Home Figure Skating News Andrei Mozalev nabs Junior World title

Andrei Mozalev nabs Junior World title

by Paula Slater
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2020 Junior Worlds

Men’s Free Skate

Andrei Mozalev of Russia rose from second after the Short Program to capture the gold after the Free Skate in the Men’s event on Friday night in Tallinn, Estonia. Japan’s Yuma Kagiyama slipped to second for the silver, while Russia’s Petr Gumennik catapulted to third to pocket the bronze.

Mozalev checked off his elements one by one, opening with a quad toe-double toe, quad toe and triple loop. He put a hand down on the landing of a triple Axel (in combination with a double toe) and later had to hang on to a solo triple Axel, however, landed a solid triple Lutz-triple toe and triple flip.

“I approached the event like I always do, like in training, and I was calm,” Mozalev said. “The performance was not the best, there were mistakes on the triple Axel and the quads were not perfect.”

The 2019-20 Junior Grand Prix silver medalist, who will move up to the senior level next season, also earned a level 4 on all spins and scored a new personal best of 160.78 for first place in the free skate and overall (245.09).

“It was easy to skate after I finished my jumping part,” said the 16-year-old. “The skate wasn’t the best, but overall, it was good. The coaches congratulated me and said I was a fighter. It has been a hard season, with many competitions. This season, I was much better prepared than last season.”

Kagiyama underrotated and fell on his opening quad toe and later underrotated a triple Axel (in combination with a Euler-triple Salchow).  The 2020 Four Continents bronze medalist also received an edge call on a triple Lutz and popped an Axel, but showed two level 4 spins in his routine to music from the Tucker soundtrack.

“In the six-minute warm-up I felt like my body and my mind were not connected,” Kagiyama said. “I was a bit nervous and that affected my performance and caused the mistakes.”

The Japanese junior champion finished fifth (145.93) in the free skate, but with a total score of 231.75, managed to stay on the podium in his debut at this event.

I was confident about my quad toe all season and when I missed the first one, I held back a little,” he offered. “But I was happy that I recomposed and landed the second quad toe and did the combination.”

Gumennik landed a quad Salchow-double toe, triple Axel and five clean triples in his dramatic performance to The Phantom of the Opera, however, the 2019-20 Junior Grand Prix finalist underrotated a quad Salchow and triple flip.

My training and my warm-up did not go so well, but in the performance, I managed the jumps and I am pleased with how I fought through it,” said the 17-year-old from St. Petersburg.

He also showed very good level 4 footwork and two level 4 spins to earn a new personal best of 155.05. With a total score of 231.12, he rose from ninth to third place overall—improving on his 10th-place finish last year.

“I think it’s one of my best performances in international competitions,” said Gumennik. “After my short program, I was upset and didn’t know how to skate my free. I decided I must just enjoy it. I didn’t think about the podium and I am glad to skate almost clean.”

Italy’s Daniel Grassl of, who stood in sixth after the short, finished third (150.47) in the free skate and fourth overall (229.38). The defending bronze medalist underrotated his first two jumps—a quad Lutz and quad flip—before landing a triple flip-triple toe. He also underrotated a triple Axel, but landed five more solid triples and showed good level 4 spins in his routine to music from the Single Man and Nocturnal Animals soundtracks.

“I was nervous,” said Grassl, “but now I’m happy it’s over. I didn’t feel good in the warm-up, so I decided to do only two quads in my program. Now my goal is to do my best at Worlds.”

USA’s Maxim Naumov gave a stellar skate for a personal best of 149.90—nearly 30 points more than he received in his junior grand Prix event in Courchevel earlier this season. The 18-year-old produced nine solid triple jumps, including two triple Axels, as well as level 4 spins in his skate to “Who Wants To Live Forever.” He placed fourth in the free skate and soared from 10th to fifth overall (225.10).

“I’m just so happy, so proud of my whole team for helping me make this,” said the U.S. junior champion. “I came here to kinda skate for me and do my best.”

Japan’s Shun Sato struggled in the first half of his skate to “A Time For Us” from Romeo and Juliet, doubling his opening quad Lutz and taking a hard fall on a quad toe. The 2019-20 Junior Grand Prix Final champion recovered to landed six triple jumps, including two triple Axels, but the mistakes were costly and he placed sixth in the free skate and overall (142.32 / 221.62).

Adam Siao Him Fa of France gave an engaging performance which featured a quad toe-triple toe, triple Axel and quad Salchow. While the 2019 CS Ice Star bronze medalist doubled his solo quad toe and a triple Lutz, he produced very good level 3 footwork and two level 4 spins. He finished seventh in the free skate and overall (139.28 / 213.89).

“It’s not my best free skate, but I’m happy because it was my last junior competition,” said the  19-year-old from Poitiers. “Globally, it wasn’t so bad.”

USA’s Andrew Torgashev, who stood in third after the short program, finished 11th (127.45) in the free skate after taking three falls. With a total score of 208.95, the 2019 ISU CS Asian Open silver medalist finished eighth overall, just enough to secure two spots for the U.S. men next year.

Estonia’s Aleksandr Selevko finished ninth overall (207.00), followed by Russia’s Ilya Yablokov (206.16).

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