2020 Junior Worlds
Pairs’ Short Program
Russia’s Apollinariia Panfilova and Dmitry Rylov led a Russian sweep in the Pairs’ Short Program on Wednesday night in Tallinn, Estonia. Teammates Kseniia Akhanteva and Valerii Kolesov and Iulia Artemeva and Mikhail Nazarychev are neck and neck with only a 0.18 difference in scores.
Panfilova and Rylov gave a solid performance to music from The Matrix soundtrack, opening with a level 4 triple twist which received nearly all 5+ grades of execution (GOE) across the board. The defending silver medalists also produced double Axels, a throw triple flip, and earned a level 4 on the lift, spin, and footwork to score a new personal best of 73.71.
Rylov was pleased. “It’s just the short program, but we didn’t expect the points to be 70+.”
“Our goal is always to do the best we can,” said Panfilova. “I’d say our performance was 80 percent. We didn’t get the level on the death spiral that we wanted, but overall, it was quite good. We are our main competitors. If we’re looking at the other teams in the warm-up, I don’t think anything good will come out of it.”
Akhanteva and Kolesov also skated well, landing a triple twist, throw triple flip, double Axels, and earning a level 4 on the death spiral, lift, spin, and footwork. The 2019-20 Junior Grand Prix bronze medalists were also rewarded with a new personal best (70.44), and sit in second after their brilliant performance to music from the Interstellar soundtrack.
“We are pleased with our performance,” Kolesov said. “It was not bad, but it wasn’t our best either. For the free skating, we’re not thinking ahead, we just want to skate clean and achieve a season’s best score.”
Despite their short time together as a team, Artemeva and Nazarychev earned a lot GOEs for the quality of their skating, scoring a new personal best of 70.26. The Russian National junior bronze medalists showed a triple twist, double Axels, throw triple flip, and also earned a level 4 on the lift, death spiral, steps, and spin in their moving performance to “Senza Parole.”
“The short program was not ideal, there were some mistakes,” Nazarychev pointed out. “In the free skating, we need to skate clean and show our maximum.”
Germany’s Annika Hocke and Robert Kunkel are currently in fourth and also scored a new personal best (63.57). The new team, who are also the first German pairs team to qualify for the Junior Grand Prix Final (2019-20), delivered a triple twist and throw triple flip, however, the steps and death spiral were graded a level 3.
“We’re super happy about our season’s best, but we know we can do better,” said Hocke. “The elements worked out, but they were a bit tight.”
USA’s Kate Finster and Balazs Nagy, who were 11th last year, are currently in fifth place after small mistakes on the double Axels and throw triple toe.
“Our short program is a motivation for tomorrow,” said Nagy. “We’ve lost points on Axel, death spiral and footwork…”
“Little mistakes that added up,” his partner added.
Cleo Hamon and Denys Streakalin of France had a fall on the throw triple flip and finished sixth (58.23)
“We feel good, though it wasn’t perfect,” noted Hamon.
“Even though we fell on a throw triple flip, we got a season’s best,” added Streakalin. “We also progressed in other elements. We’ll try to do our best tomorrow.”
Alina Butaeva and Luka Berulava of Georgia were the only other team besides Panfilova and Rylov to receive a level 4 on the triple twist. While the double Axels were good, the team lost points on the death spiral and flying camel combination spin. They are seventh with 55.96 points.