top. We could make it but I’m not expecting to.

(On switching back and forth between juniors and seniors) The slow part is a good breathing spot but it didn’t make that much of a difference for me. Honestly, I thought it was a little bit harder without having a breathing spot.

Jason Brown (USA), 2013 World Junior silver medalist

It’s been such a journey from last year to this year and to add a new jump (triple Axel), to add a jump that I’ve been working on for so long and so hard, day in and day out. To be able to come here to Junior Worlds and do three of them and to land them - for me that was like winning. To be able to do it here is truly incredible and I feel so honored and proud to have gotten to the podium with these two guys.

 (On the message this podium sweep sends) It’s such a deep field and I think right now we are all pushing each other to be better and stronger and internationally there is so much competition and people at the top are so great right now. I think we’re all working very hard, keep pushing each other to make it to that next level and be in the world scene to keep moving up.

 (on the challenge of transitions) I love transitions and I love to push the limits on transitions into jumps. When I go into a jump, it’s not like ok, the jumps. I’m thinking of each transition. I’m not getting ready to set up it’s more – ok, make sure it’s a good transition, make sure to hold this, make sure the Choctaw is good and then the jumps happens. It’s really quick. When preparing for a jump, I’m thinking a lot different than just, ok, here comes a jump. I think that really helps me.

(on doing four Axels as his first jumps in the program) I competed once with the Axel and that was in the (Junior Grand Prix) Final in the long. I only had one planned. For Nationals I ended up deciding to do two.

 When we switched back to juniors for Junior Worlds we still wanted to do two, but the whole section of the second Axel was taken out, that were the 30 seconds that we would loose from senior to junior. I really like to do a warm up jump, I’d rather not do like triple Axel as my first jump. Just to feel the ice, to know that it is there and underneath me.

 It started out we’re going to do a triple flip, but with adding two Axels we ended up having two Lutzes and two flips and you cannot repeat that many jumps. The double Axel is a jump you can repeat. So I opened up with (double) Axel and then we went straight into (triple) Axel, (triple) Axel and then last week we changed it to have the (double) Axel as my fourth jump just to save time and so it doesn’t look rushed at the end.

(on whether the crowd reaction to Farris’ program and his score affected him) It’s really exciting when you hear that the audience is so excited. It makes you feel you have support as well. I was so happy for Josh.

 I didn’t exactly see his skate but the reaction was amazing and I was so proud of him. I knew that Shotaro was in second and I was just really excited that we had a chance to be in the top three.

I was so excited to be on the ice and to keep it going. I knew Shotaro skated amazing and I knew Josh did great. I went from there. I tried to stay as relaxed as possible and just keep on going.

 (On his chances to make the 2014 Olympic team) It’s not something I’m going to put off and not look at because it is an unbelievable goal to have.

I’m not going to push myself on safety to reach it. I know that I need a quad to really make myself known and that’s something I’ll work on as soon as I go home and I’m really excited for that. I think we’re going to work day by day and we’ll see how next season goes.

Shotaro Omori (USA), 2013 World Junior bronze medalist

I definitely feel very happy. I was really nervous before my long program today. But my coach (Tammy Gambill) kept telling me to stay calm and focused. To be able to get a medal at my first time here at Junior Worlds and to be part of this historic moment with Josh and Jason is such an honor. I was so happy I did it.

 (On the message this podium sweep sends) Like Jason and Josh said I do think that it is deep field and I think that it sends a message that the U.S. can’t be forgotten and that we have really strong skaters and we still have something that we can show.

 (on the challenge of transitions) I think that as each year goes by there are more transitions in our programs. I do think that makes it more difficult, but it’s always good to push the envelope.

(3 March 2013) 

For the first time in the World Junior Championships, which were instigated in 1976 in Megeve, France, with Californian Mark Cockerell winning, Takeshi Mura of Japan in second and Brian Orser (here as a coach) third, one nation has dominated the Men's podium.

And that country is . . . . the USA! 

)(Orser is in Milan, witnessing the historic moment. The Canadian twice Olympic silver medalist is now a coach.)

The three American men switched places with each other in the two sections of the event, with Josh Farris hanging onto his lead from the Short Program, although he was second in the Free Skate; Jason Brown rising from third after the Short Program to claim silver by winning the Free Skate, and newcomer Shotaro Omari, who would have been delighted to be just near the podium, taking second initially and then third in the Free and Overall.

1.Overall 228.32; 2.FS 152.48 (82.70+70.78 -1) Joshua Farris, who turned 18 on January 6, is from Renton, Washington State, but moved to train in Colorado Springs in 2007. He was second in this event last year and will not be able to defend his title because he ages out.

He presented an incredibly complex routine to Rachmaninov’s famous “Piano Concerto No.2 in C Minor”, opening with a +1.86 triple Axel to triple toe loop which was so high and solid it was rewarded with +2 Grades of Execution from seven of the nine judges, with the other two punching in +1 for “superior”. (The panel included American judge Roger Glenn. The Technical Controller, who supervises the two “Specialists” who determine the Level of each skater’s elements, was also an American, Charlie Cyr.)

Farris fell on his second element, a quad toe. His only other error in a routine packed with interesting transitions, which not only delighted both the judges and audience, but make the routine far more difficult and exhausting, came on his ninth of the 12 elements. He was saddled with an “e” for wrong edge take-off on his triple flip into double toe loop to double loop.

That combination, along with his second triple Axel, second triple Lutz, a triple loop and a triple Salchow were in the second half of the routine where the 10% bonus marks are activated because the jumps are harder to do then due to oxygen starvation. All three spins and his straight line step sequence were the maximum Level 4.

Farris’ mother introduced him to skating when he was five. A year after winning the U.S. Juvenile title in 2006, he moved to Colorado Springs and started to develop a taste for gold medals. He won the U.S. Intermediate title in 2008 and the Novice title the following year. He soon made his international debut, coming home with silver from “The Challenge Cup” in The Netherlands.

Trained by Christy Krall & Damon Allen, he has already competed at senior level in the U.S. finishing fourth in Omaha. He already had a collection of five gold medals in Junior Grand Prix events which have taken him to Britain, Poland, Estonia, and, in this season to Slovenia and Lake Placid  

His showing on Saturday would definitely do well in the World Seniors. He doesn’t anticipate any problems moving to this elite level internationally. “I like that there are thirty seconds extra time in seniors, which gives you a little more relax time,” he said. “But my principle thoughts now are to get the quad 100%.”

He suffers from severe allergies, and must constantly be wary and travel with his own food supplies. An attack in December, at the Grand Prix Final in Sochi, dropped him from the lead to second place overall.

2. Overall 224.15; 1.FS 154.09 (81.03+73.06) Jason Brown drew to skate last, right after Farris’s excellent showing. He won bronze in this event last year when it was held in the capital of Belarus. A former U.S. Junior champion (2010), Brown, who wears his long hair tied back hippy-style, was born in Los Angeles less than a month before Farris, but now lives in Highland Park, Illinois, training with Kori Ade & Rob Peal at the Skokie Valley SC in Northbrook, Illinois.

Performing to Liszt’s immortal “Liebestraum”, Brown, earned the best component score of 73.06, which was an incredible 13.28 points ahead of the top non-US competitor, Boyang Jin from China, who earned a mere 59.78 for this category for his pleasing Charlie Chaplin routine.

Unlike almost all competitors, Brown chooses not to start with his most difficult element, which they like to “get out of the way”. Brown reveals he opens his Free Skate with the (relatively) easy double Axel (+0.71) because he doesn’t like the immediate pressure and likes to get the feel of the ice first.

(Ice surfaces do change with a variety of factors including temperature of both the ice and the air above it, which, in turn, is a factor of the number of people in the rink, along with the purity of the water used, how well and how often they are remade, and also the altitude of the location. For many years, almost all speed skating records were set high up in the Ural Mountains where the ice was completely free from pollution.)

After his “relaxed” double Axel, Brown soared through two triple Axels, the first combined with a double toe loop (+0.14) and the second worth an extra full point over its base value of 8.5. After a change foot combination spin (+0.57), he executed another double Axel (+0.50) and a triple loop (+0.20). All three spins and the footwork were rewarded with the maximum Level 4.

Brown pointed out that the triple Axels are extremely important. His policy of having four immediate spots for Axels is partly because of the rule that you can only repeat two triple jumps, which doesn’t apply to doubles. So, if either triple Axel becomes a double, then he still has an alternate spot for it.

After the halfway point when the 10% bonus marks click in, he executed a +1.30 triple Lutz, his second spin (+1.0), a triple Lutz to triple toe loop (+0.10), the required step sequence (+1.40), a triple flip to half loop to triple Salchow (0.80) and finished with his flying camel combination spin (+0.50).

3. Overall 204.34; 3.FS 133.52 (70.46+63.06) Shotaro Omori, USA, was certainly happy with his bronze medal but he looked like a deer caught in headlights, unable to fully comprehend what was happening but unable to stop grinning. The 17-year-old from La Miranda in California was runner-up in Omaha for the U.S. Junior title.

This is only his sixth international. He won bronze in the Gardena Challenge Cup in Italy in his first international in 2011. Later that year, he placed fifth and fourth in Junior Grand Prix events in Estonia and Rumania. In 2012 he was fourth in both the German and Turkish Junior Grand Prix competitions.

He began his Free, set to Rachmaninov’s “Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini” with a +0.40 triple flip, followed with a +0.14 triple Axel to double toe loop and a +0.20 triple Lutz. His Level 3 step sequence gained the element’s base value, and the flying combination spin was Level 4 with +0.07. However, at the “bonus” point, he stepped out of his second triple Axel, and lost two full points from its base value. The following triple loop was penalized with -0.70. The triple Lutz to triple toe loop made its base value plus 10% so he banked a total of 11.11. His change foot combination spin had a minimal +0.07 added to its base value. His triple Salchow to double toe loop to double loop received the base value plus 10%. His final jump was a +0.29 double Axel and he closed with a +0.36 Level 4 change foot sit spin. His components ranged from three 5.75s up to one 7.25.

He is the third child of a Japanese couple who emigrated to the United States, where he was born. Although he speaks Japanese at home, his main language is English. He has an older sister, 21, and older brother, 18. His father is an engineer and his mother now teaches Japanese. He was a swimmer before taking up skating. “I was really nervous before my long program today but my coach (Tammy Gambill) reassured me and kept me calm and focused.”

4.Overall 192.58; 4.FS 129.76 (69.98+59.78) Boyang Ji, China, who opened his Free with a quad toe loop which got credit for the full rotation, but lost -1.29 because he landed on a very bent knee, and tripled his second attempt, gave a promising showing to a medley of music association with Charlie Chaplin to moved up two places.

5.Overall 191.64; 7.FS 124.63 (65.51+59.12) Michael Christian Martinez, dropped a place with a Free which was ranked seventh best but he has still achieve the best ISU standing for a person from the Philippines.

6.Overall 189.94; 5.FS 128.44 (68.24+61.20 -1) Mikhail Kolyada, Russia, fell on his first triple Axel but landed the second attempt which was combined with a triple toe loop. He was saddled with an “e” for wrong edge take-off on his triple flip, but still pulled up two places from eight.

7.Overall 187.08; 6.FS 125.42 (62.12+63.30) Shoma Uno, Japan, replaced Keiji Tanaka, who had a left thigh problem. He stayed seventh although he was sixth in the FS.

8.Overall 186.96; 8.FS 123.89 (63.25+60.64) Alexander Samarin, Russia, had difficulty with his second to last jump, a triple Salchow, and dropped three places from fifth after the SP.

9.Overall 178.18; 11.FS 117.76 (60.54+58.22 -1) He Zhang, China, stayed ninth although he was only 11th in the FS.

10.Overall 176.85; 10.FS 119.14 (66.58+53.56  -1) Ryuju Hino, Japan, had a major disappointment here. In December, the twice Japanese Junior champion won the bronze medal at the Junior Grand Prix Final in Sochi. But here he was buried in 12th place after the short program.

11.Overall 174.32; 12.FS 114.88 (59.74+55.14) Martin Rappe, is the 2010 & 2011 German Junior champion.

12.Overall 172.58; 9.FS 119.15 (61.51+57.64) Nam Nguyen, who made history when he became the youngest male to win the Canadian junior championship at the age of 12 in 2012, is competed with an injury. The 5 ft., 85 pound bundle of energy, pulled up four places here, but was hampered by a recent collision in which he needed 10 stitches to close a blade slash to a calf muscle. He is still being lauded as the Patrick Chan of the future.

13.Overall 166.21 June Hyoung Lee; South Korea, made history when, in 2010, he became the first Korean to win an ISU medal when he gained bronze in the 2010 Junior Grand Prix here in Milan.

14.Overall 165.27 Pavel Ignatenko, Belarus, dropped from 10th.

15.Overall 161.71; 14.FS 109.23 (60.13+50.10 -1) Luis Manella, Brasil, pulled up two places.

16.Overall 161.61; 15.FS 107.57 (55.33+54.24 -2) Michell Gordon, Canada, was unlucky in that he was 15th in both sections but 16th overall. The 15-year-old is the current Canadian Junior champion.

20.Overall Ivan Pavlov, from the Ukraine, at 13 was the youngest competitor in the mens championship.

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