by Klaus-Reinhold Kany
|1||Lina FEDOROVA / Maxim MIROSHKIN||RUS||53.26||1|
|2||Annabelle PRÖLSS / Ruben BLOMMAERT||GER||47.84||2|
|3||Brittany JONES / Ian BEHARRY||CAN||46.90||3|
|4||Maria VIGALOVA / Egor ZAKROEV||RUS||45.77||4|
|5||Britney SIMPSON / Matthew BLACKMER||USA||45.64||5|
|6||Natasha PURICH / Sebastien ARCIERI||CAN||42.07||6|
|7||Jessica PFUND / AJ REISS||USA||40.97||7|
|8||Kyong Mi KANG / Ju Sik KIM||PRK||40.59||8|
|9||Vanessa BAUER / Nolan SEEGERT||GER||36.95||9|
|10||Angelina EKATERININA / Philipp TARASOV||AZE||35.58||10|
|11||Shalena RAU / Phelan SIMPSON||CAN||34.96||11|
|12||Giulia FORESTI / Leo Luca SFORZA||ITA||32.48||12|
|13||Anjelika ILIEVA / Pavel SAVINOV||BUL||30.86||13|
|14||Rachel EPSTEIN / Dmitry EPSTEIN||NED||30.38||14|
|15||Marcelina LECH / Jakub TYC||POL||29.98||15|
|16||Veera KESTILA / Callum BULLARD||AUS||23.93||16|
The seventh and last Junior Grand Prix of this season takes place in Chemnitz, Germany. The official name of this competition is “Pokal der Blauen Schwerter” (Blue Swords Cup), named after the logo of a famous porcelain company in the nearby town of Meissen for hundreds of years. This competition in the former East Germany has a tradition of more than 50 years. Among others, Tara Lipinski, Matthew Savoie, Daniele and Steve Hartsell as well as Tanith Belbin & Benjamin Agosto have won this competition in the 90's.
The two rinks are known as the former training headquarters of the four world champions Katarina Witt, Anett Poetzsch, Jan Hoffmann, Sabine Baesz &Tassilo Thierbach and other East German stars. Nowadays it is the home rink of reigning pair world champions Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy.
Originally this competition was planned for Dresden, which is about 50 miles from Chemnitz. But the Dresden ice rink was closed last winter after rain and snow water poured through the roof and the necessary renovation was not ready in time.
The competition started with the Ladies Short Program. The new rules give them a bonus of ten percent for each jump in the second half of the short program, like it has always been in the long program. But only a few skaters performed one jump in the second half, while most of them did the three jump elements in the first half, like always. One reason is that the choreography of the new short programs was already done when the new rule came out. Another reason is perhaps that many skaters fear they do not to have enough power for a jump near the end of the short program.
Maria Stavitskaia from St. Petersburg in Russia, pupil of Alexei Mishin’s wife Tatiana Mishina, is in the lead with 57.07 points. Her first element was a very clean combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop. Eight judges gave her a +1 and one +2. The required triple flip and the double axel also got many plus points. The three spins had level 3, 4 and 4, the step sequence level 3. The average of her components was around 5.6.
Leah Keiser of Alisa Viejo in Southern California is second with 55.14 points. Skating to the "Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso" by Camille Saint-Saens, the 15-year old skater began with a combination of a good triple Lutz and a triple toe loop which was a bit under-rotated. Her triple flip got an edge call, but for the five remaining elements she got many plus points. The three spins had the levels 4, 4 and 3 and the step sequence level 3. The highlight at the end of her program was her layback spin which got eight +2s, and even one +3 from the Swedish judge. Her components were around 5.8
Keiser commented: “I am really happy with my short program today and I am glad I did it. Now I can focus on the long program tomorrow and I am excited for that.”
John Nicks who coaches her together with Christa Fassi, said: “She had a bad warm up, therefore I am more than pleased with her performance because it showed great courage. After winning her first Junior Grand Prix in Istanbul and the second place today I hope she will make it to the final in Sochi.”
Anna Pogorilaya from Russia is currently in third position, having earned 53.81points. She opened her short program with a combination of two triple toe loops, followed by a triple flip, but took off from the wrong edge. To middle-eastern music she continued with a good double Axel, three level 4 spins with mainly +1 from the judges. The components reached an average level of 5.4.
Both Keiser and Pogorilaya have a chance of making the final, depending on their results here.
Gabrielle Daleman from Richmond Hill near Toronto in Canada, who was sixth in her first Junior Grand Prix in Linz,Austria four weeks ago, is fourth in Chemnitz in the short program with 52.00 points. She skated to the soundtrack of "Avatar." The Canadian Junior Champion of 2012, and pupil of Amdrei Berezintsev, fell on solo triple flip after performing an almost clean combination of two triple toe loops. Her flying camel spin was excellent and got even two +3s.
Miyabi Oba from Toyota City in Japan sits in fifth place with 51.49 points. In her combination the triple loop was good, but the triple toe-loop under-rotated.
Lénaelle Gilleron-Gorry from Annecy in France is sixth with 44.63 points. She recently won the Master’s senior national competition in France, the week before this competition, in excellent shape, besting all other French ladies. In her short program here, she made a step between her two triple toe loops (the second was under-rotated) and her two other jumps were a bit shaky.
U.S. skater Samantha Cesario is in tenth position with 42.36 points. She singled her loop to toeloop combination which was planned as a triple-triple, and fell on the triple flip. Her double Axel and other elements were clean, however, and her components reached 5.5.
She said: “I had a rough short program, because this morning in practice I pulled a hamstring during a spin. During the loop, my leg therefore felt really very weak. If my leg feels ok tomorrow in the morning I will try a good free program.” Her coach Mary Lynn Gelderman added: “It happened at the end of practice this morning and she did one spin. After the pain we went to the doctor and he said, I cannot do therapy now because you skate in an hour. So they taped it and we tried. She will do therapy after the short program and we will see how her leg is tomorrow morning.”
There are not many countries which have any pairs at all. Therefore there is a pair skating competition only at four of the seven Junior Grand Prix, among them in Chemnitz where two ice rinks are used.
The technical jury with the controller Rita Zonnekeyn, the technical specialist Simon Briggs and the assistant technical specialist Larisa Feoseeva was very strict about the death spirals. Nobody got level 3 or 4, only the winners had level 2, six of the 16 pairs had level 1, seven had the new basic level which has been introduced into the rulebook only this summer and two pairs got no points and level at all (the Australians fell).
The Russian pair Lina Fedorova & Maxim Miroshkin, second in their first Junior Grand Prix in Linz,Austria, took the lead with 53.26 points. Their fabulous required double twist came out of a hydroblade position, their throw triple Salchow was excellent as well. Miroshkin lifted his partner with only one arm and they did a side-by-side spin with both skaters in a clean Biellmann position, even after a change of foot. The rest was good as well.
The German pair Annabelle Proelss & Ruben Blommaert, sixth in Lake Placid some weeks ago, sits in second position after an nearly clean and fresh program to Italian folk music including a famous tarantella. Ruben skated for Belgium as a single skater until 2010 and both are doing pair skating only for a year.
Blommaert later said: “We did what we wanted to do. We worked on the levels and we got most levels. We did many run-throughs. And our hard work paid off. We did not have easy last weeks because of the illness of our coach. We are very happy because we have seven more points than at our first Junior Grand Prix in Lake Placid and the second place at the moment. Our main goal for this season? I hope we can go to Junior Worlds and get a good result there.<
The Canadian pair Brittany Jones & Ian Beharry from Waterloo/Ontario, winners in Austria four weeks ago, are third with 46.90 points. Jones missed the double axel, but the rest of the program was good, including the triple throw Salchow.
Maria Vigalova & Egor Zakroev from Russia earnt 45.77 points and are fourth. They got a rare level 4 for their double twist, but Vigalova landed her double axel a bit shaky. The other elements were at least good.
The U.S. pair Britney Simpson & Matthew Blackmer of Colorado Springs ended up fifth with 45.64 points. Skating to “Zorro”, they made no serious mistakes and their triple throw Salchow was excellent.
Blackmer commented: “I thought we skated really really well. We did the best that we could. We put out everything today and can be proud of our programs. We obviously know what we can work on to do a little bit better. We will go home and do that after the competition is done. Overall it was good skating and good programs.
The Canadian pair Natasha Purich & Sebastien Arcieri of Montreal is in sixth position. They skated to the music “They Can’t Take That Away from me” by Percy Faith." Purich’s double axel was not clean, but the throw triple Salchow, the double twist and the lift were at least safe.
Jessica Pfund (14 years old) & AJ Reiss (20) who train at the East-West palace in Artesia with Peter Oppegard, are seventh. They skated to a Bolero played by Vanessa Mae (not the famous Bolero by Ravel) with starting number one. Pfund missed the triple throw Salchow and stepped out of the double axel. The other elements were ok, while the double twist and the lift were very good.
AJ Reiss said: “We had some difficulties in the short. We had a problem in the double axel and the throw, but overall it was a good improvement from Lake Placid component-wise. And the skating was much faster are more dramatic. So there was some improvement and some not so much.”
Pfunda added: “We had some difficulties, but we can make it up in the long, skate strongly and make a good comeback.”
17-year-old Maxim Kovtun from Russia’s capital of Moscow won the Men’s Short Program at the seventh and last Junior Grand Prix of this season in Chemnitz, Germany with 68.13 points. He had been first at the Junior Grand Prix in Zagreb one week ago and came to Chemnitz with famous coach and choreographer Tatiana Tarasova who had competed there 49 years ago herself as a pair skater (she had been second). Skating to the soundtrack of “Lawrence of Arabia”, Kovtun began with a high combination of triple Lutz and triple toeloop. Then he touched down his hand with the triple Axel and got an edge call on the triple flip. His three spins and his very dynamic step sequence were first class and his components reached an average of 6.3. Although his nose started bleeding during his last spin, he competed safely to the end.
Shoma Uno from Nagoya, Japan placed second with 63.48 points. He looks like a 10 year old boy, but he is 14 and has already achieved tenth place at Junior Worlds in Minsk last season. He interpreted the Tanguera music as well as a 18 or 20 year old skater and got components around 6.0. Especially his step sequence was so good that four judges gave him a +2 for it and U.S. judge Steve Winkler even a +3. His combination of two triple toe loops was safe, his triple flip as well, and his camel combination spin was excellent as was his double Axel.
Jay Yostanto from Artesia, California, 18 years old, ended up third in the short with 61.04 points. He was the only skater in the short program to perform a clean triple Axel, even if three judges saw a minor mistake and decided for a -1, but the six others gave him a 0. After his triple Lutz in the combination he added only a double toe loop. His triple flip was good, as well as the four other elements. He skated to the music “Hollywood Nocturne” by Brian Setzer.
He commented: “I didn’t have one of my best warm-ups in the short program. I really took my time between getting off from warm-up and before I actually competed my short program. I put aside all the negatives that happened and trusted myself. And then I really performed what I want to. So I am very happy with how I skated. It is very exciting to me that I could do a clean triple axel because I do it so many times in practice. My body knows what to do and I just did what I was supposed to do.”
Alexander Samarin from Russia sits on fourth place with 59.09 points. He began his short program with a good combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop, followed by a triple flip. After a level 4 flying camel spin he singled the Axel which was planned to be a triple, and which cost him around 7 or 8 points. Spins and steps were good or very good. His components reached 5.6 on the average.
U.S. skater Shotaro Omori (16 years old) of Riverside, California placed fifth, earning 58.70 points. At the beginning of his tango program, the pupil of Tammy Gambill fell on a downgraded double Axel which was planned to be a triple. This cost him around eight or nine points. His combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop looked clean, but he got an edge call. The triple flip was good, the three spins with the levels 4, 3 and 4 as well and his components were around 5.8.
He said: “I am a bit disappointed with my fall which I had on my first jump, but I am happy that I was able to pull it together and come back with a personal best of this season.”
Victor Bustamante from Spain is in sixth position with 54.22 points. Skating to the “Danse Macabre” by Camille Saint-Saens, he performed a clean program with a combination of triple loop and double toe loop, a triple flip, a double Axel and three level 3 spins. His components reached an average of 5.3, but he got a deduction of one point because his program was a bit longer than 2:50 minutes which is the maximum allowed.