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Russian Again Dominates Junior Competition

For second year in a row Russia shows who's the boss in Junior events

by Klaus-Reinhold Kany


(17 December 2018)

Junior Ladies

The Junior Ladies Final 2018 in Vancouver had a good level.  All six made relatively few mistakes. The top result, however, was a surprise because the favorite and quad jumper Alexandra Trusova was only second. Nevertheless there was the expected medal sweep and even “top five-sweep” because five of the six ladies came from Russia and the only non-Russian skater was sixth and last.

15-year-old Alena Kostornaia from the school of Eteri Tutberidze, silver medalist at Junior Worlds 2018, won both parts of the event and collected 217.98 overall points although she tried neither a triple Axel nor a quad. But she had the best style, presentation and musicality and skated with more expression than the other ladies. Obviously the judges don’t want only run-and-jump performances. Skating to the soundtrack of “The Leftovers” and to “November," both by Max Richter, she went into the excellent double Axel from a nice Ina Bauer movement and therefore had four GOEs of +5. Her triple flip and the combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop were excellent as well with difficult entries. Her spins and steps were stellar, too. All seven elements had at least one GOE of +5.

She commented, “I feel this was the best I’ve ever skated. I did everything as I had planned. I am glad that I got such a good score, it is my personal best. This is an important season for me, I want to turn senior next year and I need the rating. I would like to do the triple Axel in competition. I’ve been doing it in practice, but it didn’t go so well yet this season. I want to do something that not everyone is doing.”

Her free program music was a medley of several Romeo and Juliet versions. Almost all elements were excellent again, The double Axel and the combination of triple flip and triple toe loop were outstanding and had a few GOEs of +5, as well as the layback spin. Most other elements were dominated by GOEs of +4, only the combination of triple Salchow and triple toe loop had “only” GOEs of +1 and +2. The components were around 8.4.

Later she said, “I had a few elements that didn’t work out, including the main combo and the last jump, I’ll be working to make them better. I’m in the process of learning different jumps, and last season I could do a triple Axel and I was planning to put it into my program. But unfortunately I couldn’t do it in the season, my body went through a few changes, I now have different weight and height. Now it’s a bit harder to learn the jumps. Honestly I’m not yet learning quadruple jumps. My goal right now is to get selected in Russian National team, and go to Junior Worlds.”

The reigning Junior World Champion Alexandra Trusova from the same school as Kostornaia won the silver medal with 215.20 points. Her short program to the soundtrack of “Kill BiIl” was flawless with seven very good elements, including a combination of triple Lutz and triple loop. But her GOEs and components were a bit lower than those of Kostornaia. “I really enjoy performing here, the crowd had a very warm welcome. There were small errors, but overall I am very happy with my performance. I always focus on the skating, especially for the free program. It is easier to perform the short program because you are only allowed to do triple jumps.”

She opened her free program with a quad Lutz but stepped out of it. Then she fell on the second quad Lutz which was under-rotated and she had no combination. She got only 0.72 points for this element. Her third quad was a toe loop with a tight landing on one foot. Six triple jumps were good and had GOEs with an average of +2 and +3. Her components were around 7.8. She said, “I guess that during this competition I was a bit nervous, because I have three quad jumps. I did them well during the practices and in Moscow, but today it just didn’t go well.”

Alena Kanysheva from the school of Svetlana Panova won the bronze medal with 198.14 points. Her jumps in the short program - the same as the others did - were good, but the layback spin a bit wobbly.I definitely I can do better and should have done better, but I'm happy with what I did," she said. “This is my first junior season and my first Final, I think it's already a lot. I am not making any big plans, whatever happens, happens. My goal is to make a name for myself. I want the world to know me.” The free program to “Dreams of a Winter Journey” performed by Berliner Philharmoniker was almost faultless with seven triples, only a triple Salchow was under-rotated.

Anastasia Tarakanova, who is coached by Evgeni Plushenko, finished on fourth place with 190.46 points. Her triple flip in the short program was a bit shaky and the triple toe loop after the triple Lutz under-rotated. The change foot combination spin was excellent and the other elements good. “I was in good physical shape," she said. “I could have skated better, the jumps could have been better. There were some small errors in the program. On the Lutz-toe combination there was little error, which made it hard to do the toe.”

Her free program to a modern arrangement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata was faultless with the usual seven triple jumps. The first triple Lutz was her best element and had six GOEs of +4. She commented, “I am happy with the way I skated in the program, but when I saw the scores I was a little upset, I thought they would be a bit higher. So I’ll need to work harder. I am actually happy to even be in the Grand Prix Final.”

Anna Shcherbakova from the Tutberidze school placed fifth, earning 181.83 points. She fell on the double Axel in the short program after she performed too difficult steps right before jumping. The triple flip was good, but she stepped out of the triple Lutz after a very difficult entry into the jump. Two of her three spins were excellent. Later she explained, “I made serious mistakes in the jumps that I don’t ever need to doubt. I’m not sure about the reason. Yes, it was my first time in such a big competition, but it is important not to let that get into my head and I just have to show the best performance I can do. I am planning two quad Lutz in the free program.”

The next day, however, she fell on both of these jumps. The first one was downgraded because she tried to land it forward. Five triple jumps were good and her layback spin at the end was stellar and collected six GOEs of +5. “I wanted to skate clean and also wanted to land my quad Lutzes, but I couldn’t do them cleanly and I fell, so I’ll try to do it next time. I had problem with skates. I got new ones, they were not comfortable so I got back to old, then new ones again. Before I changed my skates I had a very stable period in practice, I rarely had a fall on my jumps.”

Yelim Kim from South Korea, who trains in Colorado Springs under Tom Zakrajsek, ended up sixth with 177.91 overall points. She touched down her hand on the triple toe loop after the triple Lutz, but the double Axel and the triple flip were very good. Her sit spin at the end was outstanding. She commented, "It was not my best performance, but I am okay with that. I was very happy when I knew I was going to Grand Prix Final and everyone was happy for me.”

In the free program, she dropped from fourth to sixth place because only five triple jumps were clean. The first triple toe loop after the triple Lutz was under-rotated and she fell and crashed into the boards on a triple flip. She said, “I can see many spectators, and it’s interesting, but I want to have more big competitions like this, so next time I want to show everybody my best program. I can compete in both Junior and Senior World Championships, and I want to go to the Senior World Championship.”

Junior Men

Stephen Gogolev of Toronto, whose main coach is now Lee Barkell, won the Junior Men’s Final with 233.58 points. He qualified only as an alternate for U.S. skater Andrew Torgashev who had a foot injury. Skating to “Run, Boy, Run” by Woodkid, he opened his short program, in which he was second, with a good combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop, followed by a triple flip and an excellent triple Axel. His three spins had mainly GOEs of +2, and his step sequence even two GOEs of +4. His components were around 7.0. He said, “It feels good to have a season's best at the Grand Prix Final and it's my first Junior Grand Prix season. When I found out that I was nominated I was really happy, but not because someone pulled out, but because I was the one going. And I was really excited.”

In his free program to the soundtrack of Sherlock Holmes he fell on his first jump, an under-rotated quad Lutz. But he pulled himself together and performed a clean quad toe loop, an under-rotated quad Salchow, two good triple Axels, one of them with a triple toe loop, and three more triples. The spins were good and his step sequence impressive for a 13-year-old boy who will turn 14 on December 22 and is not even yet a real teenager. His components were around 7.3.

He said, “I don't even feel like I'm here. It just feels like it's another competition for me. I was confident going into this competition. I was a bit disappointed after falling on the quad Lutz but I did everything else so I’m happy overall. It felt really good here competing with the home crowd. I learned from Yuzu(ru Hanyu) and Javi(er Fernandez) that you need to work on everything. Skating skills are very important. Not just jumps, but spins and skating skills.”

16-year-old Petr Gummenik of St. Petersburg in Russia won the silver medal with 218.75 points. He had trained with Alexei Mishin for some time, but had to leave him for disciplinary reasons. Now his coach is Veronika Daineko. He opened his short program to a modern version of the famous Czardas by Monti with a tight triple Axel, followed by a clean triple flip. His combination of triple Lutz and triple loop was not a hundred per cent clean. Two spins and the step sequence were very good, but the third spin a bit shaky. His components were around 6.9. He explained, “Overall, I completed almost all of my elements. There were a few shortcomings, which only I noticed. This competition is so important that being a part of this is an achievement. It is a different atmosphere, the crowd is bigger and the competition is more official.”

Gummenik opened his free program to Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet” with a clean quad Salchow, followed by a combination of triple Axel, double toe loop and double loop. Three more triple jumps came next, but near the end also an under-rotated triple loop, a double instead of a triple flip and a step-out on the triple Lutz. His spins and step sequence were excellent. His components had an average of 7.2. “I did everything, all my elements," he said. “So I’m pretty happy with the second place. Yes, I think I was expecting a medal.”

Koshiro Shimada from Japan won the bronze medal, collecting 214.38 points. He stepped out of the triple Axel in the short program. His triple flip was good, as well as his combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop. “I was able to perform today without getting too nervous," he said. “I made a mistake on my triple Axel, however, I was able to continue my performance and finished it well. This experience in the Grand Prix Final as a Junior will be something that will help me get to the senior Grand Prix Final in the future.”

He started his free program to “Winter in Buenos Aires” by Astor Piazzola with a clean quad toe loop and a triple Axel. Four other triple jumps came later, but stepped out of a triple toe loop in combination with a double Axel and near the end he fell on a triple flip. Later he commented, “I’m very surprised that I came in third place. In terms of my performance, I had more of a feeling of being disappointed than happy. For me, the task is going to be how to make it so my concentration doesn’t lapse. I was watching senior men yesterday. I was very impressed with everyone because they were all very nice performances.”

He was asked why he moved to Switzerland to his coach Stéphane Lambiel. “How it started was back in March when I went to do some choreography work with Stephane. I learnt a lot about his training environment in Champery. Also, it turned out that my former coach Mr. Nagasawa was going to a different rink. Then I was having a bit of a difficulty of figuring out where I was going to train. Stephane gave me the advice that he would be able to help me any time that I wanted and that’s when I decided to train with him.”

Adam Siao Him Fa from France came fourth with 207.04 points. The student of Brian Joubert in Poitiers began his short program with a triple Axel, but the landing was not clean. His combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop was a bit shaky and he almost fell on the required triple flip. He said, “I am very happy to participate. It’s a “top” event and I was even maybe overexcited to be here. It did not go super well. I still have a little bit of work to do on my mental performance.“

In his free, he landed two quad toe loops and two triple Axels which were almost clean, plus three good other triples and a triple loop landed on two feet. He does not show yet much between the elements and has little contact with the public. He explained, “I am very happy with how the free program went today. I took some lessons from yesterday, meaning I was able to control myself, my adrenaline better. I have Nationals coming up in a week, and I want to qualify for Europeans at the senior level. I have been training with Brian for two seasons now, so it’s kind of recent, but in this short time I have made a lot of progress. He has lots of experience in figure skating, so I am learning a lot from him, especially in terms of controlling myself for competitions. I am really happy that he took me on, and I feel lucky to be working with him.”

U.S. skater Camden Pulkinen of Colorado Springs was slightly favored entering the competition, and confirmed this role with a lead in the short program. He is more mature, has elegant arm movements and excellent skating skills, especially in his steps which remind a bit of those of Patrick Chan. Therefore he even got one GOE of +5 for his step sequence. His four triple jumps were at least good, his Axel excellent. He commented, “My goal is, as always, to put complete performances out. This is a little bit different than the Final last year in Japan, especially with the travel. So not a lot of jetlag, pretty comfortable with Vancouver.”

But in the free program he dropped from first to fifth place with 197.68 overall points being only sixth in this part.  At the beginning tried the difficult combination of triple Lutz, Euler and triple Salchow, but left out any quad. He was nervous and stumbled on both jumps.  After an excellent triple Axel he fell on the triple loop, singled the flip and fell once more on the triple Lutz. Two other triples were good. He said, “Of course, very disappointed in what I put out there. I think it was a learning lesson for me because I trained the short program so well in so many consistent run-throughs, and the long hasn’t been there in training as much as I would have wanted it to be. Mental toughness in sport is not as much about what you can do, but about what you can do in a specific moment.”

Tomoko Hiwatashi, also of Colorado Springs, ended up sixth and last with 190.80 points. In the short, he popped the triple Axel, had a good triple flip and a shaky double toe loop in stead of a triple one after the triple Lutz. “I have never actually competed against these top skaters in Juniors," he said. “And it is also my first time in the Final, so that might have made me feel a little bit anxious, but it is not an excuse.” In the free program he lost a lot of points with four under-rotated jumps and stepped out of the quad toe loop. He said, “I managed to complete the free program with all of my strength. I'm really happy I managed to reach the final this season. I was able to meet my seniors and talk to them a little. Being able to do things like that makes skating really fun.”

Junior Pairs

The Junior Pairs Final in Vancouver had a very good level and was kind of a Russian Junior National Championships because five of the six teams came from this country. And the only non-Russian team, Americans Sarah Feng & TJ Newman of Colorado Springs, withdrew after the short program because Feng suffered from a strain in her right ankle the morning practice before the free program. In their short program to a Flamenco, they had been sixth with a distance of almost ten points to the fifth place. Fang fell after landing the triple twist on both feet, but both did a good side by side double Axel. Then she almost fell on the triple throw Salchow and their side by side spin was out of sync. The lift was a bit shaky, the death spiral and the step sequence were good, the components were around 6.4. But as whole they underlined the general weakness of U.S. pair skating.

Nyman had said, ”Definitely not our best. It's just another competition for U.S. and we didn't give a thought about being the only U.S. team among all the Russian teams. We came here to do our performance but it wasn't there today. I don't know...”

Pair coaches from Europe will be comimg to help the USA in the future, Olympic Bronze medalist Robin Szolkowy being one of them who may join the school of Todd Sand and Jenni Meno in California soon.

The best of the five Russian teams were Anastasia Mishina & Aleksandr Galliamov who won a narrow gold medal with 190.63 points, only 1.10 points more than the silver medalists. In their short program to "Party like a Russian“ by Robbie Williams, the origin of which is Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, they had been only third after their side by side double Axel was not perfectly clean. The triple twist was excellent, however, the triple throw Salchow high and the other elements good. Mishina said, “We are a bit nervous because it is our first Final. We did not do all we can. There are a lot of good pairs. So we’ll see how it goes in the free.”

There, the skaters from the school of the Velikov family were very successful and performed a clean program to the soundtrack of "The Master and Margarita“. The triple twist, the triple throw flip and the triple throw Salchow were excellent, the side by side triple toe loop and the two lifts as well. The sequence of triple Salchow, Euler and triple Salchow and the other elements were good and the components reached a level of 7.6. Mishina said, “We are really happy that we did all our elements. Galliamov added, “We never think about being on the podium as a goal. We just concentrate on the program, how we skate, what elements we need to work on. But it’s definitely good to get a pleasant surprise. Obviously we’ll stay and watch the senior pairs. My favorites are Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres, they have amazing lifts.”

Polina Kostiukovich & Dmitri Ialin from the same school as the winners won the silver medal with 189.53 points. They had been first in the short program after an outstanding triple twist, a very good triple throw Salchow and a lift in which he almost threw her up, she then turned around and then he held her (one GOE of +5 and four +4). The other elements were good and in their final pose, Kostiukovich waved with her foot in almost a Biellmann pose instead of with her hand to the public. She said, “We could have performed better, the elements could have been done in a better way and we can improve on some levels. There is still a lot to work on.” Ialin added, “We are happy with the result, but we feel there are a lot of little issues in our program. “Lara Croft” is an energetic music and the audience got into it. Our coach Nikolai Velikov has thought of the finishing pose. He is constantly searching for something new and different and he suggested this pose to us”

They opened their free program to a medley of music from the Cirque du Soleil with an outstanding triple twist (three GOEs of +5), followed by an excellent triple throw loop and two stellar lifts. The other elements were at least good as well, including the sequence of triple Salchow, under-rotated Euler and another triple Salchow. But the pair spin got a lower level which cost them the first place. “I think for our first time, for our debut, we skated quite well and we proved that we can fight," Ialin commented. Kostiukovich added, “It was a good competition for U.S. and it was also good experience for U.S. because we competed in the Final for the first time so we were able to present ourselves here.”

Apollinariia Panfilova & Dmitry Rylov from the school of Pavel Siliusarenko took the bronze medal, winning 186.59 points. Their triple twist in the short program was outstanding, the lift as well and the other elements were at least good. Their free program to “W.E.” by Abel Korzeniowski was almost clean, including some stellar elements, the triple twist, the triple throw loop and the two lifts, each of which collected some GOEs of +5. The other elements were good, only her double Axel in the sequence with an Euler and a double Salchow was under-rotated. Both did not show a triple side by side jump.

Panfilova explained, “We are pleased with our performance and we are happy with our result that we are on the podium and that we skated quite well. We loved the atmosphere and the support from the audience. Even when we made mistakes in the warm-up, everyone was still clapping and we really liked that kind of support.” Rylov added, “Figure skating between seniors and juniors is very different, which is why we appreciate the opportunity to learn something new and we take something away from the senior skaters’ performances.”

Ksenia Akhanteva & Valerii Kolesov sit fourth, earning 172.51 points. Five of their short program elements were good, but she under-rotated the double Axel and the side by side spin was a bit out of sync. Kolesov said, “Very warm and nice feelings, there are so many people in the tribunes. It is our first time performing on such a big event. We have always wanted to perform in the big arenas which have big crowds. Some elements could have been better. It is a big experience for us, to see how the seniors skate, in other words best skaters in the world. It is very interesting.”

In their free program most elements were good, the triple throw Lutz excellent, but Akhanveta fell on the triple Salchow and had no combination. Akhanteva commented, “Not everything was perfect, the combo jump didn’t work, but other elements were good. In general we loved performing in Vancouver, very pleasant public, there were lots of fans.” Kolesov added, “The seniors can get themselves together at the last moment and skate well, this is what we need to learn and in general to feel the atmosphere of competing in senior level.”

Anastasia Poluianova & Dmitry Sopot from the Silusarenko school ended up fifth with 158.33 points. Since early November, they also work with Oleg Vasiliev. Sopot under-rotated the double Axel in the short program and has not a very elegant style, and the spin was shaky, otherwise their elements were clean. Sopot said, “Well, the spin was the element that we were doubting, even though we worked on it the most during our training sessions. I think it is because it was the last element in the short program, it was a bit challenging emotionally and strength-wise … It just happened.”

In the free program to Spartacus, Poluianova fell on the under-rotated triple toeloop and Sopot on the under-rotated triple Salchow which he had landed on the wrong foot, the other elements were good. Sopot said, “We are happy with the skate, even with such big misses and mistakes. We’re glad we made it to the Grand Prix Final.”

Ice Dance

The Ice Dance competition at the ISU Junior Final in Vancouver had the expected medal sweep for Russia. The decision between gold and silver was one of the closest possible because there was only a difference of one one Hundredth of a point. Lucky winners with 167.66 points were Sofia Shevchenko & Igor Eremenko from the school of Irina Zhuk and Alexander Svinin. They had taken a close lead in the Rhythm Dance to the Tango "La Cumparsita“. The Tango sections had the levels 3 and 2, the circular step sequence a level 3 and the lift and twizzle sequence a level 4. All elements were very fluent and well performed, the twizzles even were outstanding and had one GOE of +5 and five GOEs of +4. The components were around 7.9.

Shevchenko said, “It is a high score and this is our record. We really happy that Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin were cheering for U.S.. We are the two ice dance couples from the training group who made it here. Even during the warm-up before going on the ice and during the training, we had a feeling of being at home. Their presence and cheering helped with the nerves. Sasha (Stepanova) was cheering loudly and I could recognize her voice.” Eremenko added, “The Final this year and the atmosphere are very different compared to last year in Japan. It is very pleasant to participate in the Final in Canada. We really like it here.”

In spite of performing the second best free dance they could keep their first place. They danced in a very modern way. Their first element was the One Foot Step Sequence with a level 3 for both partners and mainly GOEs of +3. Their twizzles had a level 4 and was in good harmony. The other level elements also had high levels and mainly GOEs of +3 and +4. Their flow was excellent and their components were around 8.3.

Shevchenko commented, “We’re in a kind of shock now, and we go around glassy-eyed. We haven’t realized it yet. Sport is such a thing – one time you’re at the top and next time you’re at the bottom. This is our first major victory. But overall it was a good skate, we are happy with the scores. We will need to look at the technical score breakdown later to see what we need to work on in the future. I guess it's an unforgettable moment in our career.”

Eremenko added, “It was so close with 0.01 points difference. It was worth the fight. We worked really hard for this competition, and we really wanted to show the kind of skate that we are able to show to our coaches during practice. Competition always brings worries and stress, it is a little different than training. We believe that it was not a hundred percent of what we could have done, but we have definitely gotten closer to that goal.”

Arina Ushakova & Maxim Nekrasov from the school of Alexei Gorshkov finished second with 170.65 points. They competed the Rhythm Dance to the Libertango and a Flamenco by Valeri Dolgin. They hit six of the eight Tango sections, got very good levels and GOEs of mainly +2 and +3. Ushakova commented, “It was not our best score and honestly I had hoped for more. We felt good in the program, we didn’t notice any errors, but I haven’t seen the protocol yet and can’t really say more.”

They won the speedy free program skating to the soundtrack of “Black Cat, White Cat”. They skated a bit less elegant but with a lot of arm movements. Their levels were very high and the two lifts even got some GOEs of +5. All other elements were excellent as well and their components had an average of 8.2. When they saw the tiny difference to the first place, they did not want to say anything, but later Ushakova commented, “We are pretty happy with our performance this time. There were definitely some mistakes that we will be working on and taking care of at home. It's definitely not the result we were hoping for, but life is life and today there is one winner, tomorrow there is another one.”

The bronze medal winners Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva & Nikita Nazarov (164.54 points) are from the school of Denis Samokhin, also in Moscow. Their levels in the Rhythm Dance to the “Tango Amore” by violonist Edvin Martin were high, GOEs of +2 and +3 dominated and their components were around 7.7. Khudaiberdieva said, “Competing in our first Junior Final is amazing, I am in complete awe. There was some type of nervous excitement because it is such a big event, there is a big crowd. I was shaking a bit an hour before the performance. But when I stepped on the ice and saw the big crowd, who came to see our performance, it gave me confidence and a push.” Nazarov added, “When there is a big crowd, it is much easier to skate because the crowd energizes you and gives you confidence. Surprisingly, the crowd was very supportive.”

In the free dance, they used very modern music by Rag’n Bone Man and Benjamin Clementine. Their one foot step sequence had only a level 2 for both partners, but otherwise they had high levels again. Khudaiberdieva explained, “We are very happy to be in the top three of the Grand Prix Final. We are also happy that the top three teams are from Russia as it is a big event for the country itself.”

Marjorie Lajoie & Zachary Lagha from Canada placed fourth with 164.51 points, just three hundredths less than the bronze medalists. They hit only the first four of the eight Tango sections and their midline step sequence had a level 2, but executed all five elements in very good quality. Lajoie said, “Everyone was cheering for U.S., waving Canadian flags and clapping hands. Seeing that was amazing.” Lagha added, “I think we performed well but technically we have done better before. Overall, I think it went okay.”

For their free dance, which was the third best, they used the “Warsaw Concerto” by Richard Addinsell. Their step sequences had the levels 2 and 3, the other level elements level 4. They had the highest GOEs (mainly +4) for their rotational lift, but it was too long, got a deduction and cost them a medal. Lajoie said, “We’ll try to focus more on the technique. Emotionally, it was really good, but technically we need to work on it a little bit.” Lagha added, “It’s our second time at the Junior Grand Prix Final. It felt pretty good overall, but to be in Canada, it felt awesome.”

Avonley Nguyen & Vadym Kolesnik from the USA arrived one day later than planned and missed the official practice the first practice day. They were able, however, to arrange a separate practice time in the evening, but without their music played.  Kolesnik is Ukrainian and needed a visa for Canada, but his passport got lost in Vancouver and was resent to the USA too late. He said, “It did not affect us that much, we were ready. We are here not for training, we are here to compete. It's our first Grand Prix Final. We are glad we got here.” They hit four of the eight Tango sections and had otherwise high levels and good GOEs. In the free dance, Nguyen touched the ice with her second foot during the twizzle sequence, but the other elements were very good.

Nguyen commented, “It felt really good competing in the first Grand Prix Final. We could have done better but it felt really good connection- and emotion wise. We felt like it was just U.S. there in the moment. Of course we want to perfect everything technically because here, it wasn't the best for U.S.. We always want to strengthen our connection to make everything smoother and just flow much better.”

Maria Kazakova & Georgy Reviya from Georgia, who more or less are Russians, ended up on sixth position with 148.76 points. Reviya stumbled on the first Tango section, but the other elements were clean. Reviya said, “I cut my right hand during the warm up. It was uncomfortable, because the blood was running down my finger and I could not hold her (Kazakova) properly. This is the first time something like that happened.” In the free dance to a modern version of Carmina Burana, all elements were clean, but GOEs of +1 and +2 dominated. Kazakova said, “Now we are going to work on our mistakes, because not everything turned out to be the way we wanted it to be. We will work on that, so that we can show different results at Junior World Championship.”