The Junior Grand Prix Final was a gold rush for Russian skaters, who captured six of the 12 medals awarded.
Moscow’s Adelina Sotnikova kick-started the golden run by winning the ladies event ahead of teammate Elizaveta Tuktamisheva and China’s Zijun Li.
Sotnikova, 14, landed a triple-triple combination and four other triple jumping passes in her long program and racked up a total of 169.81 points to take the title. “I am very pleased to have won this event and that I went for everything as I had planned,” she said. “My goal is to skate even better next time.”
Tuktamisheva, who turned 14 on Dec. 17, claimed the
silver with 160.87 points. It was her first season competing on the Grand Prix circuit.
Li, who was fifth after the short, landed six triples in her free skating performance and claimed the bronze with a score of 149.82. Li and Japan’s Risa Shoji earned the same combined total, but Li ranked higher in the free skating, which gave her the edge.
“I only found out last week that I was competing, so I wasn’t really prepared,” the 14-year-old Beijing native said. Both of her programs were choreographed by Karen Kwan-Oppegard.
Ksenia Monko and Kirill Khaliavin led a Russian sweep of the podium in the ice dance event, ahead of Victoria
Sinitsina and Ruslan Zhiganshin and Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin.
Reigning World junior bronze medalists Monko and Khaliavin captured their second junior Grand Prix title with a score of 136.22. “Our performance was satisfying, and the result is positive. We didn’t feel any special pressure, our goal was just to skate our best,” Khaliavin said. “I think to have won the junior final twice is a decent result.”
Sinitsina and Zhiganshin earned personal-best scores for both segments of the competition and claimed silver with 134.62 points. Stepanova and Bukin captured bronze with 129.94 points.
A third trip to the Junior Grand Prix Final proved lucky for America’s Richard Dornbush, who claimed the men’s title ahead of Han Yan of China and Canada’s Andrei Rogozine.
Dornbush reeled off eight triples in the free skate and earned high scores for his spins. The 19-year-old racked up a total of 219.56 points, winning the only medal for the U.S. at the junior level.
“I was thinking about my program and how well I wanted to skate it, but I never dreamed it would have turned out as well as it did,” he said. “The entire week was awesome. I really enjoyed China. The culture is amazing.”
Yan ranked third in the free skate but moved up to second with 186.05 points. “I thought I skated just OK. I was a little nervous going into the long program because I was third after the short,” the 14-year-old explained.
Rogozine sat in seventh after the short, but a solid free skate that included eight triples propelled him into third with 181.78 points. “I went into the long with the thought that I had nothing to lose,” he said.
Japan’s Narumi Takahashi and Mervin Tran were flying high after capturing the pairs title. Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov from Russia were second ahead of China’s Xiaoyu Yu and Yang Jin.
Takahashi and Tran, the reigning World Junior silver medalists, scored 159.52 points overall. “It was a solid performance for us, and we felt really good on the ice,” Tran said.
“My favorite thing is a medal, especially the gold medal,” Takahashi added. They are the first pairs team from Japan to ever claim a Grand Prix Final title.
Stolbova and Klimov added to Russia’s medal count with their second-place result. The duo scored 150.54 points. Harbin natives Yu and Jin, who were sixth after the short, moved up to third with 140.58 points.
Originally published in February 2011