Friday, August 31, 2012

Week Two of JGP: Back in the U.S.of A.

We are already into Week Two of the Junior Grand Prix! And better yet, this one is in the U.S. (Lake Placid) for the first time since 2009...

But first, a quick recap of last week’s opener in Courchevel:

BOYS (It occurs to me that 13-to-19 year olds are better suited to be called “boys/girls” rather than “Men/Ladies”):
U.S.’s Jason Brown turned out to be the only American medalist at this event, earning a silver with typically grand (but also typically triple axel-free) performances. China’s Boyang Jin had greater jump difficulty in his programs, which easily gave him the gold... Ryuju Hino of Japan took bronze. The other U.S. contender, Harrison Choate, finished 4th (and incidentally is using one of my favorites for his free skate—Slaughter on 10th Avenue).

GIRLS (See above explanation): Russia’s Elena Radionova is tiny but mighty; she and her 3lutz/3toe won this event handily over Japan’s Rika Hongo (silver) and Russia’s Uliana Titushkina. The U.S. brought in the runners-up with Vanessa Lam (4th) and Ashley Cain (5th)... though something they didn’t mention on the Ice Network summary was that one of the falls endured during Cain’s FS was brutal enough to cause her program to grind to a 3 minute, 45 second halt. She DID complete her program, by the way. I haven’t looked at protocols so I’m not sure what sort of a penalty she received for the program break.

DANCE: France’s Papadakis/Cizeron won gold, looking like worthy up-and-comers to reigning World Bronze Medalists Pechalat/Bourzat... Russia’s Zenkova/Sinitsin claimed silver (with Zenkova appearing to channel a bengal tiger via her FD unitard)... bronze went to Edwards/Pang from Canada. The U.S. teams of McNamara/Carpenter and Moore/Klaber finished 6th and 8th, respectively.

NOTE: There was no PAIRS competition at the Courchevel event. This will be the case at several JGP events, as it was last year.

And running through this weekend in JGP Lake Placid (go watch if you are in the vicinity, won’t you? The stands looked unbearably bare from what you can see on Ice Network)...

BOYS— Josh Ferris of the U.S. is the favorite; so far so good, he skated cleanly to take the lead in the SP yesterday. Also there on behalf of the “home team” is James Schetelich, making his international debut and in 16th after the SP. (The third U.S. competitor, Spencer Howe, withdrew due to injury.) The FS happens Friday night.

GIRLS—The big news here for the U.S. is the return of Courtney Hicks, the 2011 national junior champ who went down injured in a JGP event last fall and was subsequently out the rest of the season. She sits in 4th after the SP. Also present is  Kiri Baga and Angela Wang... Baga is in 5th; Wang in 8th.

PAIRS—Apparently since the ISU is trying to better promote the Pairs discipline (see the lack of Pairs competitions in events such as last week’s), the host country of each event is now permitted to enter as many teams as they like (rather than the 3-team max normally observed). So the U.S. has 4 teams here: Denney/Frazier (in 3rd after the SP), Aaron/Settlage (in 4th), Pfund/Reiss (in 5th), and Ottmanns/Santillan (in 9th).

DANCE—Current U.S. Junior champs Aldridge/Eaton are in 2nd after the SD, Pogrebinsky/Gudis sit in 5th, and Heritage/Fast are 8th.

All these performances and more are available at Ice Network for subscribers... and the You Tube ISU Channel for EVERYONE (for free). The free skates & dances continue tonight & tomorrow, so tune in—it’s the perfect antidote to those Labor Day plans that are sure to be rained out by the remnants of Hurricane Issac this weekend!

(Well, if you live in the Midwest U.S. that is.)

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