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2013 Grand Prix Final, Junior Ladies

by Alexandra Stevenson

Americans hit wall of Russians, Junior ladies event is a rout of Russian strength overcoming Yankee pluck.

The top three Russians made no significant errors in the Short Program, and even the initially fourth placed Alexandra Proklova, who did make mistakes, was three points ahead of the leading American, Polina Edmunds, going into the FS.

The gold medalist Maria Sotskova, is a 13-year-old Russian who won bronze in the last world junior championship. “I started skating at three and initially didn’t like it. I thought, ‘Why is this woman forcing me to do this in that cold place?’

“When I did my first competition, I was terrified. But, then, I did my second one and won. That was a whole new perspective!” Sotskova was second in her two Junior Grand Prix events, in Riga and Ostrava. She is from Reutov, a town in the east of Moscow. She presented her Short Program to Vivaldi’s “Winter” from “The Four Seasons” and her FS to music from the movie “Pina”.

 Serafima Sakhanovich, another 13-year old who was second in the SP, and her Russian teammate, Evgenia Medvedeva, 14, who lay third, were third and fifth respectively in the FS behind Edmunds. But they held on to their original places. Medvedeva was the top qualifier for the Final, having won gold in two Junior GPs, in Riga, Latvia; and Gdansk, Poland.  Alexandra Proklova, Russia, a 13-year old from Moscow, dropped to fifth behind Edmunds.

The best placing American entrant placed fourth overall.

Polina Edmunds, USA, born and still living in San Jose, had problems in the Short Program with the landing of her triple Lutz, which was meant to be combined with a triple loop. “I’m not happy with it. It wasn’t my best,” said the 15-year old Californian U.S. Junior champion.

Edmunds, who was born and lives in San Jose, and trains in Santa Clara, had presented a lively Short Program set to “Pink Cheries Cha Cha Cha”, “Besame Mucho” and “Another Cha Cha”. Her double Axel was satisfactory and her Layback Level 4. But the other two spins and her steps were Level 3.

She performed her Free to “Solveig’s Song” and “Morning” from Edvard Grieg’s Opera,”Peer Gynt”. She began with a triple Lutz to triple toe loop, which earned its base value. The triple flip to loop to triple Salchow got a very slight -0.10 removed and that was her only negative Grade of Execution. She brought off two double Axels, a second triple flip, a triple Lutz and a triple loop to double toe loop. Her three spins were Level 4 and the Steps Level 3.

She said, “I was very happy to fight through it. Today, I really fought for it. I didn’t want to let anything go after yesterday. I’m happy I did that. I wish my score had been higher. The audience was good and energetic. Skating in this kind of big place – it was really cool. I hadn’t done that yet this season, so it was exciting and good practice. I’m going to start training for my senior program. Now I’m excited to train for nationals (in Boston).

Angela Wang, USA, who has finished 8th and 9th in the past two U.S. Senior championships, was inspired to start skating when the 2002 Winter Olympics came to her hometown, Salt Lake City. She now trains in Colorado Springs. The 17-year-old skated her Short Program to “A Beautiful Storm,” by Jennifer Thomas, landing her triple Lutz but was unable to hold the landing and fell, and couldn’t do the planned second jump. She later singled her triple loop. But her spins were all Level 4 and her steps Level 3, all with good Grades of Execution. After the SP section, the 17-year old said, “It was very disappointing. I’ve been training a lot better and I was hoping to show that off today. I felt good going into the Short Program. I hope to skate better in the Free. I’ve been having good practices but I think I tensed up a little too much. I hope to do better in the Free Program, and just do what I’ve been doing in practice.

Skating her Free first, to “Nights in the Gardens of Spain” by Manuel de Falia, dressed in a royal blue, sleeveless dress with one shoulder strap, she opened with a triple Lutz meant to be a three jump combo, but the second jump was a double and not the planned triple toe loop and she did not try the third jump, a double toe. A good triple flip followed but then she singled her loop.

Her first spin, a change foot combo earned Level 4, and the step sequence which came next was Level 3. But then she fell on a triple Lutz, which was given an arrow for slight under-rotation. Her triple toe to double Axel sequence was also saddled with an arrow on the second jump. Her layback spin was Level 4. But then she added the double toe loop she had left out of her first element and fell again. She said, “The performance was really up and down. Yesterday’s performance pushed me to fight a little more today. I felt more confident going into it. It was really up and down, but I felt like I fought through the whole thing. I was skating a little more mad than yesterday. It pushed me to fight more today.”

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