USA’s Jason Brown snatched the gold in the Junior Men’s event at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. China’s Han Yan repeated as a silver medalist and overnight leader Joshua Farris (USA) settled for the bronze.
Brown didn’t risk a triple Axel in his program to Flow Like Water by James Newton Howard, but he executed seven triple jumps and fast, well-centered spins, collecting lots of positive Grades of Execution (GOE).
The 16-year-old improved his season’s best by 10.61 points with 139.64 points, and was ranked second in the free skating, but overall his total score of 208.41 points propelled him to the gold medal in his debut.
“Ever since my first time being on the JGP circuit last season, it’s been my goal to make it to the Final,” said the 2010 U.S. Junior champion. “To get this far, I’m speechless. It’s a dream come true. It’s so exciting to be around these unbelievable skaters. Watching the senior men right before us was very inspiring.”
Yan’s program to Zigeunerweisen featured a triple Axel, a quad toe, and six triples. The two-time Chinese national champion scored 141.70 points to win the free skating, and moved up from third to second at 205.93 points total. The only glitch in his performance came when he singled a toe in combination with a triple Lutz.
The 15-year-old felt he could have done better.
“It wasn’t my best today because I am still affected by the cold,” shared Yan, who coughed throughout the press conference and looked a little under the weather. “I have been sick for a month now. Coming here, I wanted to give my best in spite of the illness. Considering the circumstances I did okay.”
Farris hit a triple Axel and a triple flip-triple toe in his routine to Sergei Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3, but he fell at the end of the footwork and crashed on the second triple Axel, slapping the ice in frustration. The 16-year-old earned 130.99 points and held on to the bronze with 203.98 points overall.
“I was kind of nervous going into the long,” admitted the 2010 U.S. National Junior silver medalist, “[but] a little bit more calm than I have been in the past though. After that fall on the footwork, it hurt a little bit. I mean it was funny, but I had to get my legs underneath me again and I couldn’t do it soon enough. I did the best I could.”
“I am happy that I medaled,” added the 16-year-old. “I’m a little disappointed how I skated, but it can’t all be perfect. I was good enough to medal for sure. I’m going to train harder and do better in the future.”
Maxim Kovtun of Russia also landed a quad toe, but touched down with his hand. He produced six triple jumps in his fun program to Austin Powers to come in fourth with 193.76 points.
“I was just lacking a little bit for a good performance,” observed the 16-year-old. “I felt it was very hot in the arena. I gained a lot of experience skating in front of a large crowd. My next competition is Russian Nationals where I’m planning to do two quadruple toeloops in the free. Then I will prepare for Junior Worlds, or, if I place in the top three, for the European Championships.”
The two Japanese men remained in fifth and sixth place.
Ryuju Hino fell on a triple Axel, but landed five triples in his routine to The Matrix (172.75 points).
“I found so many places I can improve,” observed the 16-year-old. “Some elements were better, some were worse, and some were as usual in my training. Anyway, I learned that I have to practice harder and harder.”
Keiji Tanaka completed five triples (including an Axel) in his program to The Untouchables, but popped the second Axel and stepped out of a triple Lutz. Several other landings were shaky, as well. The 2011 World Junior silver medalist scored a total of 171.14 points.
“All my jumps weren’t clean on the landing,” admitted the 17-year-old. “There wasn’t good flow. I always aim to have clean performances without mistakes. I could watch the senior Men’s event live (in the stadium), and I was inspired by everyone’s performances. I wish that I could follow in their footsteps and become one of the best skaters like them.”
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