The Junior Grand Prix continued this week in Ostrava, Czech Republic with JGP Czech Skate, where 24 men, 35 ladies, 17 pairs and 18 Ice Dance teams vied for finishes that would bring them one step closer to the Junior Grand Prix Final in December. The ISU livestreamed the entirety of the competition and uploaded select skaters’ videos to YouTube; additionally, the ITL YouTube channel now features playlists of the medalists’ and special shoutouts’ performances.
As the fifth stop before December, this competition showed the skaters’ ability to improve and develop their programs more. It is also the last Junior Grand Prix event for the Pairs discipline, which means that we now know the official list of competitors in the Junior Grand Prix Final. The protocols and complete results can be found here.
🏅 Unlike their first Junior Grand Prix event, Kseniia Akhanteva / Valerii Kolesov of Russia won the gold with a near clean Free Skate - they look more comfortable and steady with both of their programs. Again they showed us their impressive triple twist, which in both the Short Program and the Free Skate was given high GOE. We also have to mention their perfect side by side spins in their “Interstellar” Short Program. They have some solid elements and are definitely one of the top Junior pairs - we think they have the best lifts.
🥈 Polina Kostiukovich / Dmitrii Ialin took the silver and the top two teams thus gave us Russia’s 1-2 podium. Not to be left behind their fellow teammates, this pair also showed an impressive triple twist receiving +5 GOE in the Short Program. Although they were in the lead after the Short, the fall on Polina’s triple Salchow as well as her triple toe’s landing caused their second place finish in the Free Skate and overall. The lifts - especially the upside down one - are really great.
🥉 The American pair of Sarah Feng / TJ Nyman rounded out the JGP Czech podium and prevented a full Russian podium in all four JGP events in the Pairs discipline. This pair has some nice elements and showed good skating skills with minimal mistakes in their programs. Although there was a fall in the Free Skate, they were still able to score high enough to get the bronze and secure themselves the last spot for the JGP Final.
The Pairs shoutout goes to Anastasia Poluianova / Dmitry Sopot from Russia, who brought strong performances in both the Short Program and the Free Skate despite an unfortunate fall and a few underrotated jumps. Regardless of technical scores, this pair is probably one of the most senior-ready teams in Juniors, and even with a fourth place ranking they manage to get a spot for the JGP Final. With that, Russia took five of the six available spots. We also want to give a shoutout to Cleo Hamon / Denys Strekalin for their “Hunger Games” Free Skate, we appreciate the music choice!
🏅 Congratulations to Andrei Mozalev on taking gold at his Junior Grand Prix debut! Andrei has very strong technical skills and fantastic jumps. His quad toe in the Free Skate performed to the “Step Up” soundtrack was spectacular, and the program itself had some great moments. He does have some room to grow - he definitely focused more on getting his jumps and lacked some expression. Of course, maturity is something that will come with time, so we’re excited to see what he’ll learn from this experience.
🥈 Camden Pulkinen took silver with an amazing Short Program, although his Free Skate didn’t go as well as he wanted it to. His Short Program to Astor Piazzolla’s “Oblivion” was breathtaking to watch and gave him a new season’s best. On the other hand, he faced some issues with his jumps and spins in his Free Skate to the “West Side Story” soundtrack. Regardless, his strong program components still shined, helping him secure silver. With his silver here and his gold from JGP Cup of Austria, we will see him at the JGP Final.
🥉 Joseph Phan definitely fought his way to redeem himself here, after an unfortunate ninth place finish at the JGP Amber Cup. Despite facing some minor issues with his jumps, he succeeded in his redemption, placing third in the Short Program and second in the Free Skate. Joseph has amazing potential and two great programs this season to grow into. We look forward to seeing how they evolve as the season progresses!
🏅 Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva / Nikita Nazarov won their second gold at their second outing on the Junior Grand Prix, securing them a spot at the JGP Final. After a comfortable 6-point lead in the Rhythm Dance, they put out another great Free Dance and maintained their lead. They have an excellent set of twizzles - evidenced by the fact that they were one of few teams to get level 4 twizzles across the board. We’re loooking forward to seeing them in Vancouver!
🥈 Maria Kazakova / Georgy Reviya took silver at their first ever Junior Grand Prix event. They’re a young team and did have some issues, especially with their synchronization, but we expect that this will improve over time. They’re an enthusiastic and charismatic team, but it may take some time for them to get used to skating with each other. As time progresses, they’ll be able to pay more attention to the program details and improve on their levels, but for now, excellent job at your debut!
🥉 Another new team to the Junior Grand Prix circuit, Diana Davis / Gleb Smolkin performed two solid programs to round out the podium here with a bronze medal. They had some issues in the Rhythm Dance, facing both a time violation and an extended lift violation as well as failing to hit their key points in the second half of the Argentine Tango pattern. However, they made up for those issues with their lovely performance that made us very hopeful for the future of this team.
🏅 Continuing the Russian gold sweep in the Ladies’ discipline, Alena Kostornaia won her second Junior Grand Prix gold this season. Her technical skills are strong and solid, even with a few mistakes. She skated with good flow in her performance, beautiful spins, and top notch ability to interpret her music - securing her spot at the JGP Final.
🥈 Yelim Kim skated beautifully and effortlessly throughout the whole competition, putting out two clean skates and taking another silver and her second JGP medal. Her “Love Theme” Short Program earned her mostly +4 GOEs from the judges. There’s still two more Junior Grand Prix events coming, but she has a good shot of taking a spot in the Final.
🥉 Taking home the bronze is Russia's Viktoria Vasilieva, claiming her first medal in her Junior Grand Prix debut. She is a good technical performer (and a fearless jumper!) and skated her “Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso” Free Skate cleanly and with good elements. Her chances of getting a spot in the Final are slim but it doesn't change that she performed well against some of the top skaters in the Junior Ladies’ discipline. Congratulations, Viktoria!
Our Ladies’ shoutout goes to Ivelina Baycheva and her expressive Free Skate to “I Will Survive”. She struggled with her jumps and stamina, but when the music hit that chorus it was a party. Good job, Ivelina! Also, props to Nana Araki’s great performance of her “Bei mir bist du schoen” Short Program, as well as to Cathy Reed who did the amazing choreography.
Coming up next week is the JGP Ljubljana Cup in Ljubljana, Slovenia, where the remaining men, ladies and Ice Dance teams compete to get a spot in the JGP Final. For further updates visit our Twitter page and for the JGP streams check out the official ISU Junior Grand Prix channel.