(Blue Swords) – Chemnitz, Germany
The “Blue Swords” competition features one of the more competitive fields of the Junior Grand Prix series. Five teams who have medaled at 2007 JGP events will hope to earn a second medal in Chemnitz this week. Though you can’t really compare scores across all events, they can be used as a general marker to give an idea of how it could play out.
Russia’s Kristina Gorshkova and Vitaliy Butikov of Russia, who won the silver in at the JGP in Croatia, are competing in their fourth season on the JGP and could take the gold in Germany. Their score from Croatia Cup (168.84) is nearly 17 points higher than Russian teammates Ekaterina Riazanova and John Guerreiro, who are also competing here. Riazanova and Guerreiro won the silver in Romania, scoring 151.93.
Madison Chock and Greg Zuerlein (pictured, left) of the US, the surprise gold medalists in Estonia, are in the medal hunt once again in their first season on the JGP. Chock and Zuerlein are one of Igor Shpilband’s teams, training in Canton, Michigan.
Ukraine’s Alisa Agafonova and Dmitri Dun, silver medalists in Estonia, are hoping to match their result. Agafonova and Dun were alternates to the Junior Grand Prix final in 2006 and look to qualify for the event this year. The team is in their fourth season on the JGP and finished 10th at this event in 2004.
The USA’s Pilar Bosley and John Corona skated at the first JGP this season, Lake Placid, where they won the bronze medal. This is Bosley and Corona’s second season on the JGP. Their 137.64 at Lake Placid, is nearly seven points lower than Agafanova and Dun’s 144.41, but Bosley and Corona have had nearly 5 weeks to focus on training between events.
Chemnitz marks the debut for the new Georgian team of Isabella Tobias and Otar Japaridze. Japaridze finished fourth and seventh at 2006 JGP’s with former partner Ekaterina Zaikina. Tobias and Japaridze teamed up earlier this year and train in the US. Japaridze’s father is the President of the Georgian Figure Skating Federation.