Golden Skate

Murakami captures gold

Kanako Murakami of Japan captured the gold in the Ladies event, while USA’s Agnes Zawadzki catapulted from eighth place to win the silver. Russia’s Polina Agafonova took the bronze.

Murakami delivered a strong performance to Swan Lake which featured five triple jumps, including a triple Salchow-double loop-double loop combination. The error was an edge call for use of the wrong take-off edge on her opening triple Lutz, and she doubled her first jump in what was supposed to be a triple Salchow-double Axel.

Nevertheless, the  reigning Junior Grand Prix Final Champion showed very good level 3 straight line footwork, and earned a level 4 for all three spins. All elements were awarded  positive Grades of Execution (GoE) for  except the triple Lutz, and she scored a new personal best of 106.47 (56.71/49.76) points for a first place finish in the long.

With a total score of 165.47, the  15-year-old easily rose to first overall to win the gold.

“I did very well today,” observed the Japanese Junior Champion. “There was only one disappointment – I missed the triple Salchow. I just did a double.”

“It is such a strange feeling that I’m here,” continued Kanako with a smile. “I haven’t yet decided whether I will compete in juniors or seniors, but I hope to show better performances next season.”

Zawadzki also received an edge call on a triple flip, but otherwise landed five clean triple jumps including a triple Lutz-double toe. The 15-year-old was awarded a level 4 on all spins and received high GOEs on her second triple Lutz as well as a double Axel-double toe combination. She earned 105.81 (58.21/47.60) for “Chicago” routine, placing second in the long and overall (156.79) to capture the silver.

“This meant a lot because it’s my first international and getting second is great,” said the U.S. Junior Champion. “I didn’t have much experience coming into it, but I think I gained a lot and I learned a lot. I was a little disappointed (yesterday), because I’ve been doing clean shorts in competitions. My coach just told me to trust my training and so I did. I felt pretty confident and relaxed .”

Russia’s  Polina Shelepen opened with a good double Axel-triple toe in her routine to Polovetsian Dances, however, the Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalist stepped out of a triple Salchow-triple toe as well as a triple flip which also received an edge call. She otherwise landed three more triple jumps and earned a level 4 on all spins to place third with 100.23 (56.95/43.28) points.

With a total score of 151.65, the Russian Junior bronze medalist was able to rise from seventh to fourth overall.

Teammate Agafonova scored a new personal best of 97.99 (55.03/42.96) for her routine to Romeo and Juliet which featured six triple jumps, however a triple flip received an edge call. She otherwise earned a level 4 on all spins including an outstanding layback with earned +1.40 GoEs.

The Russian Junior Champion placed fourth in the long, but with a total score of 154.27 was able to main third overall to win the bronze.

“I did everything I could,” said the 13-year-old. “I’m for the first time at this competition and I didn’t expect to be third right away. I had hoped to make the top ten.”

USA’s Kiri Baga earned a new personal best of 94.70 (48.14/46.56) points for her routine to music by Maksim Mrvica. The  14-year-old put out a solid skate which was highlighted by a her level 4 spins and five good triple jumps. She placed fifth in the long and seventh overall with 146.98 points.

USA’s Christina Gao, who stood in ninth after the short, placed sixth in the long (94.52) and eighth overall (143.86). The Junior Grand Prix Final bronze medalist landed six triple jumps but received an edge call on a triple Lutz and struggled with a triple loop. She otherwise gave a good performance which featured level 3 straight line footwork as well as two level 4 spins.

Overnight leader Anna Ovcharova had a disappointing skate, falling on a triple flip and a triple Lutz and struggling with several others. The  Russian Junior silver medalist finished eighth in the long and slipped from first to fifth overall (147.52).

Kate Charbonneau of Canada put a hand down on a triple Lutz, but otherwise had a solid skate which featured four good triple jumps and two level 4 spins. The 16-year-old placed seventh (93.66) in the long and sixth overall (147.46) points.

Joshi Helgesson of Sweden finished ninth overall (138.13), followed by Germany’s Julia Pfrengle and France’s Lena Marrocco.

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