2005 Junior World Championships

Kitchener, ON Canada

by Maggie Doyle


Ladies Free Skating

Mao Asada left no doubt that she wanted this Junior Ladies champion title, going full out technically with her "La Boutique Fantastique" by Joseph Kern program, landing 8 triples including a triple Axel that was ratified this time.  She was accompanied to the press conference by her coach Mie Hamada and Hamada's former student Midori Ito who also landed triple Axels.   Ito said of Asada, "It is so great that she won and landed the triple Axel. I am so happy for her.  She's smart, very cute and has it all together."

Asada said of her accomplishment, "I'm very satisfied for today's performance. I was a little nervous before, watching the other skaters on TV," said Asada, "When it was my turn, the nervousness was gone and I was very happy with what I did."

She gave a lovely and elegant performance that sparkled but without the abandon that she displayed for the short program but all her elements were well executed and clean.    Her free skate garnered 119.13 points (technical element score 62.73 and program component score of 56.40) for a combined score of 179.24, giving her a margin of victory of 20.31.  Asada said,"

Asada was the final skater of the night, so Yu-Na Kim of Korea led the leader board after skating 21st in the 24 ladies' field until Asada's marks came up.   Kim hopes to better her results at next year's junior world championships.  ""Since I made so many mistakes yesterday in my short program, I was nervous, my body was tense, but today, I am very happy. I'm very happy about this first world medal in Korean figure skating history. Now I have to skate harder to earn better medals," said Kim.  Both Asada and Kim are too young to make either World or Olympic teams next season. 

Kim landed a triple toeloop - triple toeloop combination and then a triple Lutz - double toeloop - double loop combination in her "Papa, Can You Hear Me?" program by P. Williams.  She also completed a triple flip - double toeloop and three other triple jumps (loop, Salchow and Lutz) for a clean program with very secure jump landings. 

The third place medalist, Emily Hughes who also made her international junior debut at this competition and made her first trip to 2005 U.S. championships as a senior, placing sixth in January 2005, was visibly thrilled to make the podium here.  She said, ""As far as I knew coming here, I was my biggest competition. I'm glad I accomplished what I did. I had a standing ovation at nationals and I knew how that felt so that was wonderful, too," said Hughes

Hughes fought hard for her jumps and landed six triples in her "Sleeping Beauty" free skating program. "She supports me so much and I support her," Hughes said regarding her sister Sarah, "She's really happy for me for what I've achieved so far." Sarah called her prior to the competition to wish her good luck but she hadn't yet spoken to her again after the press conference.  Hughes had planned to see her sister perform in Long Island but instead will remain in Kitchener to skate in the exhibition.

Alissa Czisny and last year's bronze medalist Kimmie Meissner had to settle here for short program medals.  Meissner finished fourth after singling her final two jumps; the second Lutz and the triple flip in combination.  She said, 'I was really stupid at the end of my program. It was disappointing but the beginning was good. I stopped thinking, I guess."  She landed four triples, opting not to try the triple Axel.  "We decided that was a better choice under code of points until I am more consistent," Meissner explained.

Meissner competes here instead of the 2005 World Championships because she missed the 15 year old by July 1 ISU rule deadline, even though she was the US bronze medalist this January.   Meissner's coach Pam Gregory called the rule "a stupid one." She then added, "Why not let the best compete?"  Her coach felt Meissner peaked at the U.S. championships and that it was harder for Meissner to be as excited about the world championships since she competed at the event the year before and medalled (bronze).

Czisny gave a balletic performance to "Swan Lake" but opted to pop her triple Salchow and fell on her double Axel right in front of the judges.  She completed five triples in her program (triple Lutz - double toe loop combination, triple flip, triple loop, triple Lutz, and a triple toeloop) but placed 8th in the freeskate to finish sixth overall.  She does take home a silver short program medal.  "I learned from my qualifying and my short program but I still have to figure out what I learned from this long program.  I enjoyed competing at World Juniors.  I'd love to compete at senior worlds next year but junior worlds also would be nice, too."

Fifth place went to Elene Gesvanishvili of Georgia (GEO) who had a personal best skate where she raised her personal freeskating best from 64.18 to 90.69 and pulled up from seventh place to fifth place in the freeskate and overall.   She skated a clean program to "Ballet Egyptian" and included a triple Lutz - triple toeloop combination and five other triples, although not all of the quality of some of the other competitors.

Canada's Mira Leung had the best skate of her life, landing every jump until the final moments when she fell going into her combination spin.  "I just leaned too far over and over I went.  Before that I was having the skate of my life," she said. She pulled up to 8th place overall from 6th place in the freeskate. Fellow Canadian Amanda Billings struggled today and wound up slipping down to 12th place in the freeskate for 11th place overall.

Ladies Short Program

The Ladies short program took place at The Aud on Tuesday, March 1 and the ladies were required to include a double or triple loop and a flying camel spin. The technical controller is Fabio Bianchetti, the technical specialist is Pirjo Uimonen and the assistant technical specialist is Jayson Peace.  The referee is Matjaz Krusec and there is a panel of 12 judges with 10 judges counting for scoring.

Mao Asada of Japan leads with a total segment score of 60.11 (33.26 for total elements & 26.85 for program component scores) over two American competitors, Alissa Czisny who scored 52.91 (30.05 for TE and 22.86 for PC) who is in second place and Kimmie Meissner who is closely behind in 3rd place with a total segment score of 52.67 (28.15 for TE and 24.52 for PC scores).

Asada floated across the ice for her "Wizard of Oz Fantasy" program.   According to her coach Machiko Yamada, Asada loves playing the role of Dorothy, which showed in her sparkling performance.    Fresh off her victory at the 2004 Junior Grand Prix final, this competitor handled a boot problem after her opening triple Lutz combination with poise in her world junior debut.  She immediately went to the referee, re-tied her boot and picked up her program where she left off.  She continued to skate well and included the rest of her elements for a clean program.  She said, "I didn't feel nervous at all but I was a little shocked and surprised (about boot problem)."

Cizney also skated clean and got full credit for this triple loop and included a triple Lutz - double toe combination in her lovely "The Mission" soundtrack program.   She looked like a different skater from her qualifying round.  She included a front Charlotte in her spiral sequence and had good speed in her combination spin and landed a nice double Axel.  Cizney said, "This makes me more confident for the final. This was so much better than in qualifying. Sometimes I need to fight and I gave myself a reason to fight today." One of her coaches, Theresa McKendry said, "She put it all out there today."   Cizney felt this performance was much better than the one she did at U.S. Nationals in January.

Meissner skated to "Reverie" by Claude DeBussy and also had a much better skate than she did in qualifying round.  This 2005 Junior Grand Prix final bronze medalist landed a triple Lutz - double toe very close to the boards, a triple loop and double Axel.  She had good speed for her straight-line step sequence that she described as "just a little trippy" but she was happy with this performance.  "I'm feeling better today and wasn't nervous. Everything felt good and my last spin was a little bit shaky," she said, "I am not used to doing three programs in competition.  I am going to take the day off and prepare myself to do a good free program."

Binshu Xu of China is in fourth place with 51.61 points (29.04 for TE and 22.57 for PC) after skating to "One Summer's Day" as the final short program competitor.  After a very long setup, she landed her triple Lutz - double toe combination, eked out her triple loop and a double Axel.  She places her arms to the side and then holds her foot as part of her layback spin and included a Biellmann position in her combination spin.

American Emily Hughes sits in 6th place for her "Allegro" by George Gershwin short program in her world junior debut.  Her double Axel, triple Lutz - double toe combination and triple loop were all clean.  Her sister 2004 Olympic Champion Sarah Hughes gave her the advice to stay vertical before she competed.  "I did that this time," Hughes said with a huge smile.

Yu-Na Kim of Korea dropped to sixth place after leading her group in the qualifying round, which didn't carry over to this competitive stage.  She skated to "Snow Storm" by Alexander Sviridorov.   She took a hard fall on her triple loop during competition and also fell in the warm-up.

Also competing here is Tammy Sutan representing Thailand for the first time and placing 18th.  She has dual citizenship and trains in Riverside, California.  Thailand nationals were postponed until April due to the tsunami tragedy but they allowed her to represent them after seeing her on videotape.  She will compete there in April for the national title.

Canadian Amanda Billings had nearly a fifteen-minute wait for her marks when they had to reboot the computer scoring system computer during the short program.  She placed 9th.   She also had a near miss with a flower girl prior to going out to skate but handled it well and did not let it affect her performance. "At first it did rattle me but I quickly got myself calm before I started," she said.   Both Canadian competitors opted for yellow dresses for the short program.  Canada's Mira Leung who is currently 12th had a new costume and short program since Canadian nationals.  "I felt I had outgrown the old one," she said.


Men's Free Skating

New faces for the medalists at this event as these were the first junior world medals for all three of the top men, although each had competed at these championships before. His victory brought him to tears but Oda deserved his world junior men's title today.  He landed a gorgeous opening triple Axel and a triple Lutz - triple toeloop - double loop combination.   "I landed the triple Axel for the first time in competition, and I had focused on this. After I landed it, the rest of the program went very smoothly," Oda explained.   He added further, "I only started landing the Axel here in Kitchener in practices, and I was surprised about that. I failed to do it in the qualifying round (popped), so I was a bit nervous about trying it today."

His program to "Zatoichi" (Japanese soundtrack) featured a total of eight triples as he also landed a double Axel - triple toe combination, a triple loop - double toe combination and triples of the flip, Salchow and a second triple Lutz.   He earned 196.42 points overall and 132.09 for the Free Skate, a personal best (TE 69.89 and 62.20 for PC).

He is the direct descendant of a famous Japanese warlord (1534 - 1582), Nobunaga Oda and his best previous finish at these championships was 11th.  "I didn't like that when I was younger because I was teased about it, but now I am very proud to be his descendant," said Oda.

France's Yannick Ponsero, who led this competition after the short program, continued to skate well landing two triple Axels in his free skating program for the very first time in competition.  "This was the most beautiful competition for me. It was a long, hard program, but I did my best. Finally I did two triple Axels in one program, but I made a mistake on the quad toeloop. I can do the quad toe and Salchow every day in practice, now I need to do them in competition, and that is the most difficult part," he said.  His "Matrix Reloaded" soundtrack program included

Ponsero finished with a total of 185.45 for both programs, earning 120.55, another personal best for him, in the Free Skate.  His technical element score was 62.41 and his Program component score was 59.14, missing the gold medal by a substantial 10.97 points.  He trains with Didier Lucine in Annecy, France and skated with power and confidence in this performance.

Russia's Sergei Dobrin took home the bronze medal after finishing 4th in the free skate but third overall with his "Faust" program.   This medal means Russia is no longer tied with the United States for world junior men's medals at 29 but takes the lead with 30 medals since this event was first held in 1976.  Dorbin improved on his personal best which was previously his 2005 Junior Grand Prix Final Free Skate.  He amassed 118.84 points for this program with (TE 60.98 and PC 57.86)  His combined score for both programs equaled 179.02.

"These are my fourth World Junior Championships, and I was second after the short in 2003 in  Ostrava (CZE), but then I couldn't hold on to this placement in the long. That was disappointing", Dobrin said, "This competition didn't start too well for me with the qualifying, but then I was third in the short and I'm third after the free, so I'm very pleased with this result and with finally having won a medal."

Jordan Brauinger last year's bronze medalist finished third in the Free Skate but was fourth overall after his fifth place finish in the short program.  He skated a strong program but was again docked on his opening triple Axel - triple toe combination for under rotation so the technical specialist listed it as a double toe jump.   He just missed a medal by a mere .70 points.  He was hampered by his fifth place in the short.

Shaun Rogers who had several painkiller shots before he competed, landed the quad toe loop but then was erratic and missed some of his easier triples.  He finished 8th with 160.73 points, so the United States will have three spots on next year's team again.
Fifth place went to China's Jinlin Guan who did not shine as he did in the short program and sixth place went to Patrick Chan of Canada, who skated in his first international event here.

Men's Short Program

At the junior level either a triple or double loop is a required element and they must do the flying camel spin and a double Axel for their short programs.  France’s Yannick Ponsero, the current leader, experienced a huge jump in personal best – previously his best international finish in a short program was 9th in Czech State   He skates 21st in the 23 man skating order.    His program to “Safari Bonga Song” featured a triple Axel – triple toe combination, a triple loop and a double Axel. 

All his elements were clean but it took a long time for his scores to appear.  “I have landed the triple Axel combination three times before in competition.  I don’t have a choreographer so I do my own choreography,” he explained.   Ponsero also likes to do dance floor dancing in his spare time.  “This is my best short program ever and these world championships are very important for me so I am very happy,” he said.

He scored a personal best score of 64.90 (total element score 34.93 and program components 29.97).  He grew up in Annecy, France and still trains there with Didier Lucine.  He also enjoys snowboarding.

Japan’s Nobunan Oda was second with his program to the “Super Mario” soundtrack, a video game character that originated in Japan for Nintendo game systems.  He landed his first triple Axel while here in Kitchener at practice.  He strained his right hand on one in practice so he said, “I injured myself so I was happy I could go out and do the program and still smile. This was a good performance for me so I am very satisfied,” he said.

With a total segment score of 64.33 (TE 33.54 & PC 30.79), he is just .57 behind the leader and is ahead when comparing just program component scores. He skates 22nd for the free skating final.   His mother Noriko Oda is his coach and his choreographer is Yukako Sugita.   Oda completed a triple Lutz – triple toeloop combination and his other required jumps were clean.  His performance was entertaining.

Russia’s Sergei Dobrin skated with good speed and energy to his “Black Cat White Cat” soundtrack number by Goran Bregovich for third place in the standings.  He will skate in the 21st spot.  This number was entertaining and fast paced and he included a triple Axel – double toe combination but fell out of the Axel but his other elements were clean. He earned 60.18 for his short program (TE 31.83 and PC 28.35) and entertained the crowd.

He trains in Moscow at the same rink as Irina Slutskaya and is coached by Zhanna Gromova.  He started skating at age 5 but focused more on ballroom dancing from ages 7 to 10.  He moved to Moscow from Lipetsk, Russia at age 12 for better training conditions.  “Thanks to my coaches for preparing me so well for this competition.  I did make a little mistake (on the triple Axel) but overall it was quite good,” said Dorbin.

Japan’s Yasuharu Nanri placed fourth in this stage with his “Two Guitars” (Russian folksong) program that featured a triple Axel – triple toe combination.  He trains both in Fukuoka and Ilizuka, Japan with Yumi Kono and Akira Okazaki and hails from Fukuoka.  Pasquale Camerlengo choreographed this program.  He received a score of 59.60 (TE 32.11 and PC 27.49) so Dorbin beat him on the total element score.

American Jordan Brauninger who skated a clean program was fifth but just behind Nanri by .60 points.  He scored 59.00 (TE 29.62 & PC 29.38).    Brauninger received level one on his spin and footwork elements and they downgraded his triple Axel – triple toe combination to a double toe for being slightly under rotated but out skated Nanri on the program component mark.  He said, “I was surprised about my placement until I saw how it was called. Everyone skated really well here so this seems like a rational placement.  I came to win and skate well so I now need to make up more points in the free skate.”

He worked with choreographer Valerie Cecil and a local Cincinnati, Ohio DJ Kyle Haze for the trance (club) mix of Clocks by Coldplay.  He said, “This program was a collaborative effort. We three spent 3-4 hours listening to music together and this club trance music came together.  It is a really fun program to skate,” he said.

In sixth place and skating in the final group as the final skater is China’s Jinlin Guan who gave a strong performance to “Music from “A Secret Garden” by Rolf Lovland that included triples.   He trains in Beijing, China with Ying Liu.  He grew up in Harbin, China.   He scored 57.04 (TE 31.12 and PC 25.92) in this segment after finishing 8th in Qualifying Group B. Qualifying results do not count in the event standings.

Shaun Rogers of the USA currently sits in 7th place but he wound up with the best draw possible and skates 17th, the last skater in the second to last warm-up group.  He said of his performance, “I nickeled and dimed myself on little things to wind up 7th but overall I think I skated pretty well.”   Rogers earned a score of 55.72 (TE 27.55 and PC 28.17).

Russia’s Alexander Uspenski withdrew due to illness (viral respiratory and fever) prior to the draw.  He had lead his qualifying group but finished 14th in the short program.  He looked ill during his performance.    Countrymen Sergei Voronov also withdrew prior to the short program due to a combination of a stress fracture in his right foot and flu symptoms.  He was 6th in his qualifying group.

The ISU went with a 23-man field instead of adding the 25th place skater, which was American Wesley Campbell after Uspenski’s withdrawal.   Campbell missed his triple flip jump combination and his triple loop today but the rest of his elements were well executed.  He learned two and a ½ weeks ago he was competing here according to his coach, Laura Sanders.  Campbell was 14th in senior men’s at his national championships in January.
The men’s final takes place on Saturday afternoon. The technical controller was Mrs. Anne Hardy Thomas, with Mr. Ricardo Olavearrieta (technical specialist) and American pair skater Todd Sand as Assistant Technical Specialist.  The referee is John Greenwood and there are no longer assistant referees under this judging system.

Canada’s Christopher Mabee had a much better outing for the short program, finishing ninth.  His teammate Patrick Chan is currently 9th after finishing 2nd in his qualifying group.   He was hampered by a lack of a triple Axel in his program plus he missed

Men’s Qualifying Rounds

These point scores will not be counted and these rounds serve only to lower the fields from 40 down to 30 competitors. The results for these top 30 are used only to determine the draw groups for the short program and the top fifteen skaters in each group move on to the short program.  Jordan Brauninger said, ‘I am totally okay with the qualifying round not counting.  I think it is better and gives the skaters more options.  They can decide to conserve energy and just qualify or to put the whole program out there and see how it goes.  It gives us lots of options.”

 The technical controller is Anne Hardy Thomas, the technical specialist is Todd Sand and the assistant technical specialist is Karen Archer.

        Group A

Movie soundtracks were the music of choice for this group’s top competitors. Japan’s Nobunari Oda leads the field with 121.30 total segment points over Canada’s Patrick Chan who garnered 110.22 points.  Oda missed his opening axel completely ("Waxel") but then followed that with a triple Lutz – triple toeloop – double loop combination.  He also included a double Axel – triple toe combination and a triple loop –double toe combination.  Three other triples (flip, Salchow, Lutz) were part of his performance to the “Zatoichi” movie soundtrack.   Oda will skate 26th for the short program.  “I was a little bit nervous but this is a good beginning. When I missed the triple Axel I still expected the other jumps to go well.”  His programs were choreographed by Canadian David Wilson.

Chan, the 2005 Canadian junior champion is experiencing his first international competition ever here and is the youngest male competitor in this competition at age 14.
He did not attempt his triple Axel today but he and his coach will decide later if he will include it in his free skate.   His program to the “Backdraft” soundtrack featured a triple Lutz – double toeloop combination and triple toe – triple toe combination.  He included three other triples (Salchow, Lutz, loop) but fell on a double flip. 

Chan will skate 28th for the short program.   “I am very happy. I’ve been wanting to skate a program like that and it was a lot better than my performance at Nationals,” he said.  Of his first international he said, “Some things have been as I expected and some have not.  I want to learn as much as I can from this experience.”

France’s Yannick Ponsero skated to the “Matrix Reloaded” soundtrack and received 109.34 points for his performance, which included a triple Axel, and a triple Axel – double toe combination.  He is credited with four other triples (toeloop, Salchow, flip and Lutz) but did not have a successful triple loop, receiving credit for a single loop with six judges taking a –3 deduction for it’s execution.  He drew to skate 29th for the next segment.

Countrymen Jeremie Colot is 4th and just missed the final group with 101.50 points for his “Pirates of the Caribbean” soundtrack program but will skate 24th in the short program skating order, which is right before the final group of six.

Sweden’s Adrian Schultheiss finished fifth with 100.50 points and Victor Pfeifer of Austria was sixth.  Canada’s Christopher Mabee had a disastrous outing and finished 14th which still advanced him to the next round.  He will be the first skater to compete in the short program.

        Group B

Alexander Uspenski of Russia leads group B with 113.30 total points over Jordan Brauninger of the USA who had 110.58.  He said, “I think my performance was appropriate for qualifying. I wanted to do the triple Axel but I made a technical mistake. I have never skated on Canadian ice before and it has been quite difficult to adapt (smaller rink). I think maybe that was a factor plus it was the first element and I was nervous.  I was thinking I don’t want to go too far and crash into the boards”

Uspenski fell on his opening triple Axel but went on to skate a strong  “Phantom of the Opera” program that included a triple flip – triple toe combination and a triple Salchow – double toe combination along with four other triple jumps (loop, Lutz, Salchow, toeloop) in his program. Uspenski will skate 27th in the skating order for the short program.

Brauninger landed a gorgeous triple Axel – followed by a triple toe but fell after completing the triple toe, as his landing was not steady.  He followed that with a triple Lutz – double toe combination in his “Pirates of the Caribbean” program.  He fell on his second triple Axel but landed four other triples (toeloop, flip, loop, Sal chow) then lost points with his final double Axel, downgraded by –2 by six of the ten judges and   -1 by the other four.   Brauninger declares he has been pain free since nationals for the stress fracture in the fibula in his right ankle.  Brauninger earned the bronze medal at the 2004 World Juniors so he is hopeful for a medal here.  He said with an impish grin, “I feel like I am next in line since those two (medalists) are gone.  It’s my turn.’

He finished slightly higher than Uspenski (55.5) on Executed Elements with a score of 55.78 but lost ground on the program component score with 55.80 to Uspenski’s 58.80.  Brauninger will be the final competitor for the short program.

France’s Alban Preaubert placed third with 108.00 points, beating America’s fourth place finisher, Shaun Rogers on the executed element score 57.30 to 52.54.  Preaubert’s jumping style is rather sloppy so Rogers was well ahead on the Program Component scores 56.10 to 50.70.    A fall on his final triple toe loop was quite costly for Rogers, giving him a 1.00 deduction and putting him behind Preaubert by just .36 points.

Preaubert’s opening jump was only a double Axel, and his quad toeloop was only a double toeloop today for his opening jumps. Later in his “Adios Nonino” program he pulled out a triple Axel – triple toe combination.  His program included three other triples (flip, loop, Lutz) and a triple Salchow – double toe combination with a step out.   He skates first in the final group of skaters (25th) for the short program on Friday.

Roger’s performance was uneven.  He opened strong with a nice quad toe loop very close to the boards; he then landed his triple Axel but had but a single toeloop for that combination.  A triple Lutz was followed by a single Axel and a single loop.  He rallied for a triple flip but then missed his final triple toe loop.  He missed making the final group with this placement but will skate 20th in the skating order for the short program.  “I am pretty happy that I landed some of the harder jumps and hopefully I got the stupid mistakes out before the final,” said Rogers.  He fell hard on a triple flip a week before coming here which resulted on what he described as a huge hematoma on his hip.

Russia’s Sergei Dorbin fell on a triple Axel so changed his “Opera Faust” program to try again but only managed a fall on a double Axel.   He then rallied for a triple Lutz – triple toe combination and completed four other triples (flip, loop, Lutz, Salchow) for fifth place in his group.   Dorbin skates 23rd for the short program and had a score of 104.80 for his qualifying round.

His countryman Sergei Voronov, who is coached by 1994 Olympic champion Alexei Urmanov finished 6th with 96.34 points. He drew to skate 21st in the short program.  American Wesley Campbell was ninth with 90.28 points.  He could pull up but he skates early for the short program, skating 14th in the 30 men field.  Campbell was scored with an opening triple loop, followed by a double Axel – triple toe combination.  He landed three other triples (toeloop, Salchow and flip) but did a double Lutz – double toe combination.   He downgraded his triple Axel to a double Axel today in his “On the Waterfront” soundtrack program.


Pairs Free Skating

The top three teams from the short program all medalled in this pair final but the top team and third place team switched positions after the final round held on Wednesday night at the Aud in Kitchener, Ontario.   Russians Maria Mukhortova & Maxim Trankov overcame the high fever and throat infection that had plagued her all week to skate a strong clean freeskate with graceful and wonderful style  to "The Day You Love Me" by R.di Blasio. 

These final competitors of the night and now the 2005 world junior champions, also won the 2005 Junior Grand Prix final this season.   They gave a lovely balletic performance with strong elements. "Our performance was quite good but we can do better.  It was not at the limit of what we can do but I guess it was at the limit of what we were able to do tonight," said Trankov.   Their total segment score was 98.33 (Technical Element score of 51.44 and Program Component Score 46.89), winning by a over a 5 point margin.)

The Canadian team of Jessica Dube & Bryce Davison repeated their placement from the 2004 World Juniors with another silver medal here tonight. "We are happy with how we skated and proud to be second," said Davison.  The duo trains in Drummondville, Quebec but he grew up in nearby Cambridge, Ontario.  They appreciated the enthusiastic support of the Canadian audience at this arena for their "Romeo and Juliet" performance.
"I think last year's program was stronger on the technical but that this years was better for the performance itself'" evaluated Davison.

In this program, they had a low catch on their triple twist, she fell on their throw triple loop jump and struggled with her throw triple Salchow.  She says she feels back to 95% since the knee surgery, which took them out of their nationals and the Junior Grand Prix final earlier this season.  "There were a few mistakes, one or two too many, but that's O.K.," Davison said. "It's been a good learning experience for us this season, learning to deal with a situation that's not exactly perfect."  This team attained a total segment score of 92.67 (with their total element score 47.15 and program component score  46.52).

The other Russian team of Tatiana Kororeva & Egor Golovkin moved down from the short program leaders to the bronze medal position with their performance to "The Lady and the Hooligan" tonight.   She put a hand down on their throw triple loop but they gave an engaging performance. Golovkin said of their performance, "Unfortunately not everything worked out for us tonight.  We are basically happy with our performance but we would have liked to have stayed in first place like we were for the short program but they skated very well tonight and deserved it."

Swedish team of Angelika Pylkina & Niklas Hogner continues to garner attention and gave a strong performance to move up to 4th place, just off the medal stand.   This is definitely a team to watch for the future.

Americans Mariel Miller & Rockne Brubaker slipped slightly to fifth place after finishing fourth in the short program in their world junior championships debut.  These national junior champions had previously won a bronze medal in the junior grand prix final this season.  They train with Dalilah Sappenfield in Colorado Springs, Colorado. 

"We have seen most of these competitors at other competitions so we knew what to expect at our first world juniors.  It was really nice and fun to sit and watch everyone.  I didn't watch tonight before we skated because if I do that I get nervous," said Miller.  "This wasn't our best long but we have had a really long season that started back with Triglov Trophy last April.  Doing all these competitions has been good experience for us," added Brubaker.

Americans Julia Vlassov & Drew Meekins were fourth at the junior grand prix final and second at U.S. nationals but did not have their strongest performance here. In their Paycheck soundtrack freeskate, they skipped their throw triple Salchow when she caught an edge just prior to takeoff.  "Competing here was a great experience for us to see how it all works. I could tell she was off balance and the throw wasn't going to work so we didn't try it. We had to struggle tonight," said Meekins.
He also fell out of the side-by-side double Axel but they completed the rest of their elements. They finished 9th in the freeskating and overall after placing 7th in the short program.   This team trains with her father Alexander Vlassov and Amelia Amelina.

Canadians Meagen Duhamel & Ryan Arnold landed the first throw triple Lutz but it was scored as a throw triple flip as there is no button for that element in the current scoring system.  It is to be listed correctly in the event protocol and the ISU record books according to ISU officials. "That is an easier throw for us than some of the other ones," said Duhamel.   They finished 8th in the standings.

Rebecca Handke & Daniel Wende of Germany withdrew just prior to the Pairs Free on Wednesday.  According to a medical bulletin, Wende is suffering from the flu and they were in 8th place after the short program.

Pairs Short Program

The pairs short program took place at Kitchener’s The Aud on Monday evening.  The required side-by-side jump is either a double loop or a double Axel and the required throw is a throw triple loop.

The leaders after the short program were Russians Tatiana Kokoreva & Egor Golovkin with 54.46 total segment points.  They finished 7th at this year’s Russian Nationals but finished fourth at the 2004 World Junior competition.  Their program that utilizes the “Pharaphrase” soundtrack by Dmitri Shostakovich included side-by-side double Axels and a throw triple toeloop for executed elements but lost some credit on their double twist.  “I think we did well today, and we’ll fight again in the free skating”, Kokoreva said.

Canadians Jessica Dube & Bryce Davison placed second and remained close in the gold medal hunt with a total segment score of 53.89.  They included side-by-side double axels but missed their throw triple toe loop in their tango program to “Hasta Que te Conoci” by Raul di Blasio.   Davison skates close to home here as he represents the Hamilton Skating Club and hails from Cambridge, Ontario.  Dube had surgery for a knee injury in December 2004, which forced them to pull out of the 2005 junior Grand Prix final and their national championships.   Davidson described their error as a “normal mistake’ since they are not totally consistent on that element yet.  He added, “We like skating at home.”

Maria Mukhortova is battling illness here with a chronic throat condition but competed after skipping the morning practice. “We considered withdrawing but we are Russians and we don’t give up,” she said. She and partner Maxim Trankov of Russia finished third in this round with 52.58 points.  She put her hand down for the throw triple toeloop and came close to falling over during their spin combination during their “Quidam” from Cirque du Soleil program but there other elements were fine.  This couple won the 2005 Junior Grand Prix series final in Helsinki, Finland. Trankov described his partner as courageous.

Americans Mariel Miller & Rockne Brubaker are currently fourth in the standings with 51.52 total segment points.  They had no deductions but lost some credit on their lift and death spiral with –1 from several judges. “I was happy with how we skated this short,’ said Brubaker.

A couple to keep an eye on for the future is Sweden’s Angelika Pylkina & Niklas Hogner as they looked very promising here with their “Samson & Delilah” soundtrack program.
They placed fifth with 48.39 points.  This is their world junior championships debut for these Swedish junior champions.

The other American team of Julia Vlassov & Drew Meekins performed to “Picante” by Vanessa Mae and placed 7th at this stage for their world junior championship debut.  They were fourth at the 2005 Junior Grand Prix championships and second in juniors at their national championships.  They had problems with their death spiral but landed their side-by-side double Axels.


Free Dance

Mrs. Halina Gordon Poltoak is the technical controller, Sergei Ponomarenko is the technical specialist and Mr. Christopher Buchanan is the assistant technical specialist. Christi Heidler is the referee for this free dance event, held Friday evening at the Aud.

The USA’s Morgan Matthews & Maxim Zavozin won the Free Dance with a personal best performance that garnered them points for the free dance and 187.51 points for their total score.  Their margin of victory was 4.09 over the Canadian team of Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir with their “Lord of the Dance” free program.  “This was our best performance of this program ever.  Not a single step was wrong tonight,” said Matthews.   Their step sequences were strong with quick turns and twizzles.  She added, “We started off our first competition with all level ones and now we have almost all threes and fours.”

The Canadians earned a total of 183.42 points with their “Adios Nonino” by Astor Piazzolla program.  Their performance had a strong beginning with their circular step sequence but he had an unfortunate slip where he went down on one knee just as they ended of their impressive synchronized twizzle sequence but they continued on, skating the rest of their program well before their hometown crowd.  They had a personal best score of 88.18 for this dance (31.98 for technical score and 56.20 for their program component score) but had to settle for silver here.  “We had a little bit of a bobble, but we handled it pretty well. I lost my footing and we weren't exactly together and I almost went down," he said.  His partner added, "We really felt the energy (of the audience). It helped us a lot. We really enjoyed ourselves. We really felt the music."

The other Russian team of Natalia Mikhailova & Arkadi Sergeev, who are also coached by Alexei Gorshkov, finished third in the Free Dance but since they had been 7th in the compulsories and sixth in the original dance, they had to settle for finishing fifth overall.  Their Arabian Dance had more skating on one foot than the other couples below them and a highlight was their multi-level rotational lift. 

The bronze medalists were Russia’s Anastastia Gorshkova & Ilia Tkachenko who skated to music from the “Kill Bill” soundtrack.  This team scored a total score of 167.22 total event points and their total segment score was 77.29 (TE 25.34 and PC 51.95).  She intends to buy herself a new car with her share of their prize money.

Close behind them were the brother and sister Israeli team of Alexandra Zaretski & Roman Zaretski who missed the podium by 1.46 points.  Their Free Dance to “Phantom of the Opera” earned 165.76 points for their total competition score and 76.36 for this Free Dance.

They did borrow a final rotational lift from Galit Chait & Sergei Sakhnovsky, the Israeli champions but their performance was strong.  He had foot surgery this past summer, which kept him off the ice for five months and delayed their season preparation.

American’s Trina Pratt & Todd Gilles pulled up from 11th overall and 16th in the original dance after her unfortunate fall in the original dance segment.  They finished 8th in the Free Dance and overall which means the U.S. has three team spots for the 2006 World Juniors event instead of the usual two.  Pratt said, “I felt we had a job to do to get three spots and we did it.”  They skated their “Romeo and Juliet” program clean with no mistakes.   This team earned a total element score of 28.16, which was fourth in the standings when you just look at total element free dance scores.  They had a total segment score of 71.52 and a component score of 43.36 for this segment which put them 8th and just behind the second Canadian team of Siobhan Karam & Joshua McGrath.

Original Dance

The Original Dance took place on Thursday, March 3 at the Aud in Kitchener, Ontario.  Morgan Matthews’ partner, Maxim Zavozin celebrated his birthday on March 2, turning age 20. His friends surprised him with a birthday celebration the night before the original dance here in Kitchener.  With an early morning practice on Thursday this American team skated on just a few hours sleep but still skated a strong performance to maintain their lead in the ice dance event. 

Their “Thoroughly Modern Millie” program that features the Charleston, Slow Foxtrot, and Quickstep rhythms was choreographed by their coach Elena Garianina. They skated powerfully and with maturity and their performance featured strong twizzles and ended with a fast rotating lift.  Matthews said, “To go out and do really clean, strong twizzles is a big thing for us.”  This team won the bronze medal at last year’s world juniors and won this year’s junior grand prix series final.

They lead the Canadian team of Tessa Virtue & Scott Moirr by 3.54 points at this stage so it will come down to a battle with the free dance. The Canadians skate first in the last warm-up group and skate 20th in the skating order while Matthews & Zavozin will be the final free dance competitors in a twenty-four team field. Moirr’s older brother Danny came in from Copenhagen, Denmark to see his brother compete here.  They used to train in Kitchener, Ontario but now train in Detroit with Igor Shpilband.  “We felt a connection with each other and the audience here,” said Virtue.

Their slow foxtrot rhythm used the music, “Call me Irresponsible” while their Quickstep rhythm was to “Putting on the Ritz” which the audience seemed to particularly enjoy.  This engaging couple executed strong twizzles very well within their step sequence and their program concluded with a rotational lift.  They are right on the heels of the leaders, making a big jump from 11th place in 2004 World Juniors.  They beat them previously this season on the free dance segment but never overall so this should be an exciting free dance climax on Friday evening.

Alexandra Zaretski & Roman Zaretski from Israel have only been with their current coach Evgeni Platov for a few weeks.  “They came to me in mid-January but I was at Europeans so we have only worked together for the past 3 ½ weeks.  During that time we totally changed all the elements in their programs because they needed more difficulty. I am very happy with how they have skated and placed here so far and hope to see them do even more in the free dance,” said Platov.

They now train in Simsbury, Connecticut but were previously in New Jersey with Mia Usova.  “It just didn’t work out.  We explained to her, brought her flowers and we parted as friends,” explained Roman Zaretski.    This duo grew up in Israel where their parents now still live.  Their mother coaches figure skating there.

Russia’s Anastastia Gorshkova & Ilia Tkachenko moved up into third place after the original dance but only have a .53 lead over the Israeli team so it will come down to the free dance between these two couples as well.  “It was unexpected for us to debut here and tonight was not bad at all but you can always do better.  There is no limit for perfection,” said Tkachenko.  When asked how it is to be coached by her father, Gorshkova replied, “It is cool.”

Italy’s Anna Cappellini & Matteo Zanni dropped to 7th place after placing 8th in the original dance from their fourth place in the compulsories.  We are staying lots of placement movement at this competitive stage.  Only places 1, 2 and 27 remained in the same spot they had for the compulsories.

American’s Trina Pratt & Todd Giles suffered heartache today when they dropped from 9th place to 16th place in the original dance segment to put them now 11th overall.  We expect to see them battle back up with their strong free dance.  She fell on a twizzle during their midline step sequence, which cost them greatly in the scoring.  They performed a Charleston rhythm to “Won’t You Charleston With Me” and a slow foxtrot to “Let there be Love” by Nat King Cole, and a quickstep to “Let Yourself Go”.  They have an early draw for the free dance and will skate 11th, which is early in the third group of skaters.  Giles said of their mistake, “It was kind of just a fluke but we still performed well after that."

Compulsory Dance

The 2005 world junior championship compulsory dance round took place on day 2 of the world junior championship competition in Kitchener, Ontario at the Aud facility with a field of 27 dance teams all skating to the Blues.  All teams advance to the original dance competition that takes place on Thursday.  This Blues dance consists of 3 sequences during a 1:14 time span and includes 22 measures of 4 beats a minute.

American's Morgan Matthews & Max Zavozin were the class of the field with strong edges and deep knees which this dance emphasizes; they were also very expressive.  They returned again this season to defend their title and Matthews said, "We were very confident. It is like it's our competition."  This team trains in Ashburn, Virginia with his mother, Elena Garanina and Valeri Spiridonov.   They will skate 25th in the skating order for the original dance.

This team ended this segment with a strong lead with a score of 39.89 over the second place team from Canada, Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir whose overall total segment score was 36.91.  Virtue and Moir hail from London, Ontario, so they have lots of hometown support.  This duo won a pre-novice title in this same facility four years ago.  "We were definitely excited because it is junior worlds in our home country," said Moir.   This team moved to Detroit last summer to train with Igor Shpilband and Marina Zueva.  They will be the first team to skate in the final group, skating 23rd.  They skated confidently with deep edge work for this dance.

Close behind in third place is the Israeli team, Alexandra Zaretski & Roman Zaretski with 36.58 who are now coached by Evgeni Platov.  This brother and sister team was originally coached by their parents.  He had foot surgery last summer.  They will be the final competitors for the original dance.  Their performance was also very expressive. They lost out on 2nd place due to their lower Program Component score, as they finished ahead of the Canadians on the total element score.

The Russian team of Anastasia Gorshkova &  Ilia Tkachenko finished in a tie with the Italian team of Anna Cappellini & Matteo Zanni.  Gorshkova's father Alexei Gorshkov coaches this team.

The other American team makes their world junior championship debut here, Trina Pratt & Todd Giles and they currently sit in 9th place with 32.26 segment points.  The 2005 national junior champions were third at the 2004 Junior Grand Prix final and train with Patti Gottswein-Britton.   They had a good draw and will skate 24th in the original dance after skating well for the compulsories.

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