Golden Skate

Shanaeva and Naryzhnyy take narrow lead at Junior Worlds

2020 Junior Worlds

Rhythm Dance

Russia’s Elizaveta Shanaeva and Devid Naryzhnyy took a narrow lead after the Rhythm Dance in Tallinn, Estonia, on Thursday afternoon, followed closely by Georgia’s Maria Kazakova and Georgy Reviya and USA’s Avonley Nguyen and Vadym Kolesnik.

Shanaeva and Naryzhnyy were precise and sharp in their “Bonnie and Clyde” routine, meeting all four key points in both segments of their tea-time foxtrot patterns, which were graded a level 4. The twizzles and rotational lift also received a level 4, and the 2019-20 Junior Grand Prix bronze medalists earned a new personal best of 70.03.

We are very pleased with our performance and with the progress we’ve made since our last competitions,” Shanaeva said. “We wanted to show the maximum, as most likely there won’t be any other competitions this season.”

“We hope we showed 90 percent of what we could do,” said Naryzhnyy. The day before we arrived, there was water on the ice, so the first day of practice was too painful to do the slide, but now it’s okay.”

Kazakova and Reviya displayed good speed and ice coverage in their routine to music from the Broadway musical Beautiful the Carole King, earning a level 4 on the twizzles, stationary lift, and the first segment of the tea-time foxtrot. While the level 3 midline steps were solid, the second pattern dance was only graded a level 2, but the 2019-20 Junior Grand Prix Final champions still managed to pull off a new personal best of 69.98.

We tried to give a strong and powerful performance, but not everything worked out,” said Reviya. “The lift was not perfect. Maybe our emotions got a bit ahead of us. It does not matter in which place we are or what the difference in points is. We are always going out to give it our all.”

“Our goal is to take the first place,” he added. “In the free dance, we want to show a powerful, strong skating.”

Nguyen and Kolesnik showed lots of energy in their routine to music from the Aladdin soundtrack, earning a level 4 on the first segment of the pattern dance and rotational lift, however, she only received a level 3 on the twizzles, while the second pattern dance was graded a level 2. The 2019-20 Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalists scored 68.27 points—just under a point from their personal best.

“To be honest, we are bit disappointed,” Nguyen said. “We put all the energy into the program. We want people to feel as much part of this music as we do when we dance. We left a few points on the table, but now we’ll focus on the free dance.”

“It hurts to be in third place,” added her partner. “We’re going to attack this free dance.

Russia’s Arina Ushakova and Maxim Nekrasov, who were out most of the season as Nekrasov was recovering from leg surgery, skated with confidence. She received a level 4 on the twizzles, while he a 3, and the pattern dances were graded level 1 and 2. While the rotational lift was graded a level 4, the 2018 World Junior bronze medalists received a one-point deduction for an extended lift, and sit in fourth place with 66.97 points.

“We were pleased with the skate,” said Ushakova. “Maybe we were a bit tight, but I think we’ll fight back in the free skate.”

Teammates Diana Davis and Gleb Smolkin are currently in fifth with a new personal best of 66.53. The Russian junior national bronze medalists earned a level 4 on the twizzles, first dance pattern, and straight line lift.

“We knew there were things judges wanted to see in the elements, some specific edges we were trying to show,” said Smolkin. “We haven’t seen our protocols yet, so we don’t know the levels and the GOE, but it’s our season’s best. Better than at the Junior Grand Prix Final. Our coaches are very happy, maybe even more than us.”

Loicia Demougeot and Theo Le Mercier of France are in sixth place (64.88). Their routine to “Ain’t Misbehavin'” were highlighted by strong level 4 twizzles and stationary lift.

“We’re very happy to be here, but a bit disappointed,” admitted Demougeot.

“Technically, we weren’t really good today,” added Le Mercier. “It’s always incredible to be here at Junior Worlds. Going into the last competition is always a bit hard.

USA’s Katarina Wolfkostin and Jeffrey Chen round out the top seven  with a new personal best of 64.77. The 2020 Winter Youth Olympic bronze medalists were the only other team besides Shanaeva and Naryzhnyy to earn a level 4 on both tea-time patterns in which all key points were met. The twizzles and rotational lift were also graded a level 4.

“I felt amazing!” said Wolfkostin. “Really great performance! There are still little things to improve. It’s our first Junior Worlds and first season together and we’re doing great. We have good communication skills!”

“It was pretty solid,” agreed Chen.