The 2018 Junior Grand Prix Series opens in Bratislava, Slovakia, Aug. 22-25, with 80 athletes scheduled to compete — 24 men, 35 ladies, seven pairs and 14 ice dance teams. The competition begins Aug. 23 at 11:30 a.m. local time with the men′s, pairs and ladies short programs.
Many young skaters will make their debut on the international circuit in Bratislava this week alongside a number of experienced competitors.
Japan′s Mitsuki Sumoto, the 2017 Junior Grand Prix Final bronze medalist, headlines the men′s event, but many eyes will be on the young Canadian, Stephen Gogolev, who will make his Junior Grand Prix debut at this competition. Russia′s Roman Savosin will be chasing podium finishes in his third season on the junior circuit after missing the Final in 2017.
Mexico’s Donovan Carrillo won over a legion of fans last season with his charm and charisma. His 22nd-place finish at the 2018 World Championships was the best result ever achieved by a skater from his nation, so he will be a skater to watch this season.
In ladies, South Korea’s Young You, who has a solid technical arsenal, will also be one to watch. Two young Russians — Anna Shcherbakova and Anna Tarusina — will make their Junior Grand Prix debuts in Bratislava. As a testament to its depth in junior ladies, Russia has 11 individual skaters competing in the Series this season.
The reigning Junior Grand Prix Final pairs silver medalists from Russia, Apollinariia Panfilova and Dmitry Rylov, will lead the way for two other less experienced Russian teams that will join them in Slovakia.
In ice dance, Eliana Gropman and Ian Somerville of the U.S. are one of the most experienced teams competing at this event, and are strong contenders for a podium finish.