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Junior Grand Prix Makes Sixth Stop in Dresden

 by Klaus-Reinhold Kany






(6 October 2014)  The sixth of seven Junior Grand Prix of this season was held in Dresden, Germany. The official name of this competition in the English language is Blue Swords Cup, named after the famous porcelain factory in near-by Meissen which is several centuries old and whose logo is crossed Blue Swords. It was the 46th time the competition was held.

Wakaba Higuchi (13) from Japan won the ladies event in high speed and many excellent elements with 176.14 points. She began the short program with an outstanding double axel. Skating in high speed in both programs, she performed five very good triple jumps, a step-out on the second Lutz and a flip from the wrong edge. Being second in Ostrava and first in Dresden she will be in the Final. Elizabet Turzynbaeva from Kazakhstan, who trains with Brian Orser in Toronto, is second with 164.79 points. She performed one of the rare step sequences with level 4 and had six very good triples in the long, but could not avoid a fall on her first triple Lutz.

Alexandra Proklova from Russia won bronze, earning 149.16 points. She fell on the triple Lutz in the short program and missed three of her jump elements in the long, but it was enough to stay in third place. Lutricia Bock from Chemnitz in Germany is in fourth position, the second Russian skater Elizaveta Iushenko finished fifth.

Leah Keiser (17) of Riverside, California, ended up eighth. Her jumps are no longer as easy for her as a few years ago. Therefore she tried only a combination of triple toe loop and double toe loop and fell on the triple Lutz in the short program. At the beginning of the free program, the triple Lutz and a triple Salchow were good, but three other jumps got an edge call or were downgraded and she fell on the double axel.

Andrei Lazukin (16) from Russia won the men’s competition in his first Junior Grand Prix of this season with 202.68 points. He is more an introverted jumper than an artist and therefore his components were only around 6.5. In the short program, his triple Axel was a bit shaky, his other elements good. In the free program he landed seven more or less clean triple jumps.

 He Zhang from China was second with 196.20 points. He does not jump the triple Axel yet, but the other elements in the short were very good. He began his long program with an excellent quad toe loop, the only successful quadruple jump in the competition. Four triple jumps were clean, the flip got an edge call and he stepped out of the second Lutz and could not perform a combination.

Yaroslav Paniot won the bronze medal with 194.60 points. He is an Ukrainian skater who lives in the U.S. and is coached by former Ukrainian skater Viacheslav Zagorodniuk. He touched down his hand on the triple Axel in the short program. In the long program, seven triple jumps were clean, including two axels. Roman Sadovsky from Canada, 13th at last season’s Junior Worlds, finished in fourth position, earning 192.44 points. In the short program, he was only eighth after making two mistakes on jumps. But with the second-best free program, which included seven triple jump (but no triple axel) he could move up four spots.

 Shotaro Omori from Riverside, California, was the better of the two Americans and finished sixth, earning 173.54 points. He had been third after a good short program with a very good triple axel and a clean combination of triple flip and triple toe loop. But in the free program to Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade he singled the first triple axel and stepped out of the second one. Only two triple jumps were clean.

Tony Lu of Hackensack, New Jersey, is ninth with 161.17 points. In the short program he fell on the triple axel and stepped out of the triple toeloop of his combination. In spite of missing the two triple axels in the long program he could move up from 13th place, because six other triple jumps were safe.

In ice dancing, nobody got two level 4s on the required Samba sequences.

Betina Popova & Yuri Vlasenko from the Russian school of Ksenia Rumantsieva won a clear gold medal with 147.31points. In the short dance, they had at least levels 4 and 3 on these parts. In their free dance to the heavy music of “1001 nights” they performed by far the best elements. The twizzles were even world class. They qualified for the Junior Final.

Lorraine McNamara & Quinn Carpenter from the school of Alexei Kiliakov in Rockville, Maryland, took silver with 139.35 points and therefore were the most successful U.S. skaters at this Junior Grand Prix. Most of their elements were excellent, they even got two +3 for their combination spin in the free dance, but he stumbled on the twizzle sequence there.

 Canadian Bronze medal winners Brianna Delmaestro & Timothy Lum (130.78 points) train in the successful dance school of Meagan Wing and Aaron Lowe in Vancouver which has a lot of good junior dancers.

 The second U.S. team of Julia Biechler & Damian Dodge of Aston, Pennsylvania, finished in sixth position, earning 119.62 points. Their twizzles were very dynamic and they were the only couple to perform a lift combination instead of two short lifts.

In single skating, only about ten per cent of the skaters used vocal music, but in the pairs event six of the only nine teams did it.

 A big highlight of the event were the Pairs winners Julianne Seguin & Charlie Bilodeau from Canada, students of Josée Picard in a suburb of Montreal. They performed the best competition of all four categories in Dresden (174.10 points) and would even have medal chances at Senior Grand Prix, if the rules did not forbid them to be invited there. But after also winning in Ostrava, they are the favorites in the Junior Final.   In the short program, they had excellent levels. In the free program, the +2 for their elements dominated, seven of them even got one or the other +3, especially the two lifts.

Lina Fedorova & Maxim Miroshkin from Russia are second with 162.12 points. Their highlights were an outstanding triple twist and a side-by-side Biellmann spin in their free program. They are the only pair in the world which can do this, but they have no triple jump in their program.

Chelsea Liu & Brian Johnson of Aliso Viejo, California, won the bronze medal with 132.15 points. The student of Jenni Meno and Todd Sand had problems with their throw triple loops and Liu fell on the double lutz, but all three lifts were excellent. The second US team Lindsay Weinstein & Jacob Simon of Buffalo Grove, Illinois, finished in seventh position (115.81 points). They performed a short program with no serious mistakes, but also no triple elements. Their long again was without triples elements, but with a fall of her on the downgraded double axel and no points for an incomplete spin. The other double elements were ok.