The 2023 ISU Junior Grand Prix (JGP) series kicks off this week in Bangkok, Thailand.
About the series: The ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating was created in the 1997-98 season and is an international series of junior-level figure skating competitions organized by the International Skating Union (ISU). The JGP series provides young figure skaters with the opportunity to compete on an international stage and gain experience in a competitive environment.
The series consists of seven events held in different countries around the world. Skaters from various nations participate in these events, showcasing their skills in singles, pairs, and ice dance categories. For ice dance, each event has a rhythm and free dance phase.
Athletes earn points based on their performances. The six skaters from each discipline who accumulate the most points throughout the series qualify for the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final, which will take place in Beijing, China December 7-10, 2023.
Participating in the Junior Grand Prix series allows young skaters to gain exposure, improve their skills, and prepare for their transition to senior-level competition. Many skaters who excel in the Junior Grand Prix series go on to have successful careers in senior-level international competitions, including the Winter Olympics and the ISU World Figure Skating Championships.
Entry eligibility: To be eligible for the Junior Grand Prix series, both skaters must be at least 13 but not 19 (or 21 for male ice dancers) before the preceding July 1.
Teams to watch: The top four teams from last year’s World Junior Championships have moved up to the senior level.
If you review last year’s JGP Final results as well as the final placements from the 2023 World Championships, several returning teams stand out, including:
Celina Fradji & Jean-Hans Fourneax of France are entering their fourth season as a team. They finished sixth at both the JGP Final and the World Junior Championships last season and are coached by Karine Arribert & Mahil Chantelauze. Their rhythm dance is a rock medley including “Still Loving You” by Scorpions and “Back in Black” by ACDC. The free dance is “Partida” and “Porto Dio” by Rascasuelos.
Team USA’s Leah Neset & Artem Markelov competed in just one JGP event last Fall where they captured the bronze medal. Neset & Markelov were fifth at the World Junior Championships. They are coached by Elena Dostatni and train in Colorado Springs, CO. Their rhythm dance is “Still Loving You” by Scorpions and “I Hate Myself For Loving You” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Their free dance is “Anytime Anywhere” by Sarah Brightman and “Cry” by Thomas Bergerson.
If the entry lists remain the same, Fradji & Fourneax and Neset & Markelov will face off at both of their events – JGP Bangkok and JGP Osaka. Coincidentally, both teams also share the same music for the first part of their rhythm dance.
Germany’s Darya Grimm & Mikhail Savitskiy, who finished fifth at the JGP Final last December and were forced to withdraw from the World Junior Championships after the rhythm dance due to illness (Grimm), will debut at Cup of Austria, the second JGP of the season.
The duo, who trains with Rostislav Sinicyn and Natalia Karamyseva in Oberstdorf, will skate their Rhythm dance to selections from Electric Light Orchestra and Free Dance to “Habanera” from Carmen by Soprano Turezkovo.
Other teams of note competing on the JGP series are Helena Carhart & Volodymyr Horovyi and Elliana Peal & Ethan Peal (USA), Angelina Kudryavtseva & Ilia Karankevich (CYP), and Elizabeth Tkachenko & Alexei Kiliakov (ISR), Ashlie Slatter & Atl Ongay-Perez (GBR) and Chloe Nguyễn & Brendan Giang (CAN). Another team who would have been in the mix after a top 10 placement at the 2023 World Junior Championships, Jenna Hauer & Benjamin Starr (USA), have withdrawn from both of their JGP events.
It’s worth noting that in almost every year since 1998, an ice dance team from the United States has stood on the podium, including winning the title 11 times.
JGP series schedule:
|August 23–26||2023 JGP Bangkok||Bangkok, Thailand|
|August 30 – September 2||2023 JGP Cup of Austria||Austria Linz, Austria|
|September 6–9||2023 JGP Turkey||Istanbul, Turkey|
|September 13–16||2023 JGP Osaka||Osaka, Japan|
|September 20–23||2023 JGP Hungary||Budapest, Hungary|
|September 27–30||2023 JGP Poland||Gdańsk, Poland|
|October 4–7||2023 JGP Armenia||Yerevan, Armenia|