Sofia Shevchenko/Igor Eremenko of Russia clinched a narrow lead as the competition opened with the Junior Rhythm Dance in Vancouver (CAN) on Thursday. Their teammates Arina Ushakova/Maxim Nekrasov and Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva/Nikita Nazarov follow in second and third.
Sofia Shevchenko and Igor Eremenko (RUS) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
Dancing to “La Cumparsita”, Shevchenko/Eremenko picked up a level four for the twizzles and the lift as well as a level three for the circular step sequence and the first Argentine Tango sequence. The team from Moscow set a new season’s best with 67.73 points. “It is a high score and this is our record (seasons best). We are very happy. And we deserved it,” Shevchenko said. The skaters felt the support of their team- and training mates Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin. “We really happy that they were cheering for us. Even during the warm-up before going on the ice and during the training, we had a feeling of being at home,” Shevchenko explained.
Arina Ushakova and Maxim Nekrasov (RUS) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
Ushakova/Nekrasov’s performance to a modern arrangement of “Libertango” and a Flamenco featured level-four twizzles, a level-four rotational lift and Argentine Tango sequence. The World Junior bronze medalists earned 67.49 points. “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,” Ushakova commented. “Tomorrow is another day. The main battle will happen tomorrow,” she added.
Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva and Nikita Nazarov (RUS) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
Khudaiberdieva/Nazarov turned in a strong performance to “Tango Amore” by Edvin Marton as well, posting a season’s best of 66.29 points. “It is amazing, I am in complete awe,” Khudaiberdieva said about competing in their first Junior Final. “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,” she continued.
Majorie Lajoie/Zachary Lagha (CAN) remain close to the podium in fourth place on 66.25 points. Avonley Ngyuen/Vadym Kolesnik (USA) finished fifth (63.73 points) and Marina Kazakova/Georgy Reviya (GEO) came sixth (57.51 points).