Here’s a short recap of what happened in the past week in the world of figure skating.
Testing Time For Russian Skaters
In contrast to the American and Canadian skaters who have their test skates in front of their federation officials held completely behind closed doors, over the weekend a sizable portion of the Russian team took part in an open session to get feedback on their new programmes. While Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov were notable absentees, fellow Sochi Olympic gold medallists Adelina Sotnikova and Julia Lipnitskaia each presented a programme. Continuing their comeback from injury, Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov skated both their programmes. Elena Radionova, Alena Leonova and Elizaveta Tuktamysheva were among the ladies showing off their new routines, as did Konstantin Menshov, Sergei Voronov and Artur Gachinski on the men’s side. New pairs Vera Bazarova and Andrei Deputat and Vasilisa Davankova and Alexander Enbert both made an appearance.
Canada Triple Gold at Junior Grand Prix
This weekend’s ISU Junior Grand Prix in Ostrava, Czech Republic was dominated by Team Canada who took three of the four titles that were up for grabs. In the first pairs event of this year’s series, Julianne Seguin and Charlie Bilodeau coasted to victory by over six points. Lina Fedorova and Maxim Miroshkin from Russia took silver with their compatriots Kamilla Gainetdinova and Sergei Alexeev scooping bronze. Just seven pairs from four countries (Canada, Russia, USA and Japan) participated which is a concern for the future of the discipline.
Mackenzie Bent and Garrett Mackeen bagged the second of the golds for Canada and it was their second JGP title of their career. Betina Popova and Yuri Vlasenko from Russia and Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter from the United States finished second and third respectively. Predictably teams from the powerhouses of Canada, Russia and the USA occupied the top six places, but it was interesting to see couples from Armenia, Kazakhstan, Great Britain and Austria filling out the top ten.
The hat trick of Canadian golds was completed by Roman Sadovsky who held on to his lead from the short despite only coming third in the free. Alexander Samarin improved on his third place in Courchevel two weeks ago to come second here which gives the Russian an outside shot at making the JGP Final. The bronze went to Japan’s Sei Kawahara.
Evgenia Medvedeva from Russia became the first skater to book her place in the JGP Final in Barcelona in December when she captured her second title of the season. The World Junior bronze medallist has now qualified for two consecutive Finals. After only coming fifth in the short, Wakaba Higuchi of Japan vaulted up to second to take her first JGP medal ever. American Karen Chen had a disappointing free skate and dropped down from first after the short to bronze overall. This is the third week in a row that Russia, Japan and the USA have made up the ladies podium in that order.
Mao Tops Popularity Poll
This week Mao Asada was named the most admired sportsperson in Japan. In a Mainichi Shimbun newspaper survey, the three-time World champion pipped baseball and soccer players in the affections of the Japanese public.
It was also announced on the 2 September that TV Asahi had purchased exclusive broadcasting rights to the Finlandia Trophy next month. The event will be headlined by Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu.
Liebers Bows Out Of First Grand Prix
Peter Liebers has had to pull out of his first Grand Prix assignment, Cup of China, after sustaining an injury. The German hopes to fit in time to skate at NHK Trophy.
Meanwhile, Madeline Aaron and her partner Max Settlage received a place on the pairs roster at their home Grand Prix Skate America. Both Miriam Ziegler and Severin Kiefer from Austria and Rebeka Kim and Kirill Minov from Korea were added to the list entries in the pairs and ice dance categories respectively at the Trophee Eric Bompard.