Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Junior Grand Prix: USA

I'm a little slow to post my Junior Grand Prix Lake Placid update this week. I was out of town until today and thanks to Ice Network which showed the event live and on demand I was able to catch up on all the performances. A big thanks to Ice Network for showing the competition.

So beginning with the pairs, I must tell you I was really impressed with Canadians Hole and Johnson. For having been together for such a short period of time, there skating was impressive. Their gold medal was well deserved. Russians Stolbova and Klimov barely held on to the silver after a program that was ranked only fifth best. The bronze went to the Japanese team of Takahashi and Tran after a program as equally impressive as the Canadians. Americans Simpson and Miller made a valiant push to get on the podium with a top three free skate but came in just short in fourth place.

Amongst the ladies, Kristine Musademba was the clear class of the field with a strong free skate that showed excellent jumps, intricate steps, solid spins, and good speed. Kristine will be competing as a senior in Spokane and I wont be shocked at all if she is in the final group of skaters. The silver went to Russia's Ksenia Makarova who also skated well to pull up from fourth place. Her program had excellent tension and powerful, clear lines. The bronze went to Sweden's Isabelle Olsson who pulled all the way up from eighth place. The younger of two Olsson sisters' competing, her music was a bit odd but her jumping was solid. Americans Taylor Firth and DeeDee Leng self-imploded to finish fifth and seventh respectively.

For the men, Ross Miner easily took his first Junior Grand Prix Title besting his competitors. Ross showed complex choreography and good skating skills along with some solid jumping to take the title. Kento Nakamura of Japan and Russian Mark Shakhmatov's performances paled in comparison to Miner's as they took the silver and bronze respectively. American Joshua Farris had the comeback of the night with (what I thought) was the best program of the night. It included a gorgeous triple axel, a new jump for him, and he pulled all the way up from 10th to finish just off the podium in fourth.

Of all the Americans competing in Lake Placid, I think Maia and Alex Shibutani looked the most refined. Their Tango themed Free Dance looked polished well beyond their years and the team danced to a victory more than 20 points higher than their closest competitors. Canadians Ralph and Hill looked solid in winning the silver while the reigning U.S. Novice Champions Bonacorsi and Mager impressed their way to a bronze medal. Americans Tibbetts and Brubaker, who had a solid OD, ran into problems in the free dance when the duo tumbled on footwork, they had to settle for seventh place.

Full results can be seen here. Next week the Junior Grand Prix stops in Torun, Poland.

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