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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Junior Worlds Pairs Preview

The Russians dominated the Junior Grand Prix this season and swept the podium at the JGP Final.  However, two of the Russian teams that stood on the podium at the Final will not be competing here and two other Russian teams will be trying to earn their spots on the podium.

Not qualifying for this event are Davankova and Deputat, who won the reigning Junior Worlds Bronze Medalists, won the silver medal at the JGPF and have the 2nd best total score of the season; Vigalova and Zakroev, JGPF silver medalists and who have the 3rd best total score of the season; Aaron and Settlage who have the 9th best total score of the season; and Purich and Arcieri who have the 10th best total score of the season.

Yu and Jin are the only medalists from last years Junior Worlds competition to return and have had an uneven season.  They only medaled at one of their JGP assignments and finished 5th at the Final.  They have several seasons of junior experience and have even competed on the senior Grand Prix.  That should give them an advantage along with their throws and twists the Chinese are known for.

Fedorova and Miroshkin swept the junior circuit this year.  They won the JGP Final by a 6 point margin and hold the highest scores of the season.  They made significant improvements between their JGP assignments and the Final and if they have done the same since December they could put up a big score.

Purdy and Marinaro won two golds on the Junior Grand Prix but finished 4th at the Final.  They finished 5th at Junior Worlds last season and have a good shot at the podium.  They have good lines and a beautiful style on the ice.  There is not a big height difference between the two which makes some of the elements more difficult and they do not attempt a triple twist.

Jones and Beharry are a new Canadian team this year and have done well in their first season together.  They won two medals on the JGP and finished 6th at the Final.  They both have experience with other partners and have gelled together quickly.  Beharry competed at Junior Worlds last season but had a disappointing result.  Since they are aging out of juniors after this season, this is their last chance to make it to the Junior Worlds podium.  

Gainetdinova and Bich surprised at Russian nationals last year and qualified for Junior Worlds despite never competing on the Junior Grand Prix.  While they didn't win a medal in their two assignments this season they showed huge improvements between Lake Placid and Croatia.  They should easily be able to break into the top 10 this season.  

Tarasova and Morozov finished 5th in their only JGP assignment but have the 2nd best short program score of the season.  If they can replicate that short program performance and clean up their free skate they can make the podium.    

Prolss and Blommaert have been tearing up the junior B circuit since their JGP assignments.  She also competes internationally in singles and has done well, showing the quality of her jumps.  

Two US teams are looking to make their mark.  Simpson and Blackmer seemed to be hitting a bit of a sophomore slump after they failed to win a JGP medal after winning a medal at the Final last season.  However, they put out solid programs at US nationals to win the junior title.  Denney and Frazier finished 4th at last year's Junior Worlds and recently competed as seniors at US nationals.  They only competed at JGP USA this season due to injuries and seem to be back to top form.

My podium predictions:
Gold: Fedorova/Miroshkin
Silver: Purdy/Marinaro
Bronze: Yu/Jin

Bios of the competitors:
Bell/Sylvester, CAN: They finished 12th at Junior Worlds last season.  They finished 7th at JGP Austria and 6th at JGP Croatia.  Their personal best is 128.74.  She is 16 and he is 18.

Jones/Beharry, CAN: They won gold at JGP Austria and bronze at JGP Germany to qualify for the JGP Final where they placed 6th.  Their personal best is 152.78.  She is 17 and he is 21.  They have the 4th best short program, 4th best free skate and 4th best total scores.

Purdy/Marinaro, CAN: They finished 5th at Junior Worlds last season.  They won gold at JGP USA and gold at JGP Croatia to qualify for the JGPF where they finished 4th.  Their personal best is 149.94.  She is 18 and he is 21.  They have the 3rd best short program, 5th best free skate and 5th best total scores.

Li/Jiang, CHN: They placed 9th at Junior Worlds last season.  They finished 8th at JGP Austria.   Their personal best is 138.92.  She is 15 and he is 20.

Yu/Jin, CHN: They are the reigning World Junior Silver Medalists.  They placed 4th at JGP Austria and won silver at JGP Croatia to qualify for the JGPF where they finished 5th.  Their personal best is 167.48.  She is 17 and he is 18.  They have the 7th best short program, 6th best free skate and 6th best total scores.

Prolls/Blommaert, GER: They placed 6th at JGP USA and 4th at JGP Germany.  Their personal best is 133.48.  She is 13 and he is 20.  They have the 9th best short program and 10th best total scores.

Foresti/Sforza, ITA: They placed 11th at JGP USA and 13th at JGP Germany.  Their personal best is 105.19.  She is 13 and he is 15.

Epstein/Epstein, NED: They placed 17th at Junior Worlds last season.  Their personal best is 86.33.  She is 19 and he is 19.

Lech/Tyc, POL: They placed 13th at JGP Croatia and 12th at JGP Germany.  Their personal best is 98.22.  She is 16 and he is 21.

Fedorova/Miroshkin, RUS: They won silver at JGP Austria and gold at JGP Germany to qualify for the JGPF where they won gold.  Their personal best is 161.11.  She is 15 and he is 18.  They have the best short program, free skate and total scores.

Gainetdinova/Bich, RUS: They finished 11th at Junior Worlds last season.  They placed 7th at JGP USA and 4th at JGP Croatia.  Their personal best is 142.26.  She is 15 and he is 20.  They have the 8th best short program, 7th best free skate and 7th best total scores.

Tarasova/Morozov, RUS: They finished 5th at JGP Croatia.  Their personal best is 137.29. She is 18 and he is 20.  They have the 2nd best short program and 9th best total score.

Lavrentieva/Rudyk, UKR: They finished 14th at Junior Worlds last season.  They placed 11th at Europeans.  They finished 13th at JGP USA and 12th at JGP Austria.  Their personal best is 128.79.  She is 15 and he is 21.

Calalang/Sidhu, USA: They finished 6th at JGP Austria and 8th at JGP Croatia.  Their personal best is 139.32.  She is 18 and he is 21.

Denney/Frazier, USA: They placed 4th at Junior Worlds last season.  They placed 4th at JGP USA.  Their personal best is 150.55.  She is 17 and he is 20.

Simpson/Blackmer, USA: They placed 10th at Junior Worlds last season.  They placed 5th at JGP Austria and 5th at JGP Germany.  Their personal best is 146.35.  She is 16 and he is 21.  They have the 10th best short program and 8th best free skate. 

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