2023 World Junior Figure Skating Championships
Pairs’ Short Program
USA’s Sophia Baram and Daniel Tioumentsev stepped it up, placing first in the Pairs’ short program at the 2023 World Junior Figure Skating Championships. Oxana Vouillamoz and Flavien Giniaux of France are currently in second, followed by heavy-favorites Anastasia Golubeva and Hektor Giotopoulos Moore of Australia.
Baram and Tioumentsev delivered a solid and sassy routine to “Bla Bla Bla Cha Cha Cha” which featured a level-four triple twist, side-by-side double Axels, and a throw triple toe. The lift, spin and steps were graded a level four, and the 2022 Czech Skate Champions showed rare connection for juniors in this category. They topped their previous personal best with 66.95 points for first place.
“We are so happy and excited!” said Baram. “This was the first time we landed the throw triple toe loop in competition. We want to enjoy every moment skating together, and will see what the future brings.”
After the Junior Grand Prix Final, Baram and Tioumentsev focused on details and correcting mistakes they made earlier this season. The team decide a week ago to do the triple throw toe at this event as it was the last event of the season, and they achieved it despite the altitude.
“The altitude definitely hit us on the first day, but over the past few days we’ve adapted to it and it got easier and easier,” said Tioumentsev. “Today it felt pretty normal.”
Baram agreed, adding, “On the first day of practice, we did a choreo run through with very minimal elements and I couldn’t breathe. It was very hard! Then on the second practice on the first day we got used to it. Our training definitely helped.”
The team plans to continue to skate together despite the age issue as she is not age-eligible for senior international events. Currently, the requirement for international senior competitions is 15. However, for next season, it will be raised to 16, and then 17 for the 2024-2025 season. Tioumentsev will age out of juniors when he turns 21 later this month, which means they will be limited to domestic events.
“We would do national competitions for the next three years until I am old enough for the international senior events,” said Baram, who turned 14 in November.
Incidentally, officials will be having a meeting regarding the age issue as it is affecting other pair teams, as well. While no official decision will be made at this event, the International Skating Union (ISU) will post any rule changes in the future.
Vouillamoz and Giniaux put out a good routine to “Inside” which featured a level-three triple twist, spin and steps. The lift was graded a level four and they also produced a double Axels, but she touched down with her hand on the throw triple flip, and the death spiral was only graded a level two. Overall, it was a good skate and the national silver medalists earned a new personal best of 60.58.
“This result shows the progress and the hard work we put in,” noted Giniaux. “We are having many firsts this season, also competing on the senior level and getting nominated to senior Worlds is super exciting!”
Giniaux also gave a shout out to their coaching team in Caen, attributing their improvement to hard work.
“We came here to do our best and we put out consistent performances,” said Vouillamoz. “We did what we did in practice.”
Golubeva and Giotopoulos Moore were off to a great start, landing double Axels, a throw triple toe, and producing a level-four lift. However, Giotopoulos Moore’s heel hit an edge and he slipped and couldn’t hold the pivot on the death spiral, which wasn’t completed. This proved to be a costly mistake as no value given, and the team lost at least four points from this missed element. In addition, the triple twist was scored a level two. The defending silver medalists are currently in third with 59.18 points.
“We are not exactly super happy about our skate and the mistake but we will do our best tomorrow,” said Giotopoulos Moore. “A mistake like today could happen to anyone.”
“We will try to do our best in the free skating,” added Golubeva. “We’ve trained for two weeks in Montreal, because coming from Australia, it is hard to adapt to the time change. Our coach, Galina Pachina, and coach Igor Tchiniaev helped us, and also Jonathan Guerreiro.”
Ukrainians Violetta Sierova and Ivan Khobta picked up a new personal best of 58.47 for their clean skate to “Vesna.” Their routine featured a level-four triple twist, lift, and spin, and they produced side-by-side double loops and a throw double Lutz. While there is room for more development on the jumps, the doubles were still well done.
“We are very happy we skated clean today,” said Khobta. “It’s a great relief and a step forward. Before this competition, we took a camp in Toronto with Bruno Marcotte which was a great experience for us. We are really grateful for the people there who gave us a place to stay and also to everyone in Chemnitz, Germany, where we train now and who supported us amazingly.”
Canada’s Ava Rae Kemp and Yohnatan Elizarov scored a new personal best of 55.88 points for fifth place, and are followed by Haruna Murakami and Sumitada Moriguchi of Japan, who also scored a new personal best (55.69).
The Pairs’ event concludes tomorrow with the free skate.