2016 Junior Grand Prix Tallinn Cup Preview

17 teams from 13 countries will take the ice at the Tallinn Cup in Tallinn, Estonia later this week.  Tallinn Cup is the sixth of seven events that comprise the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating series and 2016 marks the sixth time that the event has been part of the JGP series.  This JGP is one of three ISU events taking place this week.

Russia’s Alla Loboda & Pavel Drozd are the favorites to take home gold in Estonia.  Loboda & Drozd won their first JGP event, Cup of Mordovia, in Saransk, Russia, earlier this month.  In Saransk, their free dance performance to “Malaguena” by Ernest Lecuona earned the highest free dance score on the JGP series so far. 

Loboda & Drozd are joined in Tallinn by Anastasia Skoptkova & Kirill Aleshin who are competing in back-to-back events after winning bronze last week at Ljubljana Cup. Although they qualified for the 2015-16 Junior Grand Prix Final, Skoptkova & Aleshin need a win in Estonia to have a chance to qualify this season. 

Chloe Lewis & Logan Bye are the lone U.S. representatives at Tallinn Cup.  Lewis & Bye finished sixth at Czech Skate, but they left points on the table in the short dance.  Their free dance to “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin and “Embraceable You” and “I’ve Got Rhythm” by Judy Garland really suits them and Tallinn Cup could provide the team the opportunity to break through and land on the podiu. 

Canada is represented by Hannah Whitley & Elliott Graham, who finished just ahead of Lewis & Bye at Czech Skate, where they also set new personal best scores in all phases of the competition.  Their short dance to “Born to Die” by Lana DelRey and Justin Parker for the blues and hip hop selection “Roses” by Elizabeth Mencel and Chainsmokers showcases costumes that were designed by Piper Gilles.   They are joined by Irina Galiyanova & Tommy Tang, the 2016 Canadian novice bronze medalists, who are making their JGP debut.

France’s Julia Wagret & Mathieu Couyras finished fifth at Cup of Mordovia and are also in the medal hunt.

The short dance will be contested on Friday with the free dance on Saturday.