Looking at their resumes, the team that should win this in a walk is Alexandra Stepanova & Ivan Bukin of Russia. Their personal best score is over 20 points higher than any of the other teams here has ever achieved. They are the junior World silver medallists, and the JGPF bronze medallists. However, having just watched their SD from the recent Russian test skate, they looked somewhat under trained to me. Given the fussiness of the current SD rules, I do not expect this event to be a 20 point runaway. I do not see how they can avoid winning however. Predicting the other medallists is more tricky. Madeline Edwards and Zhao Kai Pang of Canada, who recently won the bronze medal at JGP Courchevel have to be high in the running. However, Jean-Luc Baker and Kaitlin Hawayek, a new team from the US, defeated Edwards and Pang at Lake Placid IDC this summer. We should be keeping an eye on them, too. I favor Jean-Luc and Kaitlin particularly because of their strength at LPIDC in the short dance, a weaker point for Edwards & Pang. There are a number of promising teams who could sneak in if these falter.
Shari Koch & Christian Nüchtern skated to a fourth place finish at JGP Austria last week. Although Carolina Prochazkova & Michal Ceska of Czech Republic only finished seventh in Linz, their free dance performance was a disaster, marked by three separate deductions. I am looking to see them improve their placing here. And one can never ignore new Russian teams, and there is one here, Kristina Baklanova & Andrei Bagin, coached by Svinin & Zhuk who used to train Khoklova & Novitski. Finally, there is the very young American team of Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter, whom I do not expect to win, place, or show, but who should again win the hearts of the crowd, especially with their different and charming Zombies Short Dance, and set themselves up well for the next JGP season.
Alexandra Stepanova & Ivan Bukin RUS
Their ISU biography has not been updated.
Their coaches are Alexander Svinin & Irina Zhuk. Their choreographers are Irina Zhuk & Igor Pivorovich. Alexandra is 17. Ivan just turned 19. They have skated together siuce 2006. Ivan's father is the famous ice dancer Andrei Bukin, who with his partner, Natalia Bestemaniova, won the 1988 Olympic gold medal, and four successive World championships from 1985 to 1988. Ivan is the former partner of Elena Illinykh.
Their personal best score of 149.98 was achieved last year at the ISU JGP Trofeo W. Lombardi. They placed second at Russian Junior Nationals last year. They placed second at Junior Worlds, and third at the Junior Grand Prix Final. They are the overwhelming favorites at this competition.
Their SD from the recent Russian Test Skate:
Madeline Edwards and Zhao Kai Pang CANSD Blues: Why Don't You Do Right; Swing: Mr. Pinstripe Suit by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
FD George Valentin (from The Artist soundtrack) by Ludovic Bource; Waltz for Peppy (from The Artist soundtrack) by Ludovic Bource; Peppy and George (from The Artist soundtrack) by Ludovic Bource
Madeline & Zhao Kai made their debut on the JGP last year at JGP Innsbruck, where they placed 5th and scored their highest total score of 122.90. They are coached by Wing & Lowe. Madeline is 16 and Zhao Kai is 17.
They are the reigning Canadian Junior Silver medallists. They did a wonderful job recently at BC Summer Skate, where they scored 52.51 in winning the SD. They withdrew from the FD. They also competed at LPIDC, where they won their group in the FD with a score of 70.19, the highest score recorded for any of the three sections there.
Their Coaches & Choreographers are Megan Wing & AaronLowe.
At LPIDC, their SD scored 47.99 (second in their section, 3rd highest event wide)
At LPIDC, their FD scored 70.19 (first in their section & highest event wide)
Max internationally, 122.9 at JGP Austria last year.
2nd at Canadian Junior Nationals
They recently competed at JGP Courchevel, where they won the bronze medal, with a score of 113.73.
Their FD from JGP Courchevel:
Kaitlyn Hawayak & Jean-Luc Baker USA
SD Blues: Minnie the Moocher performed by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy; Swing: Gimme Some Rhythm Daddy performed by The Brian Setzer Orchestra
FD Singing in the Rain (soundtrack) by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed
Kaitlin is 15, nearly 16. Jean-Luc is almost 19. Their current coaches are Camerlengo, Krylova, Scali, Annenko-Deller & Elizabeth Punsalan. Their choreographers are Camerlengo & Krylova. Jean-Luc skated with Joylyn Yang previously. Joylyn was severely injured and retired from skating. Kaitlin formerly skated with Michael Bramante. This is a new pairing. Kaitlin & Jean-Luc skated at the Lake Placid IDC competition this summer, where they won their section in the short dance with a score of 51.21. Of the three sections, Hawayek and Baker scored less only than Aldridge & Eaton, and that by less than two points. The field included Edwards & Pang and Macnamara & Carpenter, two teams that will also compete here in Turkey. They also won their section of the Free Dance, giving them a total score for the event of 66.85+51.21 = 118.06. I would not be at all surprised to see them in the top six here.
Here is a photo from their free dance at Lake Placid:
Shari Koch & Christian Nüchtern GER
SD Feeling Good; Hey Pachuco
FD Big Spender; Fever;
Christian is 20, and Shari will be turning 19 later this month.
Their ISU bio has not been updated this season.
Their coach is Oleg Ryzhkin, and their choreographer is Rostislav Sinicyn.
Their best ever personal score was 124.35 at JGP Trofeo W. Lombardi last season, where they finished 4th. They also finished fourth at the JGP Austria 2012 Linz competition this last week, where their total score was 117.56. Perhaps they will be able to medal at this competition, especially if they can improve their pattern dance score.
Their SD at JGP Austria
Their FD at JGP Austria
Lorraine McNamara & Quinn Carpenter USA
SD Hip-Hop: Ramalama Bang Bang by Roisin Murphy; Blues: Zombie Blues by Flipron; Hip-Hop: Ramalama Bang Bang by Roisin Murphy
FD Le Balcon by Gerard Presgurvic; Les Rois Du Monde by Gerard Presgurvic
Lorraine is 13 & Quinn is 16. Their coaches & choreographers are Alexei Kiliakov, Elena Novak & Dmytri Ilin from the up and coming Wheaton Academy rink in MD. Lorraine & Quinn won the bronze medal in Juniors at the US Nationals in Juniors last year. They were second in the SD at LPIDC in their section, this summer with a score 44.60, and third in the FD at LPICD, scoring 66.20 in their section.
They made their international debut at JGP Courchevel where they finished 6th, with their personal best (and only) total score of 108.33.
Their Zombies Short Dance, performed at JGP Courchevel:
Kristina Baklanova & Andrei Bagin RUS
SD Swing; Blues; Swing
They have no ISU biography on file.
Here is their SD from the 2012 Russian Junior Nationals.
Their highest score of 120.60 in the 2011 Junior Russia Cup was in third leg, where they finished third. They finished tenth in 2012 at Russian Junior Nationals with a score of 117.35
Here's their SD at Russian Junior Nationals:
Carolina Prochazkova & Michal Ceska CZE
SD Blues by Michael Buble; Swing by Parov Stelar
FD Latin Selection by Marc Anthony
Karolina is 18, and Michal just turned 20 this month.
Their coaches are Rostislav Sinicyn and Natalia Karamyseva, and their choreographers are Rostislav Sinicyn and Igor Tchinaev
This is their third year on the JGP. Their best ever score was 116.81 at the Volvo Cup last year.
They are the 2010 junior champions of Czech Republic, and placed third in seniors in the national championships last year. They competed at the World Junior Championships where they finished 21st. They won the 2012 Bavarian Open in Oberstdorf in juniors.
They recently competed at JGP Linz, where they finished seventh, with a score of 113.58. Indeed, they would have finished higher if they had not incurred -3 points in deductions, for losing a piece of a costume, an extended lift, and an extra, illegal element.
Their FD from JGP Austria
Sofia Sforza & Francesco Fioretti ITA
SD Swing, Brother Swing; Blues
Their ISU biography has not yet been updated this year.
Sofia is 17, and Francesco is 19. Their coach & choreographer is Valter Rizzo.
Their best total score was 116.25 at last year's World Junior Championships, where they finished tenth. They are the current National Junior Champions of Italy, and placed third in Juniors at the 2012 Bavarian Open in Oberstdorf.
They competed at JGP Courchevel this year, where they withdrew, following the short dance, where they finished eleventh.
Their SD from JGP Courchevel:
Kristsina Kaunatskaia & Yan Lukouski BLR
SD Blues: Feeling Good by Michael Buble; Swing: Can't Buy My Love by Paul McCartney, John Lennon
FD Adios Nonino; Red Tango
Their Coaches are Alexander Morozov & Tatiana Bieliaieva. Their choreographers are Zhanna Gorbatenkova and Alexander Tolstik
Kristsina is still 14; Yan is 16.
This is their JGP debut; I could not find any videos of them.
Laura Abts & Maarten Buckens BEL
SD Halo by Beyonce; Intergalactic by Beastie Boys
FD Peppy and George (from The Artist soundtrack); George's Cafe lyrics performed by Hooverphonic (from The Artist soundtrack); Leatherheads by Randy Newman
They debuted on the JGP last year at JGP Milano.
Their previous best total score is 70.08
Their coaches and choreographers are Corey Lapaige, Kim Mathijs. Laura has just turned 15, and Maarten is about to turn 17.
They recently competed at JGP Courchevel where they finished thirteenth.
Their FD from Courchevel
Slayvana Tsenova & Egor Zaytsev BUL
SD Blues: Aint No Sunshine When She's Gone Hip-Hop: Ice Ice Baby
FD Samba, Rhumba, Samba
Their coach is Oksana Potdykova. Their choreographers are Nadezhda Hristova & Anna Nikolova.
Slayvana is still 13, and Egor is 15.
They finished sixth in advanced novices at the 2012 International Trophy of Lyon.
This is their JGP debut. I could not find a video of their skating.
Marina Elias & Denis Koreline EST
SD Blues: Minnie the Moocher (from "Blues Brothers" soundtrack); Swing
FD Rock'n'Roll Medley
Their Coach & choreographer is Lee Rand. This is their JGP debut.
Marina is 15, and Denis is 19.
I do not have any videos or photographs of them.
Sara Aghai & Jussiville Partanen FIN
SD Trouble by Elvis Presley
FD Egyptic by Beats Antique; feres by Natacha Atlas; Sharm-elSheikh by Zamalek Musicians
Aghai & Partanen are the Finnish junior champions.
Wing & Lowe are both their coaches and choreographers.
Sara is 17, nearly 18, and Jussiville is 21.
Sara & Jussiville finished 16th at the last Junior Worlds
Their highest total score, internationally, was record at Junior Worlds.
They finished 6th in their section of the SD at LPIDC with a score of 39.98, and 7th in their section of the FD with a score of 57.94. They recently competed at JGP Lake Placid, where they finished ninth overall and scored a personal best of 61.60 in the free dance.
Their FD from Lake Placid:
Estelle Elizabeth & Romain Le Gac FRA
Estelle & Romain are coached by Zazoui and Haguenauer. Estelle is 16, and Romain is 17. They have not updated their ISU bio as yet, and I can't recognize their music from the JGP Courchevel videos. Their highest score was 111.87 at JGP Austria last year. They are the reigning French Junior ice dance champions, a competition they won with a score of 115.69. They recently competed at JGP Courchevel, where they finished tenth.
Their SD from JGP Courchevel:
Their FD from JGP Courchevel:
Myriam Gassoumi & Clément Le Molaire FRA
Myriam & Clément have never filed an ISU biography, despite having been international competitors since at least 2008. She is 18; he is 17. Their best total score to date of 96.89 was achieved at Baltic Cup in 2010. They recently finished ninth in Juniors at the International Ice Dance Trophy Lyon. Last year they placed third at the French National Championships in Juniors.
Here is their SD from Trophy Lyon 2012
Carina Glastris & Nicholas Lettner GRE
SD Blues; Swing
FD Twenties Ragtime and Charleston
This is a new team, coached and choreographed by the Scarborough school of Carol & Jon Lane & Juris Razguliaevs. Carina is 17. Nicholas is 19.They have added the following extra information to their ISU biography:
Lettner's brother has also competed at the national level in ice dance in Canada.):
Glastris/Leitner teamed up in June 2012. She competed at the national level in the USA in 2011 and 2012 with Kevin Allison, while Lettner previously skated Pairsand competed in Ice Dance ( ETA with Rebecca Nelles. They finished thirteenth at Canadian Nationals in Juniors in 2012) at the national level in Canada. Glastris works with disadvantaged athletes in Nicaragua. Her sister Georgia (three years older) competes at the international level in single skating.
Anna Bolshen & Ronald Zilberberg ISR
SD Blues: Minnie the Moocher by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy; Swing: King of Swing by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
FD Pink Panther (soundtrack) by Henry Mancini
Anna is still 13. Ronald is 16. They train in Hackensack, NJ, with coach & choreographer Galit Chait.
This is their JGP debut.
They competed at the Lake Placid IDC. Here is a photo from their SD there:
Ayesha Campbell & Shane Speden NZL
SD No One by Allicia Keys; Fallin by Allicia Keys
FD Carol Ann by Michael W. Smith; Freedom Battle by Michael W Smith
Ayesha is 19, and Shane is 20. Ayesha used to compete using the surnameYigit. .
Their coach & choreographer is Monica McDonald.
They earned their personal best score of 67.90 at Baltic Cup last season. They finished 17th at last year's World Junior Championship.
They are the first couple to represent New Zealand in ice dance. They have been the New Zealand junior champions for the last 3 years.
They finished sixteenth at JGP Austria, where they earned their best ever total dance score of 68.84.
Here's their SD from JGP Linz:
Celia Robledo & Luis Fenero ESP
SD Blues: Your Heart Is As Black As Night by Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa; Swing: Tough Lover by Christina Aguilera (from "Burlesque" soundtrack)
FD Chicago (soundtrack)
Their coaches are Muriel Zazoui, R. Haguenauer, & Olivier Schoenfelder
Their choreographer is Romain Haguenauer.
They are the current Spanish National Junior Champions. They have not appeared before on the JGP, but did compete at the World Junior Championships last year where they finsihed twenty-fourth, and did not qualify for the free dance. They placed seventh in Juniors in the Bavarian Open in Oberstdorf.
Cagla Demirsal & Berk Akalin TUR
Their ISU biographies have yet been updated this year.
Cagla and Berk are both 17. They train with Natalia Dubova & Oleg Voiko in Stamford, CT, USA. Dubova & Voiko are also their choreographers.
They finished eighteenth at the World Junior Championships last year, where they achieved their personal best score of 101.23. They are the Turkish senior champions in dance.. They also place third in the 2011 Istanbul Cup.
Their amusing FD at last year's Junior World Championships, skated to The Flight of the Bumblebee
Anastasia Chiriyatyeva & Sergei Shevchenko UKR
SD Blues: Save My Soul by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy; Hip Hop: Ants by eDit
FD Tore My FD Heart by Oona; Otros Aires; Tore My Heart by Oona
This is a new pairing. Sergei formerly skated with Xenia Chepizhko. They are coached by Irina Voroninskaia, and their choreographer is Nadezhda Krasniak. Anastasia is 19; Sergei is 21.
Here's Sergei's FD with his previous partner on at last year's JGP at Sheffield, England.