We take a quick look back at what happened in the world of skating over the course of the past week.
Junior Grand Prix Concludes In Croatia
Eight weeks and seven cities later, the ISU Junior Grand Prix Series of Figure Skating 2015/2016 reached its climax this weekend in Zagreb, Croatia where the final places for the Junior Grand Prix Final were on the line. There were two spots left to be claimed in the ladies’ category with the two Japanese skaters competing inside the Dom Sportova looking set to lay claim to them. All Marin Honda needed to do was medal as she had already taken silver in Colorado Springs. Despite doubling a triple flip in her short programme, the 14 year old still managed to place herself third going into the free skating. Honda had the skate of her short career setting a personal best of 123.30 for her flawless routine which lifted her up to victory with a total of 181.22. Her victory thwarted the chances of teammate Wakaba Higuchi who needed nothing less than a win if she was to qualify for Barcelona. In the end, a singled triple flip in the free proved to be very costly and meant that the World Junior bronze medallist missed out on making a second trip to Spain in December. Higuchi finished second with a total of 175.06. Russia’s Diana Pervushkina took bronze with a combined score of 153.23.
There were four teams vying for the remaining two ice dance final berths in Zagreb. Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons from America claimed their second gold of the series quite comfortably racking up personal bests in both phases of the event to win with an overall score score of 160.79. Naturally, this also put them through to the Junior Grand Prix Final in two months time. They will be joined in Barcelona by Anastasia Skoptcova and Kirill Aleshin from Russia who finished second on 148.75. Sofia Shevchenko and Igor Eremenko from Russia who came third on 143.87 and Angelique Abachkina and Louis Thauron from France who ended in fourth came up short.
The men’s event was won by Russia’s Alexander Samarin who came from second place after the short to snatch his first Junior Grand Prix title on his fourth season on the circuit. Nicolas Nadeau from Canada dropped down to second after leading following the short, but still nabbed the first international medal of his career. Tomoki Hiwatashi from the United States finished third. He Zhang from China was the only man skating in the Croatian capital who had a statistical chance of qualifying for the final. Zhang required a win, but unfortunately he fell short and came fourth.
Junior Grand Prix Final Qualifiers List Complete
With all seven events of this year’s Junior Grand Prix Series finished, the qualifiers for the Junior Grand Prix Final Barcelona, Spain in December are as follows:
Nathan Chen (USA)
Dmitri Aliev (RUS)
Sota Yamamoto (JPN)
Roman Sadovsky (CAN)
Daniel Samohin (ISR)
Vincent Zhou (USA)
Polina Tsurskaya (RUS)
Maria Sotskova (RUS)
Yuna Shiraiwa (JPN)
Marin Honda (JPN)
Mai Mihara (JPN)
Alisa Fedichkina (RUS)
Amina Atakhanova/Ilia Spiridonov (RUS)
Renata Oganesian/Mark Bardei (UKR)
Ekaterina Borisova/Dmitry Sopot (RUS)
Anastasia Gubanova/Alexei Sintsov (RUS)
Anna Duskova/Martin Bidar (CZE)
Anastasia Poluianova/Stepan Korotkov (RUS)
Lorraine McNamara/Quinn Carpenter (USA)
Rachel Parsons/Michael Parsons (USA)
Alla Loboda/Pavel Drozd (RUS)
Betina Popova/Yuri Vlasenko (RUS)
Marie-Jade Lauriault/Romain Le Gac (FRA)
Anastasia Skoptcova/Kirill Aleshin (RUS)
Kostner Cleared To Compete
A deal struck between Carolina Kostner and anti-doping authorities in Italy has drawn a line under the affair that had cast a shadow over the 2014 Olympic bronze medallist’s career. From 1 January 2016, the Italian will once again be able to skate in competitions after a ban of 21 months was backdated to the 2014 World Championships where she won the bronze medal. Kostner received the suspension for not revealing to drug testers in 2012 that her boyfriend at the time, 2008 Olympic 50km race walk gold medallist Alex Schwazer, was present at her home in Oberstdorf, Germany when they called to test him. She has also agreed to act as a spokesperson for anti-doping projects.
Weaver/Poje, Menshov and Hongo Win At Finlandia Trophy
Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje started their season with a win at this weekend’s Finlandia Trophy in Espoo. The reigning bronze medallists took the lead in the short dance with an Elvis Presley medley and, despite a big stumble by Poje on a twizzle in the free dance and a low score of 96.54, were easily able to win their first Finlandia Trophy title with a total of 161.67. The new team of Isabella Tobias and Ilia Tkachenko made a very promising debut representing Israel to net the silver medal with 150.89 points. Denmark’s Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sorensen took the bronze with 147.65.
At the ripe old age of 32, Konstantin Menshov won his first Finlandia Trophy title by coming second in both the short programme and free skating. The Russian landed two quads in his free to “Mad World” and “Radioactive” and ended up with a total of 230.10. Adam Rippon was first in the free, but had too much to make up after the short and had to be content with a silver to match his hair. It was a nightmare seventh for Sergei Voronov in the free, but he just managed to scrape through with a bronze by virtue of his winning short.
Japanese ladies ruled this weekend worldwide with Rika Hongo raising the roof of the Barona Areena during her “Riverdance” free. The 2015 Four Continents bronze medallist extended her lead from the short to win with a total of 187.45. Julia Lipnitskaia struggled after a promising start in her free to come in second on 172.33 and Joshi Helgesson finished third on 164.28.
Grand Prix Assignments Update
Misha Ge (UZB) announced that he would be unable to participate in the Trophee Eric Bompard next month due to visa issues.
Grant Hochstein (USA) has been added to the roster at NHK Trophy, while Miriam Ziegler and Severin Kiefer (AUT) will participate at Trophee Eric Bompard.
Madeline Aaron and Max Settlage (USA) have been forced to withdraw from Cup of China due to injury.