by Klaus-Reinhold Kany
|16||Daniel Albert NAURITS||EST||113.85||18||16|
|1||Lina FEDOROVA / Maxim MIROSHKIN||RUS||140.03||1||3|
|2||Maria VIGALOVA / Egor ZAKROEV||RUS||138.18||4||1|
|3||Brittany JONES / Ian BEHARRY||CAN||134.06||3||2|
|4||Annabelle PRÖLSS / Ruben BLOMMAERT||GER||133.48||2||5|
|5||Britney SIMPSON / Matthew BLACKMER||USA||131.13||5||6|
|6||Natasha PURICH / Sebastien ARCIERI||CAN||128.21||6||4|
|7||Jessica PFUND / AJ REISS||USA||123.07||7||7|
|8||Shalena RAU / Phelan SIMPSON||CAN||116.53||11||8|
|9||Vanessa BAUER / Nolan SEEGERT||GER||108.89||9||9|
|10||Kyong Mi KANG / Ju Sik KIM||PRK||108.62||8||11|
|11||Angelina EKATERININA / Philipp TARASOV||AZE||100.89||10||12|
|12||Marcelina LECH / Jakub TYC||POL||98.15||15||10|
|13||Giulia FORESTI / Leo Luca SFORZA||ITA||96.59||12||13|
|14||Anjelika ILIEVA / Pavel SAVINOV||BUL||84.03||13||14|
|15||Veera KESTILA / Callum BULLARD||AUS||69.07||16||15|
|W||Rachel EPSTEIN / Dmitry EPSTEIN||NED||30.38||14||W|
|1||Alexandra STEPANOVA / Ivan BUKIN||RUS||147.10||1||1|
|2||Kaitlin HAWAYEK / Jean-Luc BAKER||USA||138.61||2||2|
|3||Daria MOROZOVA / Mikhail ZHIRNOV||RUS||124.41||4||3|
|4||Noa BRUSER / Timothy LUM||CAN||117.39||3||4|
|5||Cagla DEMIRSAL / Berk AKALIN||TUR||107.44||5||8|
|6||Anastasia CHIRIYATYEVA / Sergei SHEVCHENKO||UKR||107.20||9||5|
|7||Marieve CYR / Benjamin BRISEBOIS GAUDREAU||CAN||106.58||6||6|
|8||Jana CEJKOVA / Alexandr SINICYN||CZE||96.69||10||7|
|9||Lisa ENDERLEIN / Hendrik HILPERT||GER||95.70||7||10|
|10||Ria SCHIFFNER / Julian SALATZKI||GER||94.20||8||12|
|11||Viviane ROSCHER / Kevin GASSNER||GER||90.19||11||9|
|12||Eugenia TKACHENKA / Yuri GULITSKI||BLR||84.52||12||11|
|13||Victoria-Laura LOHMUS / Andrei DAVODOV||EST||71.87||13||13|
(13 October 2012) Chemnitz, Germany
Among the 13 ice dance couples at the Junior Grand Prix in Chemnitz, there were only two really good teams, which are the gold and the silver medal winners. All others were relatively far away from the top, especially component-wise. The clear winners were Alexandra Stepanova & Ivan Bukin from Moscow with 147.10 points. The 19-year-old son of 1988 Olympic champion Andrei Bukin (whom he closely resembles) and his 17-year-old partner won their first Junior Grand Prix in Istanbul, Turkey three weeks ago. They are the only team from Chemnitz that qualified for the Junior Grand Prix Final in December in Sochi and are the favorites there, as well as for Junior Worlds.
Skating to a new flamenco arrangement of Maurice Ravel’s Bolero, they excelled with a high speed and first class performance, choreography and interpretation. Their components reached an average level of 7.80 and went up to 8.50. All their elements got many plus points. There were even a few +3 from the Russian judge Svetlana Kandiba, but this was maybe a bit too much. The twizzle sequence, the three lifts and the spin had level 4, while the two step sequences were level 2. These level 2s are something which their coaches Irina Zhuk and Alexander Svinin plan to improve in the next couples of weeks.
The new U.S. team Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker of the Detroit Skating Club in Bloomfield Hills came relatively close to the Russian winners and won the silver medal with 138.61 points, 14 points ahead of the other teams. After finishing fifth at their first Junior Grand Prix in Istanbul three weeks ago and after only 17 weeks training together, they showed a remarkable development. The chosen music for their free dance (the soundtrack of “Singin’ in the Rain”) is ideal to make the elements look easy. Both dancers use their body positions as a means to make many small and rapid dance movements.
The started with a very good combination lift with levels 4 for both parts and for which they got five times a +2. The twizzle sequence consisted of three parts, was in perfect harmony, with quick turns and was their best element. The two step sequences had level 3, the other lift level 4. They only slipped slightly during their spin. Their components were around 7.0.
Hawayek (15 years old) later said: “We are really happy with our skate today, especially myself. I felt like that I improved a lot from our first Junior Grand Prix in Turkey because I stayed on my feet. And as a team, we really connected with each other and felt the music, which is something which we have and which not all skaters do have.”
Baker (19) added: “I had a great time, I felt that we improved so much in these two weeks from Turkey. It is still so new with Kaitlin and I as a partnership, but it does not feel new now. It feels that every day we improve and are looking forward to the future.”
Did the competition experience with their former partner help them?
Hawayek: “My best result with my former partner was a fourth place at a Junior Grand Prix last season. Coming into this competition we both knew what to expect in the circuit. Not so much with each other, but the competition itself, like what a Junior Grand Prix was like. The first competition can always be a bit intimidating because it is much different on an international level than on a national level. That is where we benefitted from having some experience with Junior Grand Prix and we were comfortable with the competition here.”
Baker: “I did not compete last season, because my former partner was injured. But two seasons ago I was seventh, and this experience helped me a lot. We work with all five dance coaches in Detroit pretty evenly, with Angelika (Krylova), Pasquale (Camerlengo), Massimo (Scali), Liz (Punsalan) and Natalia (Annenko-Deller). It was not one specific coach who learnt us the blues in the short dance. It was a collaboration of all five, working together towards our best. Everyone does the choctaw and the dance differently.”
Hawayek added: “Angelika has taken us under her wing lately. She has been drilling us on the blues and on the expression of the free dance. She pushes us very hard and we can see that we improve every time we compete. But we benefit from every coach because everybody brings something different.”
The second Russian couple Daria Morozova (15) & Mikhail Zhirnov (17), who like the winners are from the Moscow dance school of Zhuk and Svinin, won the bronze medal with 124.41 points after being fourth in the short dance in Chemnitz and fourth in their first Junior Grand Prix in Lake Placid six weeks ago. They skated to a dramatic version of “Tristan and Isolde”. Four of their elements had level 4, the curve lift only level 2 because Morozova jumped from Zhirnov’s shoe a bit too early. Zeros and +1s dominated in the judges’ marks for their elements. The components reached an average level of 6.3.
Noa Bruser (14) & Timothy Lum (17) from Canada ended up fourth with 117.39 points after being third in the short dance and fifth at their first Junior Grand Prix in Lake Placid at the beginning of September. Their coaches are Meagan Wing and Aaron Lowe in the “Center of Excellence” in Burnaby near Vancouver. They skated mainly in high speed to different music pieces of the soundtrack of “Pirates of the Caribbean”. They began their free dance with an excellent and very quick sequence of three twizzles in perfect harmony.
Their first two lifts and their combination spin got level 4 and mostly +1s from the judges. Their step sequences had only levels 2 and 1. Near the end of their program they both fell at the beginning of their rotational lift, which cost them about eight points (four for the missing base value, two points of deductions for the two falls, one for an “interruption in excess” and maybe one for the grade of execution). This fall may also have cost them the bronze medal. They needed some time to recover and get into the rhythm again and had to accept one point of deduction for that pause as well.
Cagla Demirsal & Berk Akalin from Turkey are lucky fifth with 107.44 points although they were only eighth in the free dance. They train in Stamford, Connecticut and Lake Placid, New York. Their diagonal step sequence was good, the curve lift as well, but was too long, and the twizzle sequence (both with level 4) secure. But then Demirsal slipped from Akalin’s shoe at the beginning of their sidelong lift, so it did not count at all. The last lift, a rotational lift, was longer than six seconds again, but the step sequence and the spin had only level 1. Their components reached 5.5 on the average.
Anastasia Chiriyatyeva & Sergei Shevchenko from the Ukraine landed on sixth place with 107.20 points. They made no mistake and got a level 4 for five of their elements, only the two steps sequences had level 2 and 1.Men's Free Skate
The last competition at the seventh and last Junior Grand Prix in Chemnitz, Germany was the Men’s Free Program. Nobody was really excellent and even two of the three medal winners made several mistakes. This is a bit astonishing because the common excuse about the beginning of the season is no longer valid. The ice quality was as good as at other competitions. It seems more probable that the very best single junior skaters competed at other Junior Grand Prix.
Maxim Kovtun from Ekaterinburg in Russia had been in the lead in the short program and won the competition with 193.04 points and the second best free program. He has changed coaches this summer and is now training with Elena Buianova in Moscow. But it was coaching legend Tatiana Tarasova who come to Chemnitz with him and sometimes helps Buianova at home. Tarasova competed in this same rink 49 years ago as a pair skater and to have won a silver medal. The winner in 1963 had been Heinz-Ulrich Walther from former East Germany, who was referee in the pair skating competition in 2012.
17-year-old Kovtun had planned to begin his free program with a quad toe loop combination, like he did successfully a week ago in Zagreb. But this time he doubled the toe loop and did not try another quad later. Skating to the soundtrack of Casablanca, he continued with a good combination of triple Axel and triple toe loop (13.48 points), a triple Lutz and a second triple axel. Then he singled the loop and jumped off on the flip from the wrong edge. He performed a triple Salchow - double toe loop combination, a double Axel, both not very high, three spins with levels 4, 2 and 3. A very good step sequence with level 3 came in the last 90 seconds of his 4-minute program. Tatiana Tarasova was not very happy with his performance in the kiss-and-cry corner. Kovtun is the only male single skater of the Junior Grand Prix in Chemnitz who qualified for the Junior Final in Sochi. Another coaching legend awarded the sponsors gifts during the victory ceremony; 83-year-old Jutta Müller, famous for coaching the world champions Katarina Witt, Anett Poetzsch and Jan Hoffmann. She still coaches for a few hours per week in this rink.
The 14-year-old little Japanese skater Shoma Uno from Nagoya performed the best free program of the competition and won the silver medal with 188.48 points. He did not try the triple axel yet, but started with an excellent double Axel, and you could see before the take-off that the triple Axel is planned instead soon. Four other triple jumps followed, his Lutz, however got an edge call. He then performed an excellent step sequence for which the majority of the judges awarded him a +2. Skating to Irish music, he continued with a combination of triple flip with two double toe loops. Near the end he seemed a bit tired and fell on the under-rotated triple toe loop which he did in combination with a double axel, but he could add a triple Salchow at the end. He is coached by Mihoko Higuchi, who came to Chemnitz with him, and Machiko Yamada.
The second Russian skater Alexander Samarin from Moscow won the bronze medal with 179.83 points. Skating to the soundtrack of “Admiral”, the 14-year-old pupil of Inna Goncharenko does not have a triple Axel yet. But he showed two double Axels and the maximum of seven other triple jumps, including a very good combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop right at the beginning of this program which was his best element.
His only small mistakes were the take-off from the wrong edge on both of his triple flips. His three spins had the levels 4, 4 and 3, and his step sequence at the end was very dynamic. He won a bronze medal at the Junior Grand Prix in Bled in Slovenia two weeks ago. With the two third places he did not qualify for the ISU Junior final, but is the first substitute.
16-year-old Shotari Omori of Riverside, California, (not far from Palm Springs) ended up in fourth position with 172.56 points. The pupil of Tammy Gambill skated to the well-known music piece “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini” by Sergei Rakhmaninov. He began his free program with a shaky triple flip and singled the first Axel which was planned to be a triple. But then he pulled himself together and did a very good triple Lutz and a good second triple axel in combination. His loop was next, but under-rotated and he singled his second Lutz. But at the end he added a combination of triple Salchow and two double toe loops plus a double Axel. His spins got mainly +1s and had the levels 3, 4 and 4. His components had an average of 6.1.
He commented: “I am happy that I got a personal best on an international competition and I am happy that I did some of the elements like the second triple axel very well. I am a little bit disappointed with how I did overall and that I got fourth. But I know there always next year that I can do well, too.”
Martin Rappe from Germany, who is mainly coached by Monika Scheibe and sometime by Jutta Müller, is fifth with 161.85 points, which is eleven points more than at his first Junior Grand Prix in Lake Placid. In his home rink where famous skaters like Katarina Witt had trained 25 years ago and where the reigning pair world champions Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy now train, he successfully completed six clean triple jumps: two flips, two toe loops, one Salchow and one loop, plus a double Axel. But the 19-year-old member of the German sports army doubled the Lutz. His spins and the step sequence had all a level 3. He skated to two soundtracks: "Prince of Persia" and "King Arthur" and his components were around 5.2.
The second American Jay Yostanto from Artesia, California had been third in the short program, but he could not keep this medal position and fell back to sixth place, earning 161.36 points. He had a good start into the free program to music by Yanni and Cirque du Soleil, and successfully landed a good combination of triple Axel and double toe loop. After a clean triple Salchow, he touched his hand down on a trple Lutz with a take-off from the wrong edge. Then he singled the second Axel and fell on the triple toe loop. After these mistakes, he doubled the second Lutz, had a good triple flip, but doubled the toe loop at the end. His spins had levels 3, 4 and 4, but he did not get many plus points from the judges.
Later he said: “I completely started thinking a little bit too much once I made the first mistake and it was a kind of snowball effect throughout the program. I should have been pushing aggressively and instead I backed off a little bit.”