When the Junior Grand Prix Series was first introduced in 1996, it was designed to provide young skaters with experience at international competitions.
The concept has proved to be a success when one looks at past results. Many junior champions have gone on to become major players on the senior circuit.
In 2009 the International Skating Union (ISU) reduced the number of junior Grand Prix events from eight to seven.
A few nations host them annually, others bi-annually, and countries with little or no experience at conducting international skating events learn from hosting these junior competitions.
The ISU provides limited financing, and federations make little money from these events. That is why wealthy federations such as those in the U.S. and Canada rarely bid for a Junior Grand Prix. It is less expensive for them to send their skaters abroad to compete.
Next season Brisbane, Australia will host its first Junior Grand Prix event. The other six venues are: Riga, Latvia; Gdansk, Poland; Brasov, Romania; Innsbruck, Austria; Milan, Italy; and Tallinn, Estonia.
The roster in pairs and ice dance will be reduced to six next year, but the men’s and ladies fields will remain at eight.
The pairs discipline is only contested at four of the Junior Grand Prix events because there are so few junior teams in the world who are eligible to compete at this level. Pairs events will be contested in Latvia, Poland, Austria and Estonia.
The venue for the Grand Prix Final has not been announced but it is rumored that Canada may be the host country.
Originally published in February 2011