That Was The Week That Was In Figure Skating (24-30 August 2015)

Here is where we take a quick look back at what happened in the world of skating over the course of the past week.

Round Two For Junior Grand Prix

The Junior Grand Prix Series moved on to Riga, Latvia, but some things remained the same as the previous week. Maria Sotskova from Russia bagged that nation’s second ladies title of the season with a comprehensive victory and, just as in Bratislava, a Japanese skater took silver. Kaori Sakamoto finished just over two points ahead of Da Bin Choi from South Korea who claimed the bronze. Alina Fedichkina of Russia had been leading after the short programme, but she struggled in the second half of her free skating and dropped down to 4th place overall. Highly fancied newcomer Yuna Aoki had a very disappointing competition and wound up 7th.

Dmitri Aliev from Russia had been only lying in 6th after the short, but he successfully landed a quadruple toe loop and two triple Axels in his free to win the title. Local favourite Deniss Vassiljevs was sitting in 1st place after the short. He came undone on a triple Axel in the free and had to be content with silver. Alexei Krasnozhon from the United States rounded out the podium.

Russia captured a third title in Riga with Betina Popova and Yuri Vlasenko dominating the ice dance event from start to finish. Angelique Abachkina and Louis Thauron from France picked up the silver and Sofia Evdokimova and Egor Bazin from Russia the bronze. There was also a familiar surname in competition. Anthony Ponomarenko is the son of 1992 Olympic ice dance champions Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomarenko and he finished 4th in Riga representing the United States with his partner Christina Carreira.

The first pairs competition of this year’s series also took place and it was won by Renata Oganesian and Mark Bardei from Ukraine. This was the first gold medal at a Junior Grand Prix for Ukraine since 2003 and their first in pairs since 1999. Russian couples Anastasia Poluianova and Stepan Korotkov and Ekaterina Borisova and Dmitri Sopot took silver and bronze respectively.

The Junior Grand Prix Series moves on this week to Colorado Springs, United States of America.

Career Finish For Korpi

As had been widely predicted, Kiira Korpi announced her retirement from competitive skating on 27 August. The Finn told the assembled media that she had made the decision in July as she had been grappling with her motivation for the coming season. She was five times national champion, a two-time Grand Prix medallist and took home a silver and two bronzes from the European Championships in an era of intense competition domestically in what was a golden age for Finnish figure skating. The latter part of her career was dogged by injury. She had made a comeback last season, but was forced to withdraw after the short programme at the European Championships with stomach flu and at the World Championships she failed to qualify for the free skating. Korpi plans to continue skating in shows and will move to Milan, Italy with her boyfriend who is based there.

Synchro To Debut At Grand Prix Final

The International Skating Union (ISU) has included a synchronised skating event in this season’s Grand Prix Final in Barcelona, Spain. The top five teams from the 2015 World Synchronized Skating Championships will contest a free skating only. Currently, teams Canada, Finland, Russia, Sweden and the United States are slated to make the trip to Barcelona with Germany, Japan and Italy listed as substitutes. Earlier this year, synchronised skating failed to gain inclusion for the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

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