MARCH 10-16, 2014
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Stepanova/Bukin have to fight hard to defend their ice-dance title
The reigning World Junior Ice Dance Champions and the 2012 silver medalists Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin (RUS) are the top favorites in the Ice Dance event in Sofia. Recently they sank teeth into their main home rivals, overcoming the ISU JGP Final gold medalists Anna Yanovskaya/Sergei Mozgov for the national title.
Stepanova and Bukin launch their campaign at 2014 Junior Worlds after competing half season at the seniors. They tried the vigour of youth at the seniorís ISU GP Skate Canada, where finished 8th.
The Muscovites Anna Yanovskaya/Sergei Mozgov, leaders of the seasonís standings with two wins in the 2013 ISU JGP series (Tallin and Riga), triumphed over Kaitlyn Hawayek/Jean-Luc Baker (USA) at the ISU JGP Final. The Russians aim better now at Junior Worlds after their 4th place in 2012.
Top U.S. Ice Dance couples are attending also the Junior Worlds in Sofia: the ISU JGP silver medalists Kaitlyn Hawayek/Jean-Luc Bake and Lorraine McNamara/ Quinn Carpenter, who won the bronze in their ISU JGP Final debut - both U.S. teams overtaken in Fukuoka by the Russians Yanovskaya/ Mozgov.
Hawayek /Baker won recently the USA national championship in junior ice dance. This title came for them after have being runner-up a year ago. Hawayek /Baker are leaded in Sofia by the famous Angelika Krylova as their coach.
The Ukrainian team Alexandra Nazarova/Maxim Nikitin, coached by other ice dance celebrity, Alexander Zhulin, joins the elite company. With two silver medals at the ISU JGP they qualified for the final, where finished fifth.
The 2013 World Junior silver medalist Gabriella Papadakis / Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) past at senior level as well as the bronze medalists Alexandra Aldridge / Daniel Eaton (USA).
China and Russia renew the great rivalry
With the 2013 Junior Pair worlds Champions Haven Denney/Brandon Frazier (USA) and the silver medalists Margaret Purdy/Michael Marinaro (CAN), competing already at seniors level, Xiaoyu Yu/Yang Jin from China are strong title contenders in Sofia.
The Chinese pair claimed the gold in December at the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final in Fukuoka, Japan, dominating all other five rivals from Russia. Yu/Jin was the only pair to have taken gold in two 2013 ISU JGP events (Latvia and Estonia).
2012 World Junior bronze medalist, Yu/Jin finished 4th last year in Milan and they will be eager now to do better and finish in triumph their shining season in Sofia,
The 2013 bronze world medalists Lina Fedorova/Maxim Miroshkin (RUS), who were third also at the ISU JGP Final, are in the Russian team, but on the substituteís list. Their fellow-countryman Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov, Maria Vigalova/Egor Zakroev and Vasilisa Davankova/Andrei Deputat are in the main roster.
Vigalova/ Zakroev, who overtook Fedorova/Miroshkin for the silver at the ISU JGP Final, debut at Junior Worlds. They were ISU JGP Final bronze medalists in 2012. Tarasova/Morozov, fifth in Milan last year, are the new Russian Junior Champions. Davankova/Deputat claimed bronze at the 2012 Junior Worlds.
All fully quoted Canadian and U.S. pairs have no experience at Junior Worlds.
Madeline Aaron/Max Settlage claimed the U.S. Junior Pairs title last January following their third place in 2013. They are ranked 7th in the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2013 /14 Junior Pairs Standings. Silver medalists in Minsk and ranked 4th in Tallin, Aaron/ Settlage were substitutes for the ISU JGP Final in Fukuoka.
Canadian pair Julianne SEGUIN / Charlie BILODEAU is also in top 10 of the ISU JGP seasonís Standings. The dynamic team is silver medalist at the 2014 Canadian National Skating Championships in January, missing the junior title after slipping on a triple Salchow jump in the Free. Instead of them Vanessa Grenier/ Maxime Deschamps claimed the gold in first season together. The bronze medalists Mary Orr / Phelan Simpson will compete here.
The 2014 Junior Worlds is attended also by the Top Italian pair Alessandra Cernuschi / Filippo Ambrosini, 11th in the ISU IGP seasonís standings. Cernuschi / Ambrosini took part at the 2014 European Championships in Budapest, where didnít reach the Final and finished 17th, r right ahead of Bulgarian team Elizaveta Makarova / Leri Kenchadze.
Crashing Domination of the young Russian Ladies
The junior World Champion Elena Radionova will be not able to defend her title due to injury. What a pity after a good season for the Russian, who won two medals (bronze and silver) at the ISU Grand Prix seniors series and ranked fourth in the Final. At the 2013 Junior Worlds in Milan Radionova deprived of the title the Champion from Minsk the previous year Julia Lipnitskaya. And Lipnitskaya is already a sensation in the Ladies Figure Skating after earning this season straight European and Olympic title with the team of Russia.
The domination of the Young Russians was killing at the ISU JGP Final in Fukuoka, where Maria Sotskova, Serafima Sakhanovich and Evgenia Medvedeva swept the podium and four Russians skaters were placed in top 6.
Serafima Sakhanovich, Maria Sotskova, Alexandra Proklova (fifth in Fukuoka) will fight for the Junior Ladies world title in Sofia. The defending champion Elena Radionova howsoever comes as substitute. The 14-year-old Sakhanovich overcame the 2 months older Maria Sotskova for the national junior title in January.
The Japanese of great talent Satoko Miyahara also will compete here. She is the 2014 Four Continents silver medalist, a three-time medalist on the ISU Junior Grand Prix series, the 2013 Japanese senior national bronze medalist, and a two-time Japan Junior champion.
The U.S. team includes Karen Chen, Amber Glenn,Tyler Pierce. The first nominated Karen Chen won gold at the 2013 ISU JGP Kosice and bronze in Riga.
Alaine Chartrand leads the Canadian squad. She is the 2013 national bronze medalist and is fifth this year at senior level.
Tough Junior Men Challenge emerges in Sofia
Tough Junior Men Competition emerges in Sofia despite the absence of last yearís champion Joshua Farris and silver medalist Jason Brown (both from USA), both stepping as a rookies at senior level.
The 9th place for the 19-year-old Jason Brown at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi was an impressive achievement for the yang skater. Joshua Farris was in the U.S. Olympian team as alternate. Their fellow-countryman Shotaro Omori is the only 2013 Junior Men medalist (bronze) to be tasted in Sofia. The mission promises to be difficult in the company of very strong opponents.
Here is Boyang Jin from China, who made an amazing jump from fifth to first place at the ISU JGP Final in Fukuoka, scoring his total season best of 218.73 points. Jin made then three quadruples in his Free, leaving behind him Adian Pitkeev (RUS) with silver and Nathan Chen (USA) with bronze in the major junior event. The 15-year-old Pitkeev trains in Moscow in the same group as the new star Julia Lipnitskaya, coached by Eteri Tutberidze.
Alexander Petrov, the main Pitkeevís rival at the last Russian National Junior Championships, as well will fight on the Ice of the Winter Sports Hall. Petrov missed the juniors men title of Russia, when Adian overcame him with a marge of 1,88 points.
All of them will be challenged by Nathan Chen, two -time U.S. Junior Champion. Chen is coached by Rafael Arutunian, who accompanies him in Sofia. Last month the 15-year-old Nathan won his second national junior menís title, breaking the record of Adam Rippon (213.76 points) with a record total of 223. 93 points *. Let remember that Rippon scored his best total in 2008 in Sofia, when he won the first of his straight world junior titles.
The challenge becomes sharper with the skating phenomenon Nam Nguyen (CAN) on the stage. The 15--year-old Nam, coached by Brian Orser, was fifth at the 2014 Senior Nationals among the Canadian veterans such as reigning world champion and 2014 Olympic silver medalist Patrick Chan.
Keiji Tanaka from Japan also may be threat in Sofia. He was leading after the Short in ISU JGP Final before Boyang Jin explosion in the Free, and slipped then to fourth place.
Michael Christian Martinez, the first skater from Southeast Asia and figure skater from the tropical zone to qualify for the Olympics and the only athlete to represent the Philippines at the 2014 Winter Games, after Sochi takes the road of Sofia. Martinez finished 19th at the Olympics. More confident, he will aim better that his fifth place at the 2013 Junior Worlds in Milan.
*- To note that the seasonal best total scores only the ISU Grand Prix competitions (senior and junior) and ISU Championships have been taken into consideration, not other international competitions or National Championships
Participant in Sofia happy with her first official website
Amber Glenn, who will participate at the 2014 ISU Junior Worlds in Sofia, launched her first official website. The 14-year-old Glenn is part of US Team. She is the 2014 U.S. national junior ladies champion.
ďIím very excited to have my official web page hosted by Figure Skaters Online,Ē Glenn said. ďI canít wait to see my name up there next to all the ladies that I have looked up to for so long. Thank you, Ms. Backman, for doing such a great job on the site design. As I start my first senior season, please check back often to see updates on the seasonís progress.Ē
Glenn is coached by Ann Brumbaugh and Ben Shroats and represents the Stars Figure Skating Club of Texas. She debuted on the Junior Grand Prix (JGP) circuit this season winning a bronze at the JGP in the Czech Republic, her lone event, figureskatersonline.com writes.