Yikes—all these “pre-season” events are getting tough to keep up with! Sorry for the delays, but I’m trying to catch as many medal and/or U.S. performances as I can… this past week, with two events in play, that added up to over two dozen. In any case, I’m trying to get back to at least 2 posts a week ASAP, especially since I’ll want to be up to around 4 a week by the time the Senior GP starts.
Speaking of Grand Prix events, here are some results and notes from last week’s junior entry in Brasov, Romania (Nebelhorn Trophy follows further down):
GOLD- Maxim Kovtun, RUS
SILVER- Ryuju Hino, JPN
BRONZE- Nam Nguyen, CAN
Kovtun gets Russia its first men’s gold medal of the JGP, while Hino (who won in Latvia a few weeks ago) settled for silver here. Nguyen, the reigning Canadian Junior champ, is all of 13 years old, and all of 4’11” to boot… get ready, he might be around for a good long time. For the U.S., Shotaro Omori came in 4th, while Harrison Choate finished 6th.
GOLD- Polina Shelepen, RUS
SILVER- Polina Korobeynikova, RUS
BRONZE- Hae-Jin Kim, KOR
So apparently the name “Polina” became as popular in Russia in the mid-90s as “Madison” and “Hannah” have become in the U.S. these days. Shelepen you may have seen before; she was the JGP Final silver medalist last year and now has two gold medals from this season. Korobeynikova is the third “Polina” to medal on the JGP circuit this season; unfortunately I’ll remember her for using Otonal for her FS more than anything else. (Sorry; not a fan of Otonal.) Ashley Cain, who came in 6th for the U.S. in Latvia, managed 4th place here, while international newcomer McKinzie Daniels (who I had the pleasure of seeing perform live way back in 2006) finished 10th.
GOLD- Stepanova/Bukin, RUS
SILVER- Galyeta/Shumski, UKR
BRONZE- Bent/MacKeen, CAN
Stepanova/Bukin, frankly, had me at the opening notes of their FD (a string version of Paul McCartney & Wings’ “Live and Let Die,” which I’ve long thought to be one of the best pop songs a skater could use). It’s worth a mention too that Canada’s Bent/MacKeen dance to music from South Pacific, which I thought to be a unique (and good) choice. In 4th place was Hawayek/Bramante of the U.S.; didn’t recognize their music but they had interesting and creative lifts, good speed on their dance spin, and an overall nice “dance quality” (must use the quotes since I’m no expert).
Next up for the JGP: Innsbruck! In fact, it’s already underway…Vanessa Lam is in 4th after the SP, and one of the Polinas is in 1st. There, something timely for once!
As for the Nebelhorn Trophy…
GOLD- Yuzuru Hanyu, JPN
SILVER- Michal Brezina, CZE
BRONZE- Stephen Carriere, USA
Hanyu, who I still think of as the Johnny Weir of Japan, got the victory solidly over Brezina (unrecognizable with brown hair and no argyle vest, now that he’s finally retired the American in Paris program), and a surprisingly strong Carriere (particularly regarding a very nice "La Vie en Rose/Mack The Knife" SP). Max Aaron, representing the U.S. and attempting a quad salchow in his FS, finished 5th.
GOLD- Mirai Nagasu, USA
SILVER- Elene Gedevanishvili, GEO
BRONZE- Joshi Helgesson, SWE
Nagasu’s using Spartacus for the FS—good news is that although she blew her first jumping pass (3Lo/2Lo), she stood up the rest of the performance and retained a substantial lead after dominating the SP. Bad news is that she’s got a ways to go before she really seems to connect w/the music. (Her poker face doesn’t help.)
Gedevanishvili is back to being a brunette, and she’s back to landing triple lutzes for the first time in a long while. Her Phantom of the Opera program brought her silver. Joshi Helgesson outskated her sister Viktoria with a Romeo & Juliet-themed free skate. Joelle Forte of the U.S. finished 7th.
GOLD- Volosozhar/Trankov, RUS
SILVER- Bazarova/Larionov, RUS
BRONZE- Denney/Coughlin, USA
Volosozhar/Trankov won this easily and looked good doing it, for the most part (though they did have a rare miscue on a lift in their Swan Lake FS). Bazarova/Larionov snatched second away from the new team of Denney/Coughlin; a big splat from Denney on a throw triple loop surely didn’t help much. Vise/Baldwin of the U.S. finished 7th.
GOLD- Hubbell/Donohue, USA
SILVER- Zhiganshina/Gazsi, GER
BRONZE- Ralph/Hill, CAN
My guess is that Madison Hubbell couldn’t have effectively skated to Joe Cocker growling “I’ve Put a Spell on You” if her brother was still her dance partner… which might be reason enough to applaud her gold medal here with new partner Zach Donohue. Among those coming in behind them were Ralph/Hill (who had a VERY nice set of partially mirrored twizzles in the opening seconds of their FD), and a James Bond-themed Olson/Cowan of the U.S., who finished 6th.
The Ondrej Nepala Memorial is up next for the senior lot!