13 Predictions for 2013: Elena Radionova wins World Junior Championships
By Kitty Xie
Prediction № 1: Russia’s Elena Radionova’s precocious expressiveness and total confidence are putting her on the right track to dominate the 2013 World Junior Championships.
Then a diminutive twelve-year-old from Moscow, Elena Radionova made a splash at the 2012 Russian Championships with an impressive fifth-place finish ahead of seasoned countrywomen Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and Polina Shelepen.
By the start of the 2012-2013 season, Radionova was age-eligible for ISU junior competitions, winning her Junior Grand Prix assignments in France and Austria by nearly thirty points each. At the JGP Final, she punctuated her dramatic entrance onto the international scene with an indisputable victory, thus concluding her first Junior Grand Prix circuit with a golden three-for-three streak—a feat unmatched even by 2010 Olympic champion Yuna Kim.
Radionova, dubbed a “wunderkind,” sparked enthusiasm with her advanced technical content and an artistry uncommon for her age and level. The opening element of her short program, a triple lutz-triple toe loop combination, is considered the hardest jumping sequence in ladies’ skating.
In this respect, she closely resembles reigning World Junior champion Julia Lipnitskaia, another young, balletic Russian who will most likely return to defend her crown. Lipnitskaia, who has been out of competition since early December due to a training-related concussion, has faced criticism for her immature interpretation—the very field in which Radionova, energetic and expressive, excels completely.
At the age of thirteen, Radionova placed second at the 2013 Russian Championships, surpassing a formidable field that included reigning Russian champion Adelina Sotnikova and Worlds silver medalist Alena Leonova.
Though too young to represent Russia at either the 2013 European Championships or the 2013 World Championships, Radionova will surely repeat her Grand Prix success and dominate the competition at the 2013 World Junior Championships, to be held from February 25th to March 3rd in Milan, Italy.
Photo: The Examiner