by Klaus-Reinhold Kany
(12 October 2012) Chemnitz, Germany
Ice Dance Short Dance
This season, the short dance is less interesting to watch than last season. The two required blues elements are slow and naturally all couples make exactly the same movements. This part takes about half of the whole 2:50 minutes. Therefore the dancers do not have much time to do their three other elements and some quick and fresh dancing steps in-between which are a strong point of a junior dance in general. The positive side is that there was a great variety of blues music pieces, some more sultry, some more melancholic. In the other part of the short dance, most couples danced to some kind of quickstep or boogie-woogie, and only three chose a hip hop which is also allowed this season.
Alexandra Stepanova & Ivan Bukin from Russia, second at last season’s Junior Worlds and winner of the Junior Grand Prix in Istanbul four weeks ago, took the lead in the short dance with 60.28 points. He is the son of the 1988 Olympic Gold Medalist Andrei Bukin (who skated with Natalia Bestemianova). They met four of the six key points in the Blues part, which means they got two times level 3. Their performance was superior to all other couples.
In their Swing part, they had the highest speed and the best skating skills and interpretation again. The components went up to 8.0 and reached 7.3 on the average. For the level 3 twizzles, they even got two +3 from the Russian and the Canadian judge. Their sidelong lift and the non-touching circular step sequence were excellent as well.
In second position there is the U.S. team Kaitlin Hawayek (15 years old) & Jean-Luc Baker (19) from the Detroit Skating Club dance school of Pasquale Camerlengo, Angelika Krylova and Massimo Scali. They earned 58.66 points, scoring the highest technical marks of all couples, and are the only ones who the technical jury awarded two times level 4 for both of their compulsory blues parts. Their curved lift and their twizzle sequence also got level 4 and many plus points from the judges. They skated to the Blues “Minnie the Moocher” and the Swing “Gimme Some Rhythm Daddy”. Their components were around 6.7 which is very astonishing and promising for a couple that has trained together for only 17 weeks.
Hawayek commented: “I think for the most part we are really really happy with our skate. We improved two points on both our technical points and on our components compared to our first Junior Grand Prix in Istanbul three weeks ago. We were third there after the short there and ended up fifth overall. This dance today is satisfying for us because this is the next step up that we saw on our skate, and that we are both improving skating skills wise and technically. Our coaches are absolutely incredible and that is one hundred percent the reason why we make so quick progress and have been able to excel so quickly.”
Baker added: “We are very happy because we are always improving especially since we are a new team. It is great to see that all our hard work is being paid off.”
In each of the first five Junior Grand Prix, a Canadian team was third. In Chemnitz again, Noa Bruser (14) & Timothy Lum (17) from Burnaby near Vancouver in Canada are in the third place, at least after the short dance, winning 50.84 points. They are coached by Meagan Wing and Aaron Lowe. They got level 3 for both of their blues sections and level 4 on their twizzle sequence and on the sidelong lift, but only level 1 for their step sequence. Both their Blues and the Swing music is taken from Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.
The second Russian couple Daria Morozova (15) & Mikhail Zhirnov (17) is fourth with 50.33 points. Like the winners they come from the Moscow dancing school of Alexander Svinin and Irina Zhuk. They had levels 3 and 2 on the compulsory part, level 4 on the twizzle sequence and the sidelong lift and level two on the non-touching circular step sequence.
Cagla Demirsal (17) & Berk Akalin (17) from Turkey are fifth with 49,64 points. They train in Stamford, CT and Lake Placid, NY with renowned coach Natalia Dubova and her coaching partner Oleg Voiko. They had the second highest levels in the blues sections, namely 4 and 3. Their other elements were clean and difficult as well.
Mariève Cyr & Benjamin Brisebois Gaudreau from Canada are on sixth place with 43.40 points. They had some timing problems in the second blues section and their twizzle sequence was a bit shaky, but the lift and the first blues section got many plus points.
Ladies Free Skate
The seventh and last Junior Grand Prix in Chemnitz, Germany continued with the free program of the 29 ladies. The overall level of the free program was not very high, only the top three skated really good programs. Anna Pogorilaya from Russia had been third in her first Junior Grand Prix a week before in Zagreb and also third in the short program in Chemnitz. She skated an excellent free program and won the competition with 160.52 points with a margin of 16 points over the rest of the field. The 14-year-old teenager began her free program with a huge combination of double Axel, triple toe loop and double toe loop (9.70 points), followed by another combination of double Axel and triple toe loop. After two clean triple Lutzes, one in combination, her triple Salchow was a bit shaky. Her triple flip got an edge call, but then her triple loop was very good again.
So with seven triples and three combinations, one of them with three jumps, she had 11 jumps in her program, which is the maximum possible jump wise. Her three spins had the levels 1, 4 and 4. Especially her last layback spin was excellent and got a +2 from six judges and even a +3 from the Greek one. Her components went up to around 5.7. With her third place in Zagreb and her victory in Chemnitz she qualified for the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final which will take place in December in the new Olympic rink in Sochi/Russia.
Miyabi Oba from Toyota City in Japan moved up from fifth place in the short program to a silver medal overall and had 144.51 points. Her first element in the free program to music of Igor Stravinsky’s Firebird was the same double Axel - triple toe loop –double toe loop combination as the winner, but Oba’s one was a bit less impressive. After a flip, a Salchow and a lLutz, each of them triple, she stepped out of her flying sit spin and fell on the second triple Salchow, which was under-rotated. But she could pull herself together and add two triple loops, two other spins and a straight line step sequence without further mistakes. The 17-year-old skater had been fourth at the Junior Grand Prix in Istanbul three weeks ago and now second. This was not enough to reach the final in Sochi, but she is the third substitute. The average of her components was 5.5.
Maria Stavitskaia, also from Russia, had won the short program, but with only the fifth best free program she fell back to third place, earning 143.52 points. Skating to music of Prokofiev, the pupil of Tatiana Mishina in St. Petersburg started her program with a combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop, but the toe loop was under-rotated, as well as a triple Lutz later. Her first triple loop was clean, but she fell on the second one. She also landed a clean triple Salchow and two double Axels. Her three spins had level 3 and her step sequence looked easy and got only level 1.
Leah Keiser from Aliso Viejo, CA, had been second in the short program, but fell back to fourth place in a long program with several mistakes. Skating to Alexander Glasunov’s music “Seasons”, the 15-year-old skater opened her program with a combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop, but fell on the toe loop which was under-rotated. In her second combination the double Axel was very good, but the triple toe loop a bit shaky. Then she stepped out of the triple loop and fell on the second triple Lutz (under-rotated). Next was a good combination of double Axel and double toe loop. But then she singled the flip, and added a clean triple Salchow. Her spins were good, the layback spin even excellent, and got the levels 3, 4 and 3. Her straight line step sequence was convincing as well. Her components were around 5.5. She had won her first Junior Grand Prix in Istanbul and therefore was lucky just to reach the Junior Final in Sochi as number six.
She commented: “It was not my best skating today. I am happy I pulled through and I fought, but it was not the best. I know I can do better. I plan to redeem myself in the final. I just know what I have to work on at home. I do not know what went wrong, I just felt uncomfortable at some of my jumps today. I am well prepared, so this is a surprise for me. But I think I know what I have to do.”
Coach John Nicks added: “It is very difficult to understand because she warmed up in the six minutes very well, she did all her jumps and then the performance was not good. So we are going to go home and try to find out psychologically what the problem is.”
14-year-old Gabrielle Daleman from Richmond Hill near Toronto in Canada had been fourth in the short program and ended up fifth overall with 138.33 points. In her opening combination, the first triple toe loop was clean, but the second one under-rotated. She continued with a good triple Lutz - double toe loop combination, but then missed three more triple jump: a flip, a loop and a Salchow. The second Lutz was clean again, as well as the double Axel. The three spins had the levels 3, 4 and 4 and got mainly a +1 from the judges, the step sequence (level 3) was very good as well. She skated to music by Antonin Dvorak, she earned components of around 5.2
Her coach Andrei Berezintsev commented: “I am not happy with her. She was well prepared, but three mistakes should not happen. But she is young and has to learn from these mistakes.”
The second Japanese skater Miu Sato moved up from 13th place in the short to sixth place overall with the third best free program and 130.01 points overall. Skating to Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet”, she tried six triple jumps. Three of them were clean, two under-rotated and her flip got an edge call.
Samantha Cesario from Monsey, NJ, withdrew the morning after the short program. Her leg injury, which had occurred in the last practice before the short program, got worse overnight and she was unable to jump with the injury.
Pairs Free Skate
The level of the pair skating competition was not very high with most couples making several mistakes, especially in the free program. Only two of the top eight pairs did not fall at all.
Lina Fedorova (14 years old) & Maxim Miroshkin (18) from the Moscow pair skating school of Nina Mozer, Stanislav Morozov and Vladimir Zhirnovsky had been in the lead in the short program. Their lead of more than five points in the Short Program helped them to win overall with 140.03 points although they were only third in the free program and had six points less than the second Russian pair. Fedorova & Miroshkin started their free program with an absolute world class triple twist with level 4. Even at this year’s senior world championships in Nice,France none of the senior pairs got this level, not even their teammates Volosozhar & Trankov.
But after this element, Fedorova missed the relatively easy jump combination which started with a double flip and fell on the single toe loop, which was planned double. Then he touched down his hand on the side-by-side double Axel and her landing of the triple throw loop was shaky. The next four elements, including two level 4 lifts were good. A specialty of this pair is the perfect side-by-side Biellmann spin, which they performed in the free program as they did in the short. Near the end Fedorova missed the triple throw Salchow. Their interpretation of funny tangos was excellent, their components were around 5.6.
Maria Vigalova (13) & Egor Zakroev (18) from the city of Perm in Russia won the silver medal with 138.18, but they had by far the best free program. They are more a technical pair. They show less flair and are not so interesting to watch as their countrymen. Skating to the music of “Symphony on a Battle Lost”, they also started with a level 4 triple twist, but a bit less spectacular. In a sequence of two double Axels, he put his hand down on the second one. They collected many points with a solid triple throw loop and a good triple throw Lutz. All other elements were good but not spectacular. Overall they had almost five more technical points than the winners.
Brittany Jones & Ian Beharry from Waterloo in the Canadian province of Ontario won the bronze medal with 134.06 points. They have been skating together for only for a few months, but had long experience with previous partners. The pupils of Kristi Sargent Wirtz had won their first Junior Grand Prix with an excellent style, but could not repeat this in Chemnitz.
Their triple twist had only the new basic level. Jones fell on the triple toel oop and again on the triple throw loop. Then they pulled themselves together and performed a very good second half of the program. It included two excellent lifts, two very good spins and a safe triple throw Salchow. Their music was from Antonio Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”.
All three medalists of this last Junior Grand Prix in Germany (officially called Blue Swords Cup) qualified for the final.
Annabelle Prölss & Ruben Blommaert from Germany fell from second place after the short program to the fourth place and earned 133.48 points. They skated to the new soundtrack of "Robin Hood" (not the one from 20 years ago). Blommaert singled the Axel and Prölss missed the triple throw Salchow. Their triple twist was very good, though, and for the choreography sequence one judge even gave a +3. The lifts and spins had level 4, and the death spiral level 3. Their throw flip was only double, because the triple version is not yet clean. Their components were 5.5 on the average. They train in Oberstdorf, Germany with Karel Fajfr.
Blommaert commented: “The fourth place is more than we expected. We are both doing pair skating for only a year, so we are happy with the result. Certainly we would have liked a medal and we were very close to bronze, just half a point. We passed the minimum requirement for Junior World again, like in Lake Placid some weeks ago, this was important for us. So a good result at Junior Worlds is our main goal for the rest of the season."
Britney Simpson & Matthew Blackmer from the pair skating school of Delilah Sappenfield in Colorado Springs finished fifth with 131.13 points. They skated to excerpts from the soundtrack of "Henry V" by Patrick Doyle. Their first element was a sequence of two double Axels, but Simpson fell on the second jump. The twist was a double, the triple throw loop a bit shaky and the side-by-side double flip got an edge call. During the rest of the program they made no more mistakes: The lifts were ok, the triple throw Salchow solid and the spins and death spiral impressive. Their components were around 5.3.
Blackmer commented: “After our good run-throughs our performance could have been better. We came to Germany and wanted to put two clean performances, performances that were better than what we did at our previous competitions. And I think we did not. Obviously we know what we can work on. A couple of things can be stronger. We can always keep faster and have a better component and have more solidity in our elements. But overall we kind of use this competition as a stepping stone, not only for our next season but for our Nationals as well and hopefully earn a berth for Junior Worlds and do a better spot there.”
Natasha Purich & Sebastien Arcieri are from the Canadian pair skating school of Richard Gauthier and Bruno Marcotte in Montreal. They placed sixth and eafrend 128.21 overall points. Purich had minor problems with the two triple side-by-side jumps, but the rest of the free program was faultless: The triple throw toe loop, the triple throw Salchow and the double twist got mainly +1 from the judges, the two lifts were clean and the components reached an average level of 5.3.
Jessica Pfund & AJ Reiss ended up on seventh position. Their first element was a double twist which got a +1 from all nine judges and level 3. Then Reiss fell on the side-by-side triple toe loop (which was downgraded) and later stepped out of the triple Salchow which was planned as first part of a combination. The throw triple loop was excellent and got four times a +2, but Pfund landed the triple throw Salchow a bit shaky. The two lifts got mainly +1s and both spins had level 4. They skated to an arrangement of "Tristan and Isolde" arranged by composer Maxim Rodriguez.
Reiss summarized: “I think we skated pretty good, especially on the pair elements. My jumps could have been a little bit better, on my part, but there is always room for improvement. I am pretty happy with the overall experience of coming to Germany. It is always a learning experience, so I am happy to be here and happy to compete and happy with everything.”
The North Korean pair of Kyong Mi Kang & Ju Sik Kim competed for the first time out of their country. They performed some good elements like a triple throw Lutz, but were a bit slow and finished the competition on tenth place.