2005 World Junior Figure Skating Championships: Pairs Highlights

The 2005 ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships were held at The Aud – Dom Cardillo Arena, in Kitchener, Canada for the second time (first was in 1987), with over 165 competitors from 42 different countries. The competitive events began February 28 with the Ladies’ Qualifying Round and the Pairs Short Program.

Russia’s Maria Mukhortova and Maxim Trankov were the gold medal winners in the pairs event, while teammates Tatiana Kokoreva and Egor Golovkin had to settle for bronze. Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison of Canada won their second consecutive silver medal.

Short Program

Kokoreva and Golovkin performed their short to Dmitri Shostakovich’s Paraphrase, opening with a good double twist and following up with spread eagles into side-by-side double Axels that were close together and in good sync. The 2004 Russian junior bronze medalists also executed a throw triple toeloop that had good air position and a nice lift to earn a score of 54.46 (a personal best) for a first place finish after the short.

“I think we did well today,” said Kokoreva, adding that they would fight again in the long program. “To skate here is a bit hard because of the time difference,” Golovkin added. “It’s better to skate in Europe, but not better to skate at home, because skating at home means a lot of pressure, and you almost don’t have the right to make any mistake.”

Skating to Raul di Blasio’s Que Te Conoci, Dube and Davison opened with solid side-by-side double Axels followed by a good lift and double twist, but Dube fell on the landing of the throw triple toeloop. Despite the fall, the reigning World Junior silver medalists scored 53.89 points (a personal best), placing a close second behind the Russian leaders after the short.

“We felt we had a very good skate,” said Davison, adding that they felt very relaxed but focused while on the ice. “We had an excellent time,” continued the the 19-year-old. “It was good being in front of the Canadian crowd. Skating in the home country there is a couple of things better.” He explained, “As as skater, you feel more comfortable, and it’s an extra surge of energy, but at the same time, there is a little more pressure, because you’re in front of people that you know and the home crowd is really hoping for you to pull through. We like to perform under pressure. For us, I think it is an advantage being at home.”

Mukhortova and Trankov had considered withdrawing earlier in the competition due to Mukhortova battling a chronic illness and high temperature. Though the team skipped the morning practice, they decided to compete anyway.

While the team opened with good side-by-side double Axels, Mukhortova put her hand down on the landing of a huge triple throw toeloop. The team also had sync problems during the side-by-side spins in which Mukhortova almost lost her balance, but the double twist was good. The 2004-05 Junior Grand Prix Final Champions earned 52.58 points for their comical circus routine to Quidam from Cirque du Soleil, placing third overall after the short.

“We couldn’t train today and we had to work on all the elements during the six minute warm up,” stated Trankov, “but Maria was very courageous today and did well under the circumstances.”

Trankov continued: “She has chronic angina [see note below] and it hasn’t bothered her in a long time. We were afraid that would resurface here at Jr Worlds and that’s what happened. So her immune system wasn’t so strong and the bus ride didn’t help. On the first day she started not feeling very well and had a high temperature and we were considering to withdraw because of that.”

Note: There was some discussion after the press conference as the term “angina” was used. While angina has one medical meaning in English (affiliated with the heart) the term can also have different meanings in other languages (i.e. it can mean a bronchial type of illness).

USA’s Mariel Miller and Rockne Brubaker placed fourth (51.54 points) with a safe but fairly clean performance to Romeo and Juliet.

Angelika Pylkina and Niklas Hogner, the first pair from Sweden to compete internationally since 1962, placed fifth (48.39 points).

Long Program

Standing in third after the short, Mukhortova and Trankov were last to take the ice. Skating to El Dia Que Me Quieras by Raul di Blasio, the reigning World Junior bronze medalists opened with a side-by-side triple toeloop-double toeloop sequence followed by a high triple twist, side-by-side double Axels, a throw triple loop, and a good throw triple Salchow. Despite a small trip by Trankov, the 2004 Russian junior champs displayed earned a score of 98.33 (a personal best), winning the free skate and moving up to first overall (150.91) to win the gold.

“I can’t describe my feelings,” said Trankov, “you have to experience it yourself. I only start to understand now what happened 20 minutes ago.” Trankov felt they had a good performance but admitted that they could do better. “It wasn’t the limit of what we can do but I think it was the limit of what we could do tonight,” he concluded, referring to the fact that Mukhortova is suffering from a throat infection.

Dube and Davison displayed a ton of choreography in their Romeo and Juliet routine, but Dube had a slightly crashy landing on her partner’s shoulder on the triple twist and two-footed the landing on a throw triple Salchow. While the 2003-04 Junior Grand Prix Final Champs had no problems with the side-by-side double Axels, Davison pitched forward a bit on the landing of the double Axel-double toeloop sequence. Dube also fell on a throw triple loop. The team, however, displayed a nice lift which covered nearly half the rink (despite a rough exit) and the final pair spin showed great speed. The 2004 Canadian junior champs earned a score of 92.67 (a personal best) for a second place finish in the long and overall (146.56) to win their second consecutive silver medal at this event.

“We thought we skated pretty well tonight,” said Davison. “We had a few mistakes, we know that, but we’re very proud of ourselves and the way we fought through the season.” Davison also added that they were happy to come to Kitchener and to compete against the Russians “who skated very, very well”. “We’re proud to be in second place to this team.”

Kokoreva and Golovkin, who stood in first after the short, performed their long to The Lady and the Hooligan, opening with a throw triple Salchow followed by a side-by-side triple toeloop-double toeloop combination and a double twist. However, Kokoreva pitched forward on the landing of the throw triple loop, putting her hand down, and both skaters fell on the exit of of a lift.

The errors cost them. The team, who finished fourth in this event last year, earned 89.66 points (a personal best) for a third place finish in the free skate and subsequently slipped to third overall with a total score of 144.12.

“Unfortunately, not everything worked out tonight,” Golovkin told the post-event press conference. “Basically we’re happy with the result, but we were first after the Short Program and would have liked to remain in this position. But Masha (Mukhortova) and Maxim (Trankov) skated very well tonight and deserved to win.”

Pylkina and Hogner delivered a huge lateral triple twist in the opening of their routine to Jalouse Andalouse and All That Remains. Pylkina stepped out of the landing on the side-by-side triple Salchows, but came back to land a big throw triple Salchow. The Swedes also landed a good side-by-side triple Salchow-double flip sequence. Despite a fall on the throw triple toeloop, the team displayed good lifts and earned a score of 89.62 for a fourth place finish in the long. The two-time and current Swedish junior champs maintained fifth place overall with a total score of 138.01.

Miller and Brubaker, who stood in fifth after the short, were the first pair to take the ice in the long. The 2005 US junior champs opened with a somewhat crashy triple twist, but followed up with a throw triple Salchow that had good air position, good side-by-side double Axels, and a side-by-side double Axel-double toeloop sequence. The team earned 88.10 points for their routine to music from the Pearl Harbour soundtrack, maintaining fourth place overall (139.64).

Rebecca Handke and Daniel Wende stood in eighth place after the short but had to withdraw after Wende came down with the flu.

Meagan Duhamel and Ryan Arnold of Canada finished in eighth overall, but landed the first throw triple Lutz (solid) in an ISU competition. The move is now being officially ratified by the International Skating Union (ISU).

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