2004 World Junior Figure Skating Championships: Pairs Highlights

The 2004 ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships were held in The Hague, The Netherlands, for the first time in history, with 176 competitors from 41 different countries. The competitive events began March 1 with the Men’s Qualifying Round and the Pairs Short Program.

The newly-teamed Russian pair of Natalia Shestakova and Pavel Lebedev were the gold medal winners in the Pairs event. Canada’s Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison won the silver while Russia’s Maria Mukhortova (Lebedev’s former partner) and Maxim Trankov took the bronze.

Short Program

Skating to The 7th Bullet soundtrack, Shestakova and Lebedev executed a high throw triple Salchow, a side-by-side double Axel with great sync, and a double twist. The team, which also impressed with a fast straightline footwork sequence and a unique pair spin, received marks from 5.0 to 5.7 for a first place finish after the short.

“Everything was fine,” Lebedev commented. “We just skated and had fun. We were completely calm. We had nothing to loose. We just skated for ourselves and the audience. We showed what we can do and we hope to do the same the day after tomorrow (in the Free Skate).”

Dube and Davison performed a double twist, a side-by-side double Axel that had great sync, and a as well as the throw triple Salchow. Though they had some unison problems in the side-by-side combination spin, the 2004 Junior Grand Prix champions received marks from 4.9 to 5.6 for their routine to Whose Woods These Are for a second place finish after the short.

“We’re very happy with our short program. I felt we did a very good job,” Davison said. “I just lost my concentration a little bit, I made a little mistake on the spin, but overall it was good.”

Mukhortova and Trankov completed a double twist and the throw triple Salchow, but Mukhortova fell on the side-by-side double Axel and their side-by-side spin was out of sync. The team from St. Petersburg earned marks ranging from 4.7 to 5.5 for their routine to the White Nights soundtrack by Isaak Schwartz, placing third after the short.

“We skated last, maybe we got too nervous,” Trankov explained. “We were very well prepared for this competition. Probably we just had bad luck with the starting number. The free skating will be hard too, when we skate first in the group, but we will try everything that’s possible.”

Tatiana Kokareva and Egor Golovkin of Russia placed fourth after the short, followed by Ukraine’s Tatiana Volosozhar and Petr Kharchenko.

Long Program

Skating to the Matrix soundtrack, Shestakova and Lebedev opened with a side-by-side triple Salchow-double toeloop sequence, but Lebedev doubled the first jump and Shestakova stepped out of hers. The team went on to complete a high double twist, a throw triple loop, side-by-side triple toeloops, and a throw triple Salchow. With marks ranging from 4.8 to 5.7, the overnight leaders placed first in the long and overall.

“I still can’t believe it,” said a happy Lebedev. “Maybe I [will] realize it tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.” Referring to the change of partners, he continued, “Last year, we didn’t realize the goals we’ve set for ourselves. So we thought we [would] try to switch partners. I think the change worked for both of us well.”

Shestakova agreed, adding, “Pavel is a very good partner, and I feel comfortable skating with him.” Lebedev added that they will compete in seniors next season.

Dube and Davison performed their long program to Nino Rota’s Romeo and Juliet soundtrack, opening with a triple twist in which Dube had her hands over her head and the pair collided when Davison caught her. The team then executed throw triple Salchow in which Dube pitched slightly forward but landed clean. Davison fell on the side-by-side triple Salchows and their side-by-side spin lost unison. The 2004 Canadian junior champions recovered to land a double Axel-double toeloop sequence and a throw triple loop, receiving marks from 5.1 to 5.8 for a second place finish in the long and overall.

“We’re very happy with our performance,” Davison told the post-event press conference. “We wanted to focus on the second mark, and that’s what we did.” Referring to the fall on the triple Salchow, he explained, “As soon as I was on the back edge, it just didn’t feel good. As soon as I hit that back edge, I knew it wasn’t going to be a swish triple Sal.”

Mukhortova and Trankov, who stood in third place, were first to take the ice in the final flight. Skating to El Dia Que Me Quieras by Raul di Blasio, they opened with side-by-side triple toeloops in which Mukhortova pitched forward and had to fight for the landing. They executed a double twist, a throw triple loop, and a throw triple Salchow. Mukhortova fell on her stomach on the side-by-side double Axels, but they executed good side-by-side flying camels as well as a nice pair spin. The 2004 Russian junior champions earned marks from 4.9 to 5.5 for presentation, placing third in the long and overall to win the bronze.

“We didn’t skate so well in both [the] Short and Free Program,” Trankov commented. “We definitely could have done better. We’ll stay one more year in juniors, and we hope to be strong competitors of the Canadian couple.”

Kokareva and Golovkin (RUS) and Volosozhar finished in fourth place followed by Kharchenko (UKR) placed fifth.

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