That Was The Week That Was In Figure Skating (31 August – 6 September 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.

Junior Scales The Heights In Colorado

The Junior Grand Prix Series took a detour for its only stop outside Europe at the home of American figure skating in Colorado Springs. Without a shadow of a doubt, the revelation of the event was the performance by Nathan Chen. The 16 year old won his fourth Junior Grand Prix title of his career with a consummate display of technical skills that belied his age. In fact, with two quads and two triple Axels in his free skating routine, once U.S. Nationals rolls around in January he could very well be standing on top of the podium there as well. His total score of 236.76 was naturally a new personal best. Another promising youngster who medalled in Colorado Springs was Daniel Samohin. The Israeli included three quads in his free (albeit with a fall on a Salchow) to rocket up from 7th after the short to capture the silver medal. Junior World bronze medallist Sota Yamamoto struggled in both programmes and wound up in third place overall.

Incredibly, the last time a Russian lady failed to make the podium at a Junior Grand Prix was in September 2013 and that competition in Minsk, Belarus was the only time it happened during that series. In Colorado Springs, it was the Japanese who dominated taking the top two spots on the podium. Yuna Shiraiwa was in 5th after the short and, despite a fall on a triple Lutz, coped better than most with the high altitude conditions to win on her Junior Grand Prix debut. Much of the attention had been on Marin Honda whose older brother Taichi is also a figure skater and younger sister Miyu a famous child actor in Japan. Honda was in the lead after the short, but faltered in the free to slip down to second. Vivian Le backed up her bronze from Bratislava with another one this weekend in Colorado Springs.

Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter annihilated the opposition in the ice dance event with impressive scores in both the short and free dances. The Americans won by over 26 points. Newly formed team Mackenzie Bent and Dmitre Razgulajevs from Canada bagged silver with Sofia Polishchuk and Alexander Vakhnov from Russia claiming bronze on their Junior Grand Prix debuts.

In their third season together, Anastasia Gubanova and Alexei Sintsov from Russia came from behind after the short to clasp their first title of any description. Joy Weinberg and Maximiliano Fernandez had been in pole position going into the free, but couldn’t keep up with the Russians technically. The podium was rounded out by another Russian pair, Elena Ivanova and Tagir Khakimov.

The Junior Grand Prix Series moves on this week to Linz, Austria.

Raya Makes A Move

Javier Raya announced this week that he would be making the move to Toronto to train on a permanent Brian Orser and Tracy Wilson at the Cricket Club. He will join his fellow Spaniard and World champion Javier Fernandez who has been under the tutelage of the same coaching team since 2011. Most of the Spanish national team have now relocated to Canda with ladies champion Sonia Lafuente also based in Toronto, while ice dancers Sara Hurtado and Adria Diaz are part of Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon’s group in Montreal.

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