The second event of the 2021 Junior Grand Prix Series was originally scheduled to take place in Edmonton, Canada, but on June 23, Skate Canada announced it had cancelled the competition due to ongoing restrictions with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic. The French federation stepped up and offered to host back-to-back events in Courchevel. This second Junior Grand Prix takes place Aug. 26-28.
Changes to all Junior Grand Prix rosters are taking place given the entry restrictions of some countries with respect to quarantine requirements and the recognition of specific vaccines. On Aug. 10, the Russian federation issued a press release with respect to the reassignment of its skaters from the first two JGPs due to government restrictions in France. The Japan Skating Federation announced in June that it would not field any skaters to the first three Junior Grand Prix competitions. China also has no entries at this competition.
There are currently 53 skaters/teams — 14 men, 23 women and 16 ice dance teams — slated to compete. This will be the first Junior Grand Prix for many of the young talents assigned to this event.
The men′s field is a mixed bag with many new faces and a few with some experience. Arlet Levandi of Estonia is one of the most experienced in the field and will be one to watch. The 15-year-old won the Tallink Hotels Cup in both 2020 and 2021 and captured the 2020 Budapest Trophy. He is coached by his mother Anna Levandi (Kondrasheva), the 1984 World silver medalist and a four-time European bronze medalist in singles.
In the women′s competition, Canada and the U.S. are fielding their respective reigning junior champions: Kaiya Ruiter, 15, and Isabeau Levito, 14. Ruiter was impressive at her first JGP in Courchevel last week where she finished second, capturing the first JGP medal for Canada in eight years (Gabriel Daleman claimed bronze in Poland in 2013). If Ruiter skates as well or better than she did last week she will have a good shot at winning gold at this competition. South Korea is fielding three skaters: Seoyeon Ji (fourth at JGP France last week), Ahsun Yun (fifth in her JGP debut in Courchevel), and Chaeyeon Kim who has no international experience.
Ji and Yun were not originally scheduled to compete at this event, but when they were unable to board flights to the U.S. after the JGP last week they returned to Courchevel and were added to the roster.
The ice dance discipline will also have a mix of experienced juniors along with those making their respective debuts. Miku Makita and Tyler Gunara of Canada, who captured silver at the first event in Courchevel, have withdrawn due to a non-COVID illness.