Barcelona / Spain

The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final and ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final opened Thursday in Barcelona (ESP) with the Junior Short Programs and Junior Short Dance. The Pairs and Ladies Short Programs will follow. Spain hosts the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final for the first time.

Evgenia Medvedeva (RUS) takes Junior Ladies Short Program

Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia took the Junior Ladies Short Program, followed by her teammate Serafima Sakhanovich. Japan’s Yuka Nagai is currently ranked third.

Performing to “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg”, Medvedeva produced a double Axel, triple flip-triple toe combination, triple Lutz and three level-four spins as well as level-four footwork. The double or triple Lutz is the required solo jump in the Junior Short Program. The defending Junior Grand Prix Final bronze medalist posted a new personal best of 67.09 points. “In this season I have moved three jump elements to the second half while in the past season I had two elements in the second half. I think I am upping the ante. I think I did very well today, but the scores depend on the judges”, the World Junior bronze medalist explained.

Sakahnovich’s program to “My Sweet and Tender Beast” featured a triple flip-triple toe, triple Lutz and double Axel as well as two level-four spins. The World Junior silver medalist scored 66.05 points.

“I am basically pleased, just the spin was a level three. The last spin cost me. I am never nervous in competition, today I was a tiny little bit nervous. My goal is as always to be on the top of the podium and to skate clean both programs. I already fulfilled half of that”, the 14-year-old said.

Nagai completed a triple toe-triple toe combination, a triple Lutz, double Axel as well as a level-four combination spin and level-four step sequence to earn 62.99 points, a personal best score. “I was very surprised how well I skated. I really enjoyed this skate from the first moment to the last. In training I was nervous and I couldn’t do my best, but today I did almost my very best and I have been improving”, the 16-year-old noted.

Defending Junior Grand Prix Final Champion Maria Sotskova (RUS) is sitting in fourth at 62.28 points. Wakaba Higuchi (JPN) finished fifth (60.37 points) followed by Miyu Nakashio (JPN) with 51.74 points. 

Anna Yanovskaya/Sergey Mozgov (RUS) lead in Junior Short Dance

Anna Yanovskaya/Sergey Mozgov led a Russian sweep in the Junior Short Dance. Alla Loboda/Pavel Drozd are standing in second place and Betina Popova/Yuri Vlasenko came in third.

Yanovkaya/Mozgov’s dance to Samba and Rhumba was highlighted by a straight line lift and a smooth Samba pattern. The World Junior silver medalists picked up a level four for the lift, a level three for the twizzles and one Samba pattern, while the other Samba pattern and the circular footwork were rated a level two. The reigning ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champions scored 59.12 points. “We didn’t do everything as we had planned. The score is still a seasons best, so we improved, which was the goal. It is always a little more difficult when you are the leader than chasing others. But what we didn’t do today, we’ll do tomorrow. The free dance is our favorite program”, Yanovskaya told the press.

Loboda/Drozd turned in a solid dance to Samba and Rhumba rhythms to earn the same levels as the leaders. The couple from Moscow scored 53.72 points. “This was an amazing unexpected success for us. It’s been an ambition from the start to keep pushing forward and we’ve managed that today. Tomorrow we want to go out and get as much pleasure from our skate as we did today. We want to spend the three (and half) minutes to tell the story of our free dance”, Drozd commented.

Popova/Vlasenko produced a level-four rotational lift in their performance to Cha Cha and Samba, but the other elements garnered only level ones and twos.  The Muscovites received 50.52 points. “We aren’t too happy with our levels, today our technical scores were not as good, but the scores are the scores and we have to work harder”, Vlasenko noted.

Mackenzie Bent/Garrett MacKeen (CAN) placed fourth with 49.28 points followed by Madeline Edwards/Zhao Kai Pang (CAN) with 47.60 points and Daria Morozova/Mikhail Zhirnov (RUS/46.99 points)

Sota Yamamoto wins Junior Men Short Program

Sota Yamamoto of Japan won the Junior Men’s Short Program. Boyang Jin of China placed second and Japan’s Shoma Uno is standing in third.

Yamamoto delivered a flawless performance to Sergei Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2, reeling off a triple Axel, triple flip-triple toe as well as a triple Lutz and picked up a level four for two spins. Yamamoto posted a personal best of 76.14 points.” I feel very satisfied and happy because I landed the triple Axel. I’ve been practising it since last season and today’s the first time I succeeded (in competition). I’ll be doing it again tomorrow in the long program. I don’t think about being first. It’s just good to know I succeeded”, the 14-year-old commented.

Jin’s short program to “Tango Amore” by Edvin Marton included a triple Axel, triple flip-triple toe and triple Lutz as well as a level four combination and change sit spin. The defending ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champion scored 75.30 points, a seasons best. “My three jump elements were good, but my spins could have been better. Tomorrow I want to do three quads in the long program. Although the quad is important, it is not the only important thing. There is no quad in the (junior) short program and I still need to improve the performance aspect”, Jin noted.

Skating to Kreutzer’s Violin Sonata No. 9, Uno landed a triple Lutz and triple flip-triple toe combination but he stepped out of the triple Axel. The 16-year-old earned 75.21 points. “I’m asking myself what happened.  I think it was so-so, but I regretted missing the triple Axel.  So tomorrow I want to make up for it. Tomorrow I would like to do a quad”, Uno said.

Alexander Petrov (RUS) is ranked fourth at 70.07 points. June Hyoung Lee (KOR) follows in fifth with 57.42 points and Roman Sadovsky (CAN) is sitting in sixth place at 56.98 points.

Julianne Seguin/Charlie Bilodeau capture Junior Pairs Short Program

Canadians Julianne Seguin/Charlie Bilodeau captured the Pairs Short Program, edging out Lina Federova/ Maxim Miroshkin of Russia by 0.18 points. Russia’s Maria Vigalova/Egor Zakroev finished third.

Seguin/Bilodeau’s program to “The Grand Budapest Hotel” featured a triple twist, throw triple loop and solid side by side double Lutz. The double Lutz and the throw loop are required elements in the Junior Pairs Short Program. The Canadians picked up a level four for all elements including the twist to score 59.22 points. “We did what we were doing at home so we’re feeling really good”, Seguin said. “We liked it (this music) because it’s out of the box. You don’t hear this kind of thing often. We can play a big character because that’s what the movie’s about, a big character”, Bilodeau added.

Skating to “Feeling Good”, Fedorova/Miroshkin produced a big triple twist, throw triple loop and had a level four for five elements as well. The 2013 World Junior bronze medalists picked up a personal best with 59.04 points. “It was not bad, but it could have been better. Now we have something to work towards. At the beginning of season we added some things and tidied up some elements, so I think the program is now quite complete”, Fedorova noted.

Vigalova/Zakroev completed a high triple twist throw triple loop and four level-four elements in their routine to “The Messiah Will Come Again” by Gary Moore to earn 57.41 points.  “We forgot the nerves when we started to skate and just focused on the job. We had a few mistakes; some were small and maybe not visible. We have very good programs and there is still tomorrow”, Zakroev shared.

Daria Beklemisheva/Maxim Bobrov (RUS) came fourth with 48.61 points. Kamilla Gainetdinova/Sergei Alexeev (RUS) are sitting in fifth with 46.59 points and Chelsea Liu/Brian Johnson (USA) placed sixth (39.05 points).

The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final and Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final continues this evening with the Pair Skating and Ladies Short Program.