ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final – Day 1

Alysa Liu (USA), Andrei Mozalev (RUS) and pair skaters Apollinariia Panfilova/Dmitry Rylov (RUS) took the lead as the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final opened with the Junior Men’s, Ladies and Pairs Short Programs Thursday in Torino (ITA) in the 2006 Olympic venue Palavela.

Mozalev (RUS) takes Junior Men Short Program in Torino
Andrei Mozalev of Russia skated to the lead in Junior Men’s Short Program. Teammate Daniil Samsonov follows in second place and Japan’s Shun Sato came third.

Skating to the Russian rock opera “Yunona and Avos”, Mozalev landed a triple loop, triple Axel, triple Lutz-triple toe combination and collected a level four for two spins. The Croatia Cup Champion scored 82.45 points. “I feel very comfortable here at the Final. It is great to be here. I am happy with my skate, but there is always something that could be better. There is no limit to perfection,” Mozalev said. “I competed in Sochi at a Russian event and in Warsaw (Challenger Series event) . These were test events for me before the Final. I just did my job. I was skating senior and I did a (quad) toe instead of a triple loop as the first jump, because in seniors I can do a quad in the short program and I used that opportunity,”  he added.

Samsonov fell on his opening triple Axel in his routine to “Rain, In Your Black Eyes” by Ezio Bosso, but recovered to produce a triple loop, triple Lutz-triple toe combination and level-four spins and footwork. The 14-year-old earned 77.75 points. “I’m as happy as I can be considering the fall. I tried to keep going and not lose too many points but just continue to the next elements,” he commented. “I was just a bit nervous to be skating in such a big competition in such a big arena with so many people. But, when you have a lot of people you have a lot of support too,” he continued.

Sato put out a clean performance to “Arivee des Camionneurs” by Michel Legrand that included a triple Axel, the triple loop and triple Lutz-triple toe combination to pick up 77.25 points. “I’m satisfied with my performance today. I think I did 80% comparing to perfection. I would like to get a medal, but first I need to do my best and stay calm and concentrated,” the JGP Lake Placid Champion noted.

Defending ISU Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalist Petr Gumennik (RUS) placed fourth at 72.16 points. 2019 World Junior bronze medalist Daniel Grassl (ITA) is currently ranked fifth on 71.95 points and Yuma Kagiyama (JPN) stand in sixth place (71.19 points).

Panfilova/Rylov (RUS) capture Junior Pairs Short Program
2019 World Junior silver medalists Apollinariia Panfilova/Dmitry Rylov led the Russian pairs to a sweep in the Junior Pairs Short Program. Kseniia Akhanteva/Valerii Kolesov placed second while Diana Mukhametzianova/Ilya Mironov are currently ranked third.

Panfilova/Rylov’s program to “Matrix” featured a huge triple twist, a throw triple flip and a spectacular reverse lasso lift as well as level four footwork. However, Panfilova’s double Axel was a bit shaky and the death spiral merited only a level one. The reigning ISU Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalists scored 68.80 points. “To come here as the leaders for the first time didn’t change anything inside – we still want to do our best. But it gives us extra confidence,” Panfilova commented. “We are not a 100 percent satisfied. On three elements we did not as well as we could have done. We could have received more points and also get more in the components. We got a minus on the Axel and on the death spiral and maybe on the spin and we didn’t get that many plusses on the throw. At the end of the step sequence, I just improvised a bit because we were ahead of the music,” Rylov shared.

Skating to “The Cloud Atlas” soundtrack, Akhanteva/Kolesov produced a triple twist, throw triple flip as well as three level-four elements to earn 66.64 points. “In general we are quite satisfied with the skate today, we completed the task we set for ourselves for this skate. In the free skate we will be trying to show the highest quality of the elements,” Akhanteva said. “We are aiming for gold, but most important is to show clean programs in both short and free skating,” her partner added.

Mukhametzianova/Mironov completed a triple twist, throw triple flip and a double Axel in their Czardas routine. The JGP Zagreb silver medalists received 64.90 points. “It could have gone better, but considering we changed our program less than a month ago I think it was OK. We didn’t decide to change it, our coaches did. I think we understand this program better and it shows our quality more,” Mironov explained.

Alina Pepeleva/Roman Pleshkov (RUS) are not far behind in fourth place at 64.67 points. Iuliia Artemeva/Mikhail Nazarychev (RUS) placed fifth (63.89 points) and the only non-Russian team in the event, Annika Hocke/Robert Kunkel (GER), are sitting in sixth with 59.47 points.

Liu (USA) lands triple Axel to take Junior Ladies Short Program
Alysa Liu (USA) landed a triple Axel-triple toeloop to take a narrow lead in the Junior Ladies Short Program. Russia’s Daria Usachva and Kseniia Sinitsyna came second and third.

Skating to “Don’t Rain on My Parade”, Liu hit a triple Axel-triple toeloop combination, a triple loop and double Axel. The U.S. Champion collected a level four for her spins and a level three for the step sequence to score 71.19 points. The triple Axel is not allowed as the solo Axel in the Junior Ladies Short Program, but it is possible to do it in combination. “My short program felt pretty good. I was very happy with it. I’m just trying to enjoy the moment even during the program. I don’t really get nervous and I don’t feel barely any pressure. I just tell myself it’s just another competition,” Liu said. “Tomorrow I’m planning two quad Lutzes and two triple Axels and hopefully show them completed and landed and there’ll be some changes to the choreography,” the JGP Lake Placid Champion continued.

Usacheva’s program to “Please Don’t Make Me Love You” by Linda Eder was highlighted by a triple loop, triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination and level-four spins. The 13-year-old was awarded 70.15 points. “I expected a good result but of course you always want to do and get more. In general I was not nervous today, I was quite confident and was trying to imagine like I was skating on my practice. I had a good day and was in a good mood,” Usacheva shared. “Of course I see these Olympic rings in the arena and they give it the special atmosphere, they make you feel something huge that everyone dreams to go to the Olympic Games,” she added.

Sinitsyna completed a triple loop, triple Lutz-triple toeloop and double Axel in her Flamenco-themed routine to “Alfonsina Y El Mar” by Ane Brun. The JGP Egna Champion picked up 69.40 points. “I skated clean but I wanted even better, but it is what it is. I’m happy, but not fully. I want my skating, and every movement and every step, to be perfect. I want to tell a story, show creativity and express the music,” the 15-year-old noted.

Kamila Valieva (RUS) remains close to the podium in fourth place on 69.02 points. Viktoria Vasilieva (RUS) follows in fifth (68.07 points) while Haein Lee (KOR) finished sixth with 65.39 points.

The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final 2019/20 continues Friday with the Junior Rhythm Dance & Junior Ladies Free Skating, Rhythm Dance, Ladies Short Program and Pairs Free Skating.