The 2019 Junior Grand Prix Series opens in Courchevel, France, August 21-24. Three of the four disciplines will be contested — men′s, ladies and ice dance. A total of 73 skaters/teams are slated to compete: 20 men, 35 ladies and 18 ice dance teams. The ladies and men’s short programs open the competition on Aug. 22.
There are many new faces in the line-ups for the first event of the season, with a handful of experienced singles skaters and teams in the mix.
After a season away from the circuit recovering from injury Maxim Naumov — the son of 1994 World pairs champions Evgenia Shishkova and Vadim Naumov — returns to competition in Courchevel. The 17-year-old American will be looking to improve on his eighth-place finish at the last junior Grand Prix event he contested in Latvia in 2017.
Japan′s Yumi Kagiyama, the son of the 1989 World Junior bronze medalist Masakazu Kagiyama, is returning for a second season. With high placements in his debut on the circuit last year, he could be one of the frontrunners at this competition.
The ladies event is wide open with many making their Junior Grand Prix debuts at this competition. One of the bright young stars to watch for is Russia′s Kamila Valieva, 13, who has been turning heads domestically. How she will fare on the international stages is yet to be seen. At the August test skates, Valieva landed a clean quad toe in her long program and said she is also training the quad Salchow and the triple Axel. She will be joined by her talented teammate Maria Khromykh, 13, who is also making her debut. Both skaters are coached by Eteri Tutberidze and Sergei Dudakov in Moscow.
Hanna Harrell of the U.S., who captured bronze at the recent Philadelphia Summer International, is returning for her third season on the junior circuit, as is Japan′s Nana Araki and Alison Shumacher of Canada.
The ice dance field is wide open with no returning Grand Prix finalists from last season. The top-ranked teams include Canada’s Emmy Bronsard and Alissa Bouaraguia and Loicia Demougeot and Theo Le Mercier of France who finished sixth and eighth, respectively, at the 2019 World Junior Championships. The Russian duo of Elizaveta Shanaeva and Devid Naryzhnyy, fourth and second at their Grand Prix assignments in 2018, are also returning for a third season and will be looking to move up the ladder this year.
The adagio pairs team of Annette Dytrt and Yannick Bonheur will perform in the closing gala, which takes place on Sat., Aug. 24th.
The seven-event Junior Grand Prix Series will be live streamed worldwide on the ISU YouTube channel (link below), other than in those countries which hold television/online streaming rights.