ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2009 Day Three
The ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2009 continued Thursday in Sofia, Bulgaria with the Original Dance and the Men’s Free Skating. Ice Dance, Original Dance The Original Dance of the 2008/09 season is rhythms of the 20s, 30s and 40s. The 30 couples in the event chose a wide variety of dances.

Madison Chock/Greg Zuerlein (USA) strengthened their lead after the Compulsory Dance ahead of teammates Madison Hubbell/Keiffer Hubbell. Ekaterina Riazanova/Jonathan Guerreiro of Russia moved up from seventh to third place.

Chock/Zuerlein put out a strong performance of their entertaining Charleston routine that was highlighted by a straight line lift with changes of position and fast twizzles. The Junior Grand Prix Final Champions were awarded a level four for the lift, the spin and the twizzles and a level three for the circular and the side by side footwork. The team earned 57.29 points (32.60 element score/24.69 program component score) and
improved their previous personal best by 3.51 points. Overall the U.S. Junior Champions accumulated 90.44 points so far. “It’s actually a lot of fun to do this area of 20s and 30s because I’ve always loved the Charleston, the outfits they had back then. It’s just a lot of fun to interpret”, Chock commented. “We’re basically happy with our performance. It was solid for the most part and we just connected well with each
other like we usually do because it’s just fun to skate with him”, she added. Her partner agreed: “This performance definitely ranks up there with others. I think it was one of our top performances this season. Obviously there were a few parts that were shaky. I stumbled a little bit on a step, but it wasn’t on an element. That was ok.”

Hubbell/Hubbell had chosen a Blues and danced to “Minnie the Moocher”, showing off their maturity and strong footwork. The brother and sister team produced a straight line lift, a dance spin and twizzles that were all graded a level four while the circular steps and the side by side midline step sequence were graded a level three by the Technical Panel. The Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalists scored 53.44 points (30.50/22.94),
slightly surpassing their previous personal best of 53.31 points and were ranked third in the Original Dance. Overall they remained in second place at 84.83 points. “I felt really good out there. Our OD although it’s a lot of fun to skate has always given us some problems in competition. We were able to skate clean tonight. That’s really all that we can control. We went out there and did what we had to do. It was a good way to
leave the program because it will be our last time competing it”, Madison Hubbell told the press. “We love our OD. Our OD is probably my personal favorite program. It’s just a ton of fun to skate. What we skate to is the 40s. Minnie the Moocher, I’m kind of a gangster and she is my lady of the night. We’re happy to skate our best. It was a strong performance for us”, her brother explained.

Riazanova/Guerreiro delivered a smooth Slox Fox to “C’est si bon” by Louis Armstrong and a lively Swing to “Sing Sing Sing” by Louis Prima that included a excellent synchronized twizzles, a one-armed rotational lift and precise footwork. The twizzles, the spin and the lift got a level four, the side by side and circular footwork a level three. The Russian Junior Champions picked up 53.80 points (30.60/23.20) and collected at total of 82.82 so far to move up four spots after the Compulsory Dance. “We tried today not to think about the placement. What we tried to think about was just to make sure that we do what we’ve been training and do it the best we can, not to think that we have to pull up.

The place will come if we do what we can do”, Guerreiro said. “All what we can do now is to make sure that we do a good free dance.” The couples from fourth to sixth are closely ranked together. Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) movedup from fifth to fourth with a fast paced Swing dance (81.81 points). Ekaterina Pushkash/Dmitri Kiselev (RUS), who stood in third place after the Compulsory Dance, came in fifth today with a nice Charleston(80.74 points). Kharis Ralph/Asher Hill (CAN) are ranked sixth at 79.67 points. They had chosen a SlowFoxtrot.Men, Free SkatingThe Men’s event concluded with an exciting Free Skating. Adam Rippon (USA) repeated as World JuniorChampion. Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic earned the silver, and Russia’s Artem Grigoriev clinchedthe bronze.

Overnight leader Rippon, who skated third in the final flight, gave a magnificent performance to “Send inthe Clowns” and “I Pagliacci”. He nailed a triple Flip-triple toe, a triple Axel-double toe, a triple loop, andthe crowd cheered when he hit the second triple Axel. The 19-year-old went on to reel off a two triple Lutzesand a triple Salchow as difficult spins and footwork, earning level threes and fours for them. When he hadfinished, he first fell on his knees on the ice, then jumped up and down in joy.Rippon posted a new personalbest of 147.70 points (77.60 element score/70.10 program component score) and racked up a total of 222.00points to take the gold. “I feel really good about everything. Mentally and physically I was in really goodshape going into the long program”, Rippon said. “I’m really happy with myself that I could put together thisprogram. A really rewarding experience. So far it’s the best I’ve skated in competition. Hopefully it willcontinue to get better. Going into last year’s Junior Worlds I felt a lot of pressure. This year, I knew howwell Michal Brezina was skating. His jumps are enormous and his triple Axel is incredible consistent and Iknow how strong the others skaters are. I knew I had to do two triple Axels to be competitive”, he continued.

Brezina, who stood in second place after the Short Program, had skated just before Rippon and turned in astrong performance as well. His fast paced routine to Latin music and to a Safri Duo selection included atriple Axel-double toe, a triple Lutz, triple flip-triple toe, another gorgeous triple Axel, a triple loop, flip aswell as two level-four spins. He only doubled the Salchow. The Czech skater scored 135.33 points(71.23/64.10), which was a new personal best and remained in second place with 204.88 points. It wasBrezina’s first medal at the World Junior Championships and only the second medal for a Czech figureskater at the World Junior Championships. The only other medal dates back to 1978 when JanaBlahova/Ludek Feno had won the silver in the Pairs event.“I have to thank Adam for this competition. It was a great battle between us”, Brezina commented. “It was areally good end of the season, even for me, because I had knee surgery in October. I wasn’t really sure howit was going to be. I hope I will do my best in the next season and I will continue with this performance andmaybe be even better.” Asked about the key point of his performance, the 18-year-old answered: “I think thefirst three jumps. When I do the first three jumps, then I know I can do the rest. When I did the triple Axelwith the combination, then triple Lutz and the triple-triple combination then I thought, ok now I just willhave to skate and just do what I can.”

Skating to a modern version of Swan Lake, Grigoriev produced a triple Lutz-double toe-double loop, a tripleflip-triple toe as well as three more triples. The Muscovite was awarded a level four for the change foot sitspin and a level three for the other two spins and the footwork. The only error in his expressive routine camewhen he doubled a flip. The Russian received 119.29 points (58.49/60.80), which was a new personal best,and pulled up from fourth to third with a total of 184.40 points. It was his debut at the World JuniorChampionships. “I’m very happy that I finished third, because when I came here I felt to be in the top sixwould be good. So I’m very happy with the outcome. My performances were not bad and I’m basicallyhappy with them, but it could have been better of course”, Grigoriev said.

The competition was at a high level. Denis Ten (KAZ) was edged out by less than one point and came infourth (183.77 points). He landed four clean triples including an Axel. Curran Oi (USA), who was rankedthird after the Short Program, completed a triple Axel and four other triple jumps but fell on a Lutz. Heslipped to fifth (182.89 points). Chao Yang (CHN) was ranked sixth at 177.86 points.The ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2009 continue Friday with the Ladies Free Skatingand the Free Dance. For more information and full results please see: www.isu.org andhttp://www.isuworldjunior2009.com.

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