The favorites prevailed at the Cup of Austria in Linz, the second event of the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating series, with all champions having won Junior Grand Prix events in the past season.
Austria is a lucky charm for Camden Pulkinen (USA)
Koshiro Shimada (JPN) and Camden Pulkinen (USA) 2018 ©International Skating Union (ISU)
Austria is a lucky charm for Camden Pulkinen (USA), who took the second Junior Grand Prix gold medal of his career in Linz. A year ago, he had won in Salzburg. Koshiro Shimada of Japan earned the silver medal, his second Junior Grand Prix medal since a bronze in 2016. Russia’s Roman Savosin, an experienced competitor on the Junior Grand Prix, claimed the bronze.
Pulkinen, who stood in second place following the Short Program as he had fallen on the triple Lutz-triple toe combination, put out a strong Free Skating to “Westside Story” that featured two triple Axels and six other triple jumps as well as two level-four spins. The ISU Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalist totaled 223.95 points. The 18-year-old said, that he felt “Complete. This is what it is about for me this season. Last season I often had the problem of showing one good and one bad program. I worked on this a lot and here I did two good programs. So I think you can see more often two good programs of me,” Pulkinen said. He plans on including a quadruple toeloop in his second event in Ostrava (CZE).
Shimada turned in two clean performances and pulled up from third to second with 220.45 points. Savosin ranked fourth after the Short Program after he underrotated the triple Axel. He also underrotated his quad toeloop in the Free Skating, but nevertheless moved up one spot at 211.10 points. Conrad Orzel (CAN) led after the Short Program but dropped to fourth after some errors.
Daniel Grassl (ITA), the bronze medalist of Bratislava last week, came fifth.
Alena Kostornaia (RUS) dominates in Linz
Russia’s Alena Kostornaia dominated the Junior Ladies, taking the title with almost 12 points to spare. Her team-mate Alena Kanysheva earned the silver in what was her debut at the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating. The bronze went to Shiika Yoshioka of Japan.
Kostornaia skated to the lead with an excellent Short Program. The World Junior silver medalist impressed again in the Free Skating with her expressive and exquisite performance to “Romeo and Juliet”, nailing seven triples including two triple-triple combinations and beautiful spins. She scored 203.50 points.
“Overall I am pleased with my peformances, but I could have done some elements better, even a lot better, and I’m trying to bringing everything to perfection in the course of the season,” Kostornaia commented. “I’ll try to include the triple Axel maybe for the (ISU Junior) Grand Prix Final. Right now it is not very consistent, but I hope to get in good shape,” the 15-year-old added.
13-year-old Kanysheva produced two clean and technically difficult performances as well to earn 191.84 points. Yoshioka, 15, who like Kanysheva debuted on the junior circuit, underrotated a triple toe in the Short and a triple Salchow in the Free Program, but made no major errors and collected 169.82 points.
Kostiukovich/Ialin lead next Russian pairs sweep
The Russian Pairs once more demonstrated their strength and swept the podium like in Bratislava a week before. Polina Kostiukovich/Dmitri Ialin from St. Petersburg celebrated a clear victory with 180.59 points followed by Anastasia Poluianova/Dmitry Sopot from Perm (166.11) and
Alina Pepeleva/Roman Pleshkov from Moscow (158.40 points).
Kostiukovich/Ialin won the Short Program, but were not happy with the quality of some of their elements, notably the wobbly throw triple Salchow and the side by side combination spin. Their Free Skating to “Xotica – Journey to the Heart” not only was technically strong with a big triple twist, a triple Salchow-Euler-triple Salchow combination and innovative lifts, but also featured interesting and unusual choreography. The only glitch was an underrotated triple toe.
“For the first competition, I’d rate our performances as satisfying,” Ialin said. “I was not happy at all with the short program, because we didn’t do the last three elements well – the death spiral, the footwork and the spin. We’ve worked a lot on them in the past month. As for the free skating, I am pleased that we were able to pull ourselves together, it was not easy. We still have a lot to improve, but overall I feel that we have become more confident and liberated in our skating,” he added.
Poluianova/Sopot ranked third in the Short Program after he lost balance in the side by side spin and aborted it. Their Free Skating was clean with triple throws and a triple toe-double toe combination.
Competing in their first Junior Grand Prix event, Pepeleva/Pleshkov were fourth in the Short Program after two errors, but pulled up with the Free Skating that was highlighted by their throw jumps.
Laiken Lockley/Keenan Prochnow (USA) dropped from second to fourth as they made a few mistakes.
Shevchenko/Eremenko (RUS) dance off with gold
Sofia Shevchenko/Igor Eremenko of Russia beat close rivals Canadians
Majorie Lajoie/Zachary Lagha for the Ice Dance gold medal. The bronze went to Russia’s
Eva Kuts/Dmitrii Mikhailov (RUS) 1. Medal JGP
Shevchenko/Eremenko edged the Canadians in the Tango Rhythm Dance with a strong performance to “La Cumparsita”, earning a level four for the twizzles and the lift as well as a level three for the Argentine Tango Pattern and the circular footwork. The team from Moscow built on their lead in their Free Dance set to “Intro” by Onuka, “Witchdoctor” by Camo & Krooked and “Lijo” by Alina Orlova. They completed a level-four lift and spin with most of the other elements meriting a level three. The ISU Junior Grand Prix Finalists accumulated 158.70 points.
"We are happy to start our season with a gold medal. Our Rhythm Dance was quite emotional and we skated it with a smile,” Shevchenko said. “Before the free dance we were more excited, but also more nervous because we have many new elements and a difficult program."
Lajoie/Lagha remained in second place with their Free Dance to “Warsaw Concerto” and 153.79 points. The team from Montreal lost a few points as three elements got a level two and they didn’t get credit for their choreo step sequence.
Kuts/Mikhailov claimed the first Junior Grand Prix medal with solid performances and 142.97 points.
Overall, 108 skaters and couples from 33 ISU members competed in the Cup of Austria: 22 Junior Men, 34 Junior Ladies, 13 Junior Pairs and 13 Junior Ice Dance couples. The ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series continues next week in Kaunas (LTU). Full entry lists, results, the General Announcement of the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series are available on isu.org.
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