2011 Grand Prix Final

Junior Ladies Event


Alexandra Stevenson

Place Skater Country SP FS
1 Julia Lipnitskaia RUS 1 1
2 Polina Shelepen RUS 2 2
3 Polina Korobeynikova RUS 5 3
4 Zijun Li CHN 6 4
5 Vanessa Lam USA 3 5
6 Risa Shoji JPN 4 6

Event Planned Program Content


Starting Order - Short Program
1. Polina Korobeynikova, RUS
2. Zijun Li, CHN
3. Risa Shoji, JPN
4. Vanessa Lam, USA
5. Polina Shelepen, RUS
6. Julia Lipnitskaia, RUS

Start Time: 18:15


Short Program Placements
Place Skater Country
1 Julia Lipnitskaia RUS
2 Polina Shelepen RUS
3 Vanessa Lam USA
4 Risa Shoji JPN
5 Polina Korobeynikova RUS
6 Zijun Li CHN

Julia Lipnitskaia

Starting Order - Free Skating
1. Zijun Li, CHN
2. Polina Korobeynikova, RUS
3. Risa Shoji, JPN
4. Vanessa Lam, USA
5. Polina Shelepen, RUS
6. Julia Lipnitskaia, RUS

Start Time: 18:30


Free Skating Placements
Place Skater Country
1 Julia Lipnitskaia RUS
2 Polina Shelepen RUS
3 Polina Korobeynikova RUS
4 Zijun Li CHN
5 Vanessa Lam USA
6 Risa Shoji JPN

Julia Lipnitskaia

Russian girls took all three medals. It was the fifth such sweep in the Junior Grand Prix final, which was first organized in 1999. The first time skaters from one nation won all three medals at Junior level was in December 2006 when Caroline Zhang won gold, Ashley Wagner took silver and Megan Oster bronze for the US. The following year, American boys, Adam Rippon, Brandon Mroz and Armin Mahbanoozadeh took the top three places and last year, the ice dancers, Ksenia Monko and Kirill Khaliavin, Victoria Sinitsina and Ruslan Zhiganshin, & Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin twizzled away with all the medals. Surprisingly, Russia has never produced a Junior Grand Prix sweep in pairs, although that discipline is pursued by far fewer countries.

The star of this yearís JGP Ladies event, was undoubtedly Julia Lipnitskaia, who showed off incredible flexibility, incorporating split positions into her spins and other moves at every possibility. "I was born with this talent," she said through a translator. Others, who have followed her progress in the skating world in Moscow, said she did have gymnastic training. "She begins everyday stretching "like crazy, like a driven person", according to a noted Russian journalist.

Experts warn that this flexibility comes with a down side and that they are far more likely to suffer dislocations. Also, as they grow and the spine thickens, that these positions get harder to accomplish. In any case, this is skating NOT gymnastics so is it unfair that this talent is, in general, rewarded by the judges?

1.Overall 179.73 Julia Lipnitskaia, Russia. 1.SP 59.98 (33.55+26.43), 1.FS 119.75 (63.51+56.24) Lipnitskaia, who turned 13 on May 6, was born in Ekaterinburg but moved to Moscow. She performed her short program to the classic Russian piece, Dark Eyes, and her Free to Romeo and Juliet. In the last Russian Senior championship, she finished fourth. She will not be eligible for World Seniors until the Olympic season in 2014.

Lipnitskaia won the SP by 4.99 and expanded that lead over her teammate Polina Shelepen to an astonishing 16.39 points. After her SP, Lipnitskaia said, "I can do better than that. For example, the combination (triple toe to triple toe) could have been better. (It received a very minimal negative, -0.10.) And I wobbled on the (Level 3 straight line) footwork (which was awarded Level 3, again with a practically non-existant -0.03 deduction from the base value.) Overall, it wasnít bad. In the Junior Grand Prix (in Italy which she won the SP with a personal best of 63.71) I was technically much better. My first Junior Grand Prix (in Gdansk which she also won) was a little intimidating."

After her Free Skating in Quebec, she got a standing ovation. She said, "I felt such happiness flowing out of me. I wasnít expecting such a response. I am so happy for the two Polinas (who won the silver and bronze) and for myself.

2.Overall 162.34 Polina Shelepen, Russia, 2.SP 54.99 (30.30+24.69), 2.FS 107.35 (58.15+50.20 -1); Shelepen is more experienced that her teammates. She has competed in the last two world junior championships (where she finished 4th and 7th). She won her first two Junior Grand Prix events in 2009 and was second in the Final. But she didnít make the Final last season.

She performed her SP to the soundtrack from Marco Polo. "In the beginning, the first element, I was a little bit worried but the rest of the performance was good." That first element was the combination. The triple Salchow was fine, but the second jump, a triple toe received an arrow, for slight under-rotation. All three spins were Level 4, which was one more than Lipnitskaia, and her Level 3 straight line steps were Level 3 with +0.50."

Her FS was to my placement and overall." The first triple-triple combination, a Lutz to toe earned +0.70 over its base value but she fell on the second jump in her planned triple Salchow to triple toe and her change foot combination spin was only Level 1."

Last season, her coach Eteri Tutberidze told one reporter, "(Shelepen) grew a lot during the winter (of Ď09-Ď10), about 10 centimeters and that affected her." Apparently, she has always been an extremely precocious skater. "At her first competition, when she was six, she did double jumps and finished finished in a competition. The officials refused to believe she was that young and made her mother go home and get her birth certificate!"

3.Overall 151.18 Polina Korobeynikova, Russia, 5. SP 45.24 (21.76+23.48); 3.FS 105.94 (57.31+48.63) All three Russian medalists were initially trained with the same coach, Eteri Tutberidze. But the Korobeynikova family lived on the other side of Moscow. Tutberidze suggested that it would be more sensible to use the hours spent in travel for on ice time closer to home. She is now trained by Viktoria Volchkova, now 29, married to a famous ice hockey player, and expecting their first child. Volchkova, who has passed on her high jumping style to this pupil, was four-times European bronze medalist.

4.Overall 146.53 Zijun Li, China, 6.SP 43.10 (22.38+22.72 -2); 4.FS 103.43 (56.20+47.23)

5.Overall 145.62 Vanessa Lam, US, 3.SP 54.34 (30.45+23.89); 5.FS 91.28 (46.79+47.49 -3) The 16-year-old Lam skated her SP to Con Te Partiro by Francesco Satori gaining positives for all her elements except the triple Lutz which was saddled with an "e" for wrong take-off edge. All three spins were Level 4 and the steps Level 3. She said at that point, "I was pacing the performance and felt I presented the program well. I really worked on my transitions and they felt better here. Iím pleased to earn my seasonís best here."

She performed her FS to Rachmaninovís Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini. But, it was apparent right from the start, that the enormity of being in third place had got to her. She fell three times. She explained, "I was over-cautious going into the (triple) Lutz (and falling). I redeemed my footing for the next few elements but my timing was off again for the (triple) loop (where she again fell) and I didnít regain my footing after that." She also fell on her second triple Lutz towards the end. That brought her down to fifth place in this section and overall. But that was still 10.27 points ahead of the Japanese competitor who had been fourth but dropped to sixth overall, and had Grand Prix Final experience.

Her coach, former world champion Dianne de Leeuw said that wonít happen again. "She is a very good learner. She will definitely learn from this experience. She got overwhelmed by the enormity of the moment but that wonít happen again."

6.Overall 134.35 Risa Shoji, Japan, 4.SP 51.53 (27.30+24.23); 6.82.82 (37.35+46.47 -1.0)


2011 Grand Prix Final Junior Ladies Medalists

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