The 2021 Junior Grand Prix Series opens with back-to-back competitions in Courchevel, France, the first of which takes place Aug. 18-21. Canada was slated to host the second Junior Grand Prix of the season but on June 23 it announced the event had to be cancelled. France then offered to host a second event, which will take place the following week.
There are currently 65 skaters/teams scheduled to compete at the first event in Courchevel: 22 men, 30 ladies and 13 ice dance teams. This is a non-pairs event. The Japan Skating Federation announced earlier that it would not field any skaters to the first three Junior Grand Prix competitions.
Top names in the men′s event include Russia′s Mark Kondratiuk, Ilia Malinin of the U.S. and Canada′s Corey Circelli. Kondratiuk had a solid domestic season in 2020, which culminated with a third-place finish at the 2021 senior national championships in December. Malinin landed in a surprising fifth place at 2020 Skate America, his only competition last season. He was unable to compete at the 2021 national championships after an injury forced him to miss the qualifying events. This will be the third Junior Grand Prix season for Circelli who finished 10th at the Baltic Cup in 2019, but showed vast improvement at the 2021 Skate Canada Challenge where he finished third in the senior division.
In the women′s event, Russia′s Sofia Samodelkina, who finished fourth at the 2021 Russian junior championships, will make her Junior Grand Prix debut in Courchevel. She will likely come armed with a quad Salchow and a triple Axel-triple toe combination. Canada is fielding its reigning junior champion, Kaiya Ruiter, to this competition. Her only outing since 2020 Canadian nationals was the virtual Skate Canada Challenge in January of this year where she finished fourth at the senior level.
Two North American teams are the ″veterans″ in the ice dance field: Canada′s Miku Makita and Tyler Gunara who are heading into their third Junior Grand Prix season and Katarina Wolfkostin and Jeffrey Chen (the brother of Karen) of the U.S., who are entering their second.
START ORDERS/RESULTS (TBA)