Golden Skate

Ilinykh and Katsalapov take gold

Russia’s Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov easily won the title b more than 15 points, while Alexandra Paul and Mitchell Islam of Canada won silver.  Russia’s Ksenia Monko and Kirill Khaliavin maintained third overall to win the bronze.

Ilinykh and Katsalapov delivered a powerful routine to music from Schindler’s List and Fiddler on the Roof which featured difficult lifts and footwork.

“The theme of our free dance is actually very serious,” explained Katsalapov. “The theme is the war, concentration camps and I am playing the role of (Oskar) Schindler and I’m saving Elena.”

The  Russian Junior silver medalists also produced synchronized twizzles and earned a level 4, along with positive Grades of Execution (GoE), on all of their elements. They scored a new personal best of 90.82 (44.60/46.22), and with a total score 188.28 points, of easily out-distanced their competitors to win the gold.

“It is so exciting for us,” said Ilinykh. “I never thought that we would win Junior Worlds.”

Paul and Islam placed second in the free dance with a new personal best of 83.15 (41.50/41.65) points. Their routine to Sheherazade featured three difficult level 4 lifts, as well as level 4 twizzles. Their circular and diagonal footwork were awarded a level 3 and all elements received positive GoEs. The Canadian Junior Champions placed second overall with a total score of 172.37 points.

“It’s been a really good week for Alex and I,” said Islam. “We’ve been training for this. We laid down three really good skates, three personal bests. We couldn’t be more proud of ourselves.”

Monko and Khaliavin executed difficult level 4 lifts and twizzles in their blues routine, however their circular footwork was only graded a level 2. The team placed fifth in the free dance with 81.09 points, but with a total score of 168.81, were able to maintain third place overall.

“Our performance today was far from ideal,” admitted Khaliavin. “The Compulsory and Original Dance went better for us. Today we made some mistakes, but overall it was decent. It was as successful season for us.”

Lorenza Alessandrini and Simone Vaturi of Italy, who stood in fifth after the Original Dance (OD), placed third in the free dance with a new personal best of 82.87 (41.90/41.97) points. The team earned a level 4 on all elements except for level 3 diagonal and circular footwork, and received positive GoEs on all elements. However, with a total score of 167.84, they were only able to maintain fifth place overall.

USA’s  Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani placed fourth in the free dance (81.84) and just missed the podium by less than half a point with a total score of 168.35 points. The defending silver medalists also earned a level 4 on all elements except for level 3 diagonal and circular footwork, and were awarded positive GoEs on all elements in their routine to Tango Rhapsody.

Ekaterina Pushkash and Jonathan Guerreiro of Russia also delivered a solid performance which was highlighted by difficult lifts and level 4 twizzles. The team placed sixth overall (162.16 points), followed by  USA’s Rachel Tibbetts and Collin Brubaker.

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