Russian juniors dominate at home Grand Prix Final

Alexandra Stepanova and Andrei Bukin

Russians Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin danced to a strong lead in the short dance at the Junior Grand Prix Final in Sochi. France’s Gabriella Papadakis/Guilleaume Cizeron came second ahead of Anna Yanovskaya/Sergey Mozgov of Russia.

Stepanova/Bukin put out a lively routine to Swing, Blues and Swing. They picked up a level four for the twizzles, the lift and one Blues pattern to score a seasons best of 61.18 points. “We have worked a lot in the break since the Junior Grand Prix in Germany, especially on the compulsory dance. It felt calm to skate here. The audience received us very well. Last year I probably was too nervous, but now I am approaching everything calmer and it is going better. I think I worked a lot on myself in the past year.” Bukin commented at press conference.

Papadakis/Cizeron‘s dance to Swing and Blues featured level-four twizzles and a level-four lift while the Blues patterns were graded a level one and two. The couple from Lyon earned 54.79 points. “We skated well although had several minor mistakes. We are skating at the (Grand Prix) Final for the first time, and that fact is already a victory for us. We have been training for a long time and we’ve made progress.” Papadakis told the press.

Dancing to Blues and Swing, Yanovskaya/Mozgov completed a solid Blues pattern dance with a level four and three as well as a level-four rotational lift. The Youth Olympic Champions collected 53.03 points. “We changed our music and the order of our short dance – that was our coaches’ wish. And we like the second version more. Now it looks better in terms of music and choreography.” Mozgov commented.

In ladies, Russia’s Elena Radionova edged out Hannah Miller (USA) for the lead in the junior ladies short program. Anna Pogorilaya of Russia is sitting in third place.

Radionova opened her program to “The Fifth Element” with a triple Lutz-triple toe followed by a triple flip that got an edge call. Her three spins and the footwork merited a level four, but the Muscovite stepped out of the double Axel. “Today not everything worked out. I made an error on the double Axel. It was a mistake in the jump itself. I hope to skate better in the free skating,” she said. “The most important for me is to please the audience and the score then depends on the judges. I want to be consistent and to perform well no matter what. Today for example my music started five seconds late and I had to catch up with it. I am pleased that this didn’t affect me.” Radionova added.

Miller‘s “Tanguera” Tango routine featured a double Axel, a triple flip, triple loop-double loop combination and three level-four spins as well as level-four footwork. The 16-year-old received 59.18 points, a new seasons’ best. “I am very excited, I worked so hard for this, just doing the program over and over. I think I put out the best program I could. We moved combination to the second half, because it is worth a bit more points. And we put double Axel in the beginning because it is a really strong jump and it goes well with the music there.” Miller told.

Pogorilaya hit a triple Lutz-triple toe, a triple flip (with an edge call), double Axel and three level-four spins in her program to “Songs from the Victorious City”, but she slipped in the straight line footwork. The Muscovite picked up a seasons best score with 57.94 points. “I’m trembling now. I was ill before, and this is my first season after the injury. It’s unbelievable to be in the final,” the 14-year-old commented. “There was a mistake in the step sequence, and that is upsetting. But I’ve done the hardest jump and my main aim of the short program – triple Lutz – tirple toe loop. I’ve increased the difficulty in the short program, because everybody has it and without the lutz toe loop I would have no chances.” she continued.

In pair skating, Russia’s Lina Fedorova/Maxim Miroshkin ( 54.37) took the lead in the junior pairs short program. Canadians Margaret Purdy/Michael Marinaro (51.83) edged out Vasilisa Davankova/Andrei Deputat (51.34) of Russia by 0.49 points for second place.

In men’s competitions, Joshua Farris (USA) won the short program with 74.53 points. Maxim Kovtun (72.53) of Russia and USA’s Jason Brown (69.43) follow in second and third.

Photo: official VKontakte page of Alexandra Stepanova

Information from ISU was used in this report.

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