by Laura Flagg | Photo by Katie Weigel
The second-to-last Junior Grand Prix event takes place in Dresden, Germany, this week. Several of the 17 teams scheduled to compete will be looking to secure a spot in the Junior Grand Prix Final.
Both the Russian team of Betina Popova & Yuri Vlasenko and the Canadian team of Brianna Delmaestro & Timothy Lum won silvers at their first event this year, but since only a gold in Dresden will guarantee them a spot in the Final, it seems likely that only one of the two teams will qualify. Popova and Vlasenko will be looking to improve their free dance to “One Thousand and One Nights,” which placed only fourth in the Czech Republic, despite having no major errors. Delmaestro & Lum had a solid and consistent competition in Slovenia and earned a personal best score, both overall and for their fun free dance. Though scores from two different events should not be directly compared, it is worth noting that the two teams scored only .12 points apart in their initial events.
Lorraine McNamara & Quinn Carpenter had a somewhat disappointing competition in Ostrava, Czech Republic, finishing third, behind Popova & Vlasenko. After receiving level 1 for both of the Silver Samba sequences in the short dance, they redeemed themselves in the free dance, earning a new personal best. And short of a massive upset next week in Croatia, winning a gold medal in Germany will earn a trip to the JGP Final for them, but if they finish second, they would need to wait and see what happens next week.
Both McNamara & Carpenter and Popova & Vlasenko qualified for the JGP Final last year, where they placed third and fourth, respectively. Delmaestro & Lum have the chance to qualify for their first Final.
Russians Sofia Evdokimova & Egor Bazin will also be challenging for a medal, after finishing fourth in Ostrava. They will be looking to improve their rhumba and samba short dance, particularly the technical element score, as their free dance performance to music by Goran Bregovic was good enough to place third in that segment.
Americans Julia Biechler & Damian Dodge earned a spot in Germany based on their solid international debut in Slovenia, where they placed fifth. They will be looking to make the most of this opportunity, as they have one more year of junior eligibility.
Like a large portion of their competitors, Danielle Wu & Spencer Soo, representing Canada, and Tina Garabedian & Alexandre Laliberté (pictured, right), representing Armenia, also competed in Ostrava and finished sixth and seventh, respectively. However, Garabedian & Laliberté’s free dance to music from “Once” did place ahead of Wu & Soo’s free dance to music from “Le Roi et l’Oiseau,” so a reversal of the final standings is a possibility.
Skating in their first JGP event of the season are Valeria Gaistruk & Alexei Olejnik. The Ukrainian team, who are also scheduled at next week’s event, are coached by Maria Tumanovskaia. Their free dance will be to “Magic World of the Ocean” from Cirque du Soleil. They will be looking to improve on the eighth- and ninth-place finishes they had in the series last season.
The short dance takes place on Thursday, October 2nd. The free dance takes place on October 3rd.