Wednesday, November 28

The Junior Grand Prix Final: Who You Should Be Watching

Since the 2008/2009 season, the Junior Grand Prix Final has run concurrently with the senior Final, hosting the top six junior-level skaters/teams in each discipline from the regular-season events. This season, the Junior Grand Prix Final will be held in Sochi, Russia, December 6-9.

Here is a look at some of the top competitors that have qualified to the Final.


MEN



Joshua Farris, United States
2012 World Junior Silver Medalist
2011/2012 Junior Grand Prix Final Bronze Medalist

Farris comes in as the favorite in the mens competition. Check out his performance above from the JGP Lake Placid, where he landed a beautiful quad toe and triple Axel-triple toe combination.




Maxim Kovtun, Russia
4th - 2011/2012 Junior Grand Prix Final

Kovtun lacks the polish and quality to his basic skating compared to Farris, but actually posted a higher event overall score (219.19) at the JGP Croatia this fall. His free skate performance is above, and includes a quad toe-double toe, triple Axel-triple toe, and a second triple Axel.




Jason Brown, United States
2012 World Junior Bronze Medalist
2011/2012 Junior Grand Prix Final Champion

Brown is the most refined and artistic skater of the group, but he has yet to land a clean triple Axel in competition and does not attempt a quad. He will most likely need to rely on mistakes from others, but as shown in this competition last year, a win is not impossible.

Also joining them are Boyang Jin (CHN) who beat Brown at the JGP Courchevel, and Japanese skaters Ryuju Hino and Keiji Tanaka.

Han Yan of China, 2012 World Junior Champion, is the second substitute to the Final.



LADIES (or.. LADY)



Elena Radionova, Russia
2012 JGP Courchevel Champion
2012 JGP Austria Champion

At all of her 13 years, Radionova posted the best two-competition total score of any junior lady by over 45 points. She is young and her overall quality can build tremendously, but this is her title to lose.

A trio of Americans, Angela Wang, Hannah Miller, and Leah Keiser will be in a tight podium battle with Japan's Satoko Miyahara and Russian Anna Pogorilaya.


PAIRS

The pairs should be an exciting battle, much like in the senior Grand Prix Final. Of the six qualifying teams, less than 16 points separates the highest and lowest two-event total scores.

The qualifiers are Canadians Purdy/Marinaro and Jones/Beharry, Russians Fedorova/Miroshkin, Vigalova/Zakroev, and Davankova/Deputat, and China's Yu/Jin.






Purdy/Marinaro were the only team to win both of their events, and above is their free skate from the JGP Croatia, where they moved up from 4th to win the gold medal. Right behind them were the Chinese team of Yu/Jin, whose free skate is also shown above.


DANCE

It's a Russian-dominated field with Stepanova/Bukin, Zenkova/Sinitsin, Kosigina/Moroshkin, and Yanovskaya/Mogzov all earning the right to compete on home ice. Joining them are two-time series winners Aldridge/Eaton of the USA and Papadakis/Cizeron of France.

Four of the six couples placed in second through fifth places at the 2012 World Junior Championships, with Stepanova/Bukin being the highest finishers with their silver medals. They are the favorites in Sochi, while World junior bronze medalists Aldridge/Eaton and fourth-place finishers Papadakis/Cizeron will likely battle for second place.




Here is the free dance of Stepanova/Bukin en route to their win at JGP Istanbul.

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