Song leads Junior Men at Grand Prix Final

Nan Song of China took the lead with a new personal best of 71.70 points with his performance to The Way Old Friends Do. The skater from Qiqihar landed four triple jumps including a strong triple Lutz-triple toe combo and triple Axel, however, his flip was called on using the wrong take-off edge.

“Today’s program was better than at previous   competitions,” said the 19-year-old. “There were a few mistakes, and I usually don’t make mistakes, so I was surprised. I make some changes after every competition, and I try to keep   improving with each competition.”

USA’s Ross Miner followed by less than one point with his Carmen routine. The 18-year-old executed a strong triple Lutz-triple toe and triple flip, however, he put his hand down on the landing of his triple Axel. The skater also produced solid spins and footwork, and earned a new personal best score of  70.85 points.

“I’m pretty happy with it,” said Miner of his performance. “I did most of what I could do. I felt like I stayed focused till the end. I’m happy with the (seasonal best). I got three pretty solid elements done, so the job is done.”

The U.S. Junior Champion is also enjoying Tokyo. “This is the coolest city I’ve ever been to. The people have even so nice and what a cool building to skate in.”

Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan placed third after a bit of a wobble on the landing of his triple Axel as well as his final combination spin. The Japanese Junior Champion earned 69.85 point for his routine to music from the Mission Impossible 2 soundtrack.

“I’m very happy that I could get points close to my personal best,” said the 14-year-old. “At the same time, I’m upset that I couldn’t beat other skaters. I really feel that the Final is a very special competition. I lost most of the points from my spins, so I’ll work hard on getting better spins. I’m only a few points behind the top skater, so I’ll try my best (in the Free skating). If I do my best, I know I can win tomorrow.”

USA’s Grant Hochstein is currently in fourth with a new personal best of 66.45 points. His routine to Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty featured good spins and footwork, however, his first jump on the triple Lutz-triple toe was called for use of the wrong take-off edge.

“I feel very good,” said the 19-year-old. “I kept pushing. It’s what I’ve been training for. I wanted to go all out. I’m learning a lot.”

In fifth place with 62.44 points  is Artur Gachinski of Russia. The 16-year-old’s routine to Albinoni’s Adagio featured good footwork, however, he touched down on the triple Axel and was called for use of the wrong edge on his triple flip.

“It wasn’t so good today,” noted Gachinski. “I don’t know why I didn’t skate my best today. I was feeling good and my preparation for this event went really well.”

USA’s Richard Dornbush gave a clean performance (with the exception of a doubled flip) to Paint it Black by Rolling Stones. The 18-year-old scored 59.35 points.

Stanislav Kovalev of Russia placed seventh (57.69 points), followed by Japan’s Kento Nakamura (57.16 points).

Nakamura, 18, had a rough skate after falling on both his triple Axel and triple flip. “The warm-up went well. I’m a little surprised that I made two errors. I felt my balance was slightly off on those jumps. I’ll forget about my mistakes today and try not to make any tomorrow. This is my first time at the Final, so many people don’t know me yet. I think I have big, fluid movements and I want to keep on improving so that people will say that they want to see my performance.”

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