Rippon takes Junior World title

USA's Adam Rippon, 18, won the World Junior title in his first appearance at this event.

USA’s Adam Rippon won the Men’s title in this event, while Russia’s Artem Borodulin won silver, and Jinlin Guan of China took bronze.

Performing to Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven, Rippon demonstrated his artistry and fluid movement with the intricate choreography of his routine. The 2007-08 JGP Final champion had a rough start when he two-footed the landing of his second jump in a triple flip-triple toeloop combination, but quickly recovered to produce a triple Lutz, a triple loop, and a double Axel.

The 18-year-old also struggled with a planned double Axel-half loop-triple Salchow sequence, but otherwise landed a triple Lutz-double toeloop-double loop combination and a triple flip. He also earned a level 4 on all three spins and displayed complex level 3 footwork in which he used his entire body.

The U.S. Junior champion placed first in the long with 130.55 (66.27/64.28) points, and maintained his overnight lead with a total score of 199.90 points to win the title.

“Coming into Jr Worlds I had a lot of expectations for myself,” Rippon later told the press, “not for results, but for my skating. I put a lot of pressure on myself and before the short program I told myself ‘I had to just shut my head off’, and I think I did a pretty good job of doing that for the short program.”

Rippon added that he tried to do the same for his long program and just run on auto-pilot. “The pressure of Jr Worlds is so much and to be able to perform not my best, but to still be able to perform well, [makes me] very happy.”

Rippon has one more year of eligibility as a Junior, but he hopes to move on to the Senior level next season. “My goal next season is to skate well all season and to skate like a senior. To be able to bring my technical content up to the senior level.”

The Pennsylvanian credits his improvement in style and choreograph to his coach, Nikolai Morozov. “I turned my training around from skating with some lower level skaters,” explained Rippon. “I started skating with Miki Ando and Daisuke Takahashi, and when I first started skating with them I really felt inferior. Now when I step on the ice with them I don’t feel their equal in the sense that they’re world champions and world silver medalists, but I feel like I belong in the same crowd as them.”

“I think skating with different skaters, as well as Nikolai changing my perspective on feeling the music, has really helped,” Rippon continued. “My jumps [are] more consistent. All together, it has really brought my skating to a new level. And I’m very thankful to Nikolai for that.”

Borodulin showed that he could interpret both lyrical and dramatic music with excellent speed and flow in his routine to Concerto de Berlin by Vladimir Cosma. The 2007 Russian Junior silver medalist two-footed the second jump of his triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination, but otherwise delivered six more triple jumps, including a solid triple Axel and triple flip-double toeloop-double loop combination.

The 18-year-old also produced dramatic level 1 straightline footwork, which received positive GOEs, as did his level 4 combination change spin. He placed second with a new personal best of 128.61 (67.17/61.44) points, and second overall with a total score of 194.77 points.

“I’m very pleased with my performance,” Borodulin later told the press. “I think I performed very strong. I did everything that I could do. The most important thing for me was to land the triple Axel and I did that. It was ideal. The placement does not depend on me, it depends on the judges, but I’m happy.”

Borodulin, who was seventh at this event last year, has shown significant improvement since. “I started skating in the city of Perm and there was a very good skating school there,” he explained. ” The school gave me everything they could, but then I felt I needed to take the next step and moved to Moscow. Now I’m training with Elena Buianova and Tatiana Tarasova. They really help me a lot and each practice is a progress for me. It has made me master the most difficult elements.”

Borodulin plans to move to the senior circuit next season. “I can’t really define my goals yet,” he said. “I’ll go on the senior grand prix next season and see how I skate there.”

Jinlin Guan of China produced a very solid routine to music by Yo Yo Ma and Ennio Morricone which featured seven triple jumps including a triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination. The JGP finalist also produced very good spins, two of which received a level 4, as well as good footwork. The 18-year-old received positive GOEs on all his elements, earning 127.13 (68.49/58.64) points for a third place finish in the long and overall (189.60 points).

“I’m very happy I completed all of the elements in the program successfully,” said Guan. “I think that’s the most important part for me. I didn’t think too much about the scores, I just tried to finish all the elements. I’m really happy for the results.”

This is Guan’s fourth appearance at Junior Worlds. He placed fifth in 2005, 18th in 2006, and was sixth last year. ” I just trained very hard every day,” he said of his improvement. “I tried to improve myself, my performance especially, in the past couple of years. I feel really good in each competition.”

“For me the season is not finished yet because we have our Chinese Nationals,” Guan continued. “After Nationals I will take some time and think about what I will do next season (regarding junior or senior level competitions). I will try to have some harder technical elements in my program.”

Canada’s Kevin Reynolds, who stood in 13th after the short program, nailed his opening quadruple Salchow in his program, but then two-footed and fell on the landing of a quadruple toeloop. He later nearly lost his balance during his circular footwork, but otherwise landed eight triple jumps, three of which were in combination, and earned a level 4 on two of his spins. The 17-year-old placed fourth in the long with 125.01 (74.09/51.92) points, and catapulted to sixth place overall with a total score of 180.78 points.

“It was not bad,” said Reynolds. “I thought the quality of each element was really good for me, except for the toe (quad) of course. I was actually happy with my performance. The Salchow (quad) and the Axel (triple) I was really happy with. It’s the first time I’ve landed it (the Axel) in the long program, and putting it after the half-way mark to get the bonus.”

“This year was a big step in terms of performance,” he said of his experience in Sofia. “I think I’ve made a great improvement in the performance aspect. Regardless of the result, I’m happy with my skates here.”

USA’s Brandon Mroz placed fifth in the long with 122.84 (66.00/56.84) points for his routine to King of the Forest by Edvin Marton. The JGP Final silver medalist showed good power and speed, nailing his opening triple Axel-double toeloop combination and second triple Axel. Though he later struggled on the landing of a triple flip, he landed five more triple jumps total, and earned a level 4 on all his spins. With a total score of 186.20 points, however, the U.S. Junior silver medalist slipped from third to fourth overall.

Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic produced a technically solid routine which contained six triple jumps, including a triple Axel in combination with a triple toeloop. The 17-year-old earned positive GOES on most of his elements, and placed sixth in the long with a new personal best of 122.29 (65.21/57.08) points. However, with a total score of 184.40 points, he was able to maintain fifth place overall.

Russia’s Ivan Bariev, who stood in 10th after the short, placed seventh in the long with 116.67 (62.47/55.20) points, and rose to seventh overall (175.06 points). The 2007-08 JGP finalist fell on a triple Lutz, and later put his hands down on the landing of a triple Salchow. Despite the errors, the 16-year-old landed five clean triple jumps and produced very good circular and straightline footwork.

Jeremy Ten of Canada placed eighth in the long (115.05 points) and overall (173.34 points). The 19-year-old struggled on the landing of his opening triple Lutz and later stepped out of a double Axel. He otherwise produced five more triple jumps, three of which were in combination, and earned a level 4 on two of his spins.

“I went out there and I had a little bit of a rough warm-up,” explained Ten, “but I was proud of myself for putting it behind me and going out there and doing my best. It’s the first time in competition I’ve done the triple flip-double toeloop-double loop combination. I did three combinations, so I’m really proud of that. I went out there and did my best and that’s all I can do.”

Chao Yang of China, who stood in 24th after the short, finished ninth in the long (112.66 points) and 15th overall (158.48 points). The 18-year-old from Harbin landed six triple jumps and earned a level 4 on his combination sit spin.

USA’s Tommy Steenberg slipped from sixth to ninth overall (166.64 points) after placing 13th in the long program (105.31 points). The 19-year-old fell on his opening triple Axel, popped a triple Lutz, and later stumbled out of his second jump in a double Axel-double toeloop combination.

Florent Amodio of France finished in 10th place overall with 164.79 points, followed by teammate Kim Lucine (164.61 points).

The event continues with the Ladies Short Program and the Free Dance.

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