Ice Dance Observer: August 21, 2018


Welcome back – It’s hard to believe that we’re ready to start another JGP season!  

This week, we preview the series as a whole as well as some details of the first JGP in Bratislava.  I’ve included links to the ISU JGP live stream as well as the results page that will likely be live tomorrow.  Even if you aren’t an early riser, you can catch performances from Bratislava and all future JGP events, as they are archived on the ISU JGP Channel.  The ISU has been bringing these performances to us live for a few seasons now and it’s a great opportunity to watch the next generation of ice dancers before they break through to the senior level.  Many of the greats, including Canada’s Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir, Meryl Davis & Charlie White of the United States, and Gabrielle Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron of France, competed on this series when they were younger.  

Be sure to check out a few of our new features from this week, including the interview with Montreal’s Sam Chouinard who choreographs for many of the teams at Gadbois. As he is so busy, we appreciated that he took the time to sit down with Francesca to answer questions.  Also new is the next edition of the Parent Guide titled Competition Survival Guide by Adrienne Koob-Doddy.  If you’re a parent of an ice dancer, let us know what we can include in future posts.  We’d like it to be helpful to you.

Until next time,

Daphne & Team IDC

The 2017 Junior Grand Prix Final Medalists


by Anne Calder

The ISU created the Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating in 1997 to challenge younger skaters to compete at a high level on the international stage.  This week in Bratislava, the Series will mark the beginning of its 22nd season of competition. It was a pleasant surprise to discover that three young ice dancers who had medaled back in the inaugural year – Daniil Barantsev, Denis Petukhov, and Massimo Scali – are still active in our sport.  

Worth noting is that with the introduction of the +5 / -5 Grade of Excellence (GOE) all statistics start from zero for the season 2018-19, and all previous statistics are now historical.  

The number of entrants allotted per ISU Member for each of the seven events is determined by the results at the previous Junior World Championship. This season Canada, Russia, and the USA get two competitors for each event. While the host country is rewarded with three spots, other countries receive one or less.  Points are awarded at each event toward qualification for the JGP Final, where in December the top six competitors in each discipline will compete for prize money.

Three of the 2017 JGP Final teams will not participate in the current season. Anastasia Skoptcova & Kirill Aleshin (RUS) and Christiana Carreira & Anthony Ponomarenko (USA), the gold and silver medalists have advanced to the senior level and will make their Grand Prix debuts at Skate Canada and Grand Prix Helsinki respectively.  Bronze medalists, Sofia Polishchuk & Alexander Vakhnov (RUS) have split. Vakhnov and his new partner, Ksenia Konkina, are listed as substitutes for the early events, while Polishchuk and her new partner are registered to compete at the first Russia Cup event.

The three other Finalists will be back.  At the World Junior Championships in March, the same trio finished only 1.03 points apart. Ushakova & Nekrasov (RUS) were third, Lajoie & Lagha (CAN) were fourth and Shevchenko & Eremenko (RUS) were fifth. They are already the out-front favorites for this year’s Final.  The number of other teams returning for the 2018 JGP season is far less than in previous years, which should give them an advantage over all the newbies.

With only the first four event rosters released, the USA leads the returnees with six, which includes Isabella Amoia & Luca Becker, Sophia Elder & Christopher Elder, Caroline Green & Gordon Green, Eliana Gropman & Ian Somerville, Emma Gunter & Caleb Wein, and Avonley Nguyen & Vadym Kolesnik.

In addition to Ushakova & Nekrasov and Shevchenko & Eremenko, Russia has Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva & Nikita Nazarov returning. Both Eva Kuts & Dmitrii Mikhailov and Polina Ivanenko & Daniil Karpov last competed on the JGP series in 2016 and are listed as substitutes.  Five of the new teams finished between places 7-14 at 2018 Russian Junior Nationals.

Great Britain returns Emily Rose Brown & James Hernandez and Sasha Fear & George Waddell, while Canada has all new teams except Lajoie & Lagha, Ellie Fisher & Simon-Pierre Malette-Paquette and Natalie D’Alessandro & Bruce Waddell. Some of the new duos include one partner who has competed on the JGP series.

The 2018 series starts in Bratislava (SVK) from August 23-25, followed by Linz (AUT) from August 29 -September 1, Kaunas (LTU) from September 5-8, and Richmond (CAN) from September 12-15.  After a one week break, the series returns in Ostrava (CZE) from September 26-29, Ljubljana (SLO) from October 3-6 and concludes in Yerevan (ARM) October 10-13.

All seven events will again be live streamed on the official ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating YouTube Channel.  Additionally, all performances since 2011 are available on demand.



The ISU Junior Grand Prix series kicks off this week in Bratislava, Slovakia.  The roster features 14 teams from 10 countries, but none from the host nation.  2018 marks the sixth time Slovakia has been allotted a JGP event, with Bratislava serving as the host city on five of those occasions.  Teams from Russia won the ice dance title in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2013, with siblings Rachel Parsons & Michael Parsons of the United States capturing gold in 2015. 

In the medal hunt:  Russia’s Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva & Nikita Nazarov are a late addition to this roster and won a silver and gold medal on the series last season.  Eliana Gropman & Ian Somerville of the United States are series veterans and finished fourth at both of their events last year.  

The event gets underway on Friday with the rhythm dance at 11:30 AM (local time), followed by the free dance on Friday at 10:45 AM (local time).  Bratislava is six hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), which converts to 5:30 AM for the rhythm dance on Friday and 4:45 AM for the free dance on Saturday.  The event will be live streamed via the ISU’s JGP Channel.



AUGUST 22-25, 2018
Junior Grand Prix Bratislava