This week, the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series heads to Zagreb, Croatia for its seventh and final stop. Eighteen teams representing 15 countries will take the ice with two slots at the Junior Grand Prix Final on the line.
The first four Final spots belong to Americans Lorraine McNamara & Quinn Carpenter (30 points), followed by Alla Loboda & Pavel Drozd and Betina Popova & Yuri Vlasenko of Russia and Marie-Jade Lauriault & Romain Le Gac of France (all with 28 points). Many of the contenders from the first Junior Grand Prix of the season, in Bratislava, Slovakia, are also on the roster for Croatia.
American siblings Rachel & Michael Parsons are favorites for gold in Zagreb. After winning a host of silver and bronze medals over the past several seasons on the JGP series, the duo won gold at the first JGP of the season in Bratislava, Slovakia. A medal of any color would qualify the team for their second JGP Final. They finished sixth in 2013. The final JGP spot will depend on the placement of three teams.
France’s Angelique Abachkina & Louis Thauron are on the cusp of qualifying for their first JGP Final after a silver medal performance in their first event in Riga, Latvia. A silver in Croatia would allow the team to punch their ticket to Spain, but a bronze would force a tiebreaker if either of the Russian teams on the roster snag silver here.
Sofia Shevchenko & Igor Efremenko of Russia are in their first season on the JGP series and already have a bronze medal from Bratislava, while Anastasia Skoptcova & Kirill Aleshin won bronze in Poland.
Audrey Croteau-Villaneuve & Jeff Hough are competing in their second event this season. The Canadians finished sixth in Bratislava.
Making their JGP debut are American siblings Gigi & Luca Becker (pictured). LIke the Parsons, the Beckers are coached by Alexei Kiliakov, Elena Novak and Dmytri Ilin and train in Rockville, MD. The duo finished fifth in their international debut in August at the inaugural Lake Placid Ice Dance International.
The short dance will be contested on Friday, with the event concluding on Saturday with the free dance.