Golden Skate

Haynu captures gold in Tokyo

Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan won the Junior men’s event after placing first in the freeskate with his routine to Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. The 14-year-old, who stood in third after the short program, gave a solid performance with the exception of a fall on a triple Axel.

The Japanese Junior Champion otherwise landed seven triple jumps, produced good footwork and spins, and earned a new personal best of 136.92 points. His total score of  206.77 was also a new personal best.

“I didn’t expect that I could win,” mused Hanyu. “My jumps were not good coming into the competition, but what’s important is doing them in competition. I only thought about completing each element as I went along.”

China’s Nan Song slipped from first to second overall after his freeskate to Once Upon a Time in America. Though he had no falls, the 19-year-old only landed six triples (including two triple Axels) to Hanyu’s seven after doubling a loop. However he received a level 4 on all of his spins and displayed good footwork. He earned a new personal best for his long program (71.70 points), as well as a new personal best score of 133.29 points.

“I was a little nervous today,” admitted Song. “I skated last and I felt the pressure. Overall it was still quite good. I need to improve some technical aspects for the future. It was an honor for me to compete in this Junior GPF.”

USA’s Richard Dornbush, who stood in sixth after the short program, rallied back to place  third in the long program with a new personal best of 132.45 points. The 18-year-old landed a total of eight triple jumps, including a triple Axel-triple toe combination in his routine to Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 1. He finished fourth overall with 191.80 points.

“I felt really good,” said Dornbush, “especially after the short program to go out there and to the two triple Axels. It was a great feeling and the crowd was really receptive, that was awesome.”

“It a matter of attack,” he continued. “You have to go out there and attack the program from start to finish, and mostly I think it was a mind set thing. I definitely came in today. I was a bit of the underdog and I really wanted to improve on my standing.”

“It’s late in the season and we’ve worked on the program a lot,” Dornbush said of his new personal best. “I set my seasonal best in August, and that was pretty early in this season. So mostly I think it’s just that my programs have matured and my ability to skate has matured.”

Teammate Ross Miner placed fourth in the long program (125.24 points), and slipped to third overall with 196.09 points. The 18-year-old also received a level 4 on all three of his spins, but struggled with the landing of his triple Lutz.

“I could have skated little better today, but I’m pretty happy with the results,” said the U.S. Junior Champion. “I think I could have attacked a little bit more. I thought I was a little tentative and a little stiff. I really should have gone for it like I did for the short program.”

USA’s Grant Hochstein placed fifth in the long program with a new personal best of 121.47 points, and overall with another personal best of 187.92 points. His Romeo and Juliet routine featured seven triple jumps, however, the 19-year-old fell on a triple Axel and later struggled with a double Axel.

“It was good overall,” said Hochstein. “I was expected to win this game but I’m very proud of what I did today. I always skate to win, but I feel a difference in me since I skated for myself. I learned a lot from this competition – especially preparation for it. I was pushing myself to be better in each practice and have confidence in what I can do. I will compete at Senior Nationals for the first time this season, and I’m very excited about it. First I set my goal as to be in top 8, but I could change it to be in top 6 and try hard to be qualified for Junior Worlds.”

Russians Artur Gachinski and  Stanislav Kovalev finished in sixth and seventh respectively overall, while Kento Nakamura of Japan remained in eighth place.

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