2023 World Junior Figure Skating Championships
Katerina Mrazkova and Daniel Mrazek of the Czech Republic made history in Calgary after winning the Ice Dance title at the 2023 World Junior Figure Skating Championships. They are the first ice dance team from the Czech Republic to win a medal, of any color, at this event. Hannah Lim and Ye Quan took the silver, also making history by becoming the first team from South Korea to medal at Junior Worlds. Canada’s Nadiia Bashynska and Peter Beaumont edged out Great Britain’s Phebe Bekker and James Hernandez for the bronze, with just 0.06 points to spare.
Mrazkova and Mrazek gave a stellar and climatic routine to The Man in the Iron Mask, showing great speed across the ice throughout. The team earned many high grades of execution (GOE) for all elements, particularly on the level three circular and one-foot steps, as well as the level four rotational lift, dance spin and twizzles. The 2022-23 Junior Grand Prix (JGP) Final bronze medalists scored a new personal best of 106.17 for the free dance, placing first overall (177.36).
“We are incredibly happy! We did it!” said Mrazek. “We knew we could do it and win here, but after what happened in the Junior Grand Prix Final, we were very nervous because we knew something could happen. Also, we had to do some adjustment with the lifts two or three weeks ago.”
While they do not have plans for next season yet, they “definitely” want to compete in at the senior level.
Lim and Quan of bewitched the crowd with their dramatic performance to Danse Macabre, which featured very good level three circular steps. Quan had a slight bobble on the twizzles, which were graded a level three for him and four for her. Both lifts earned a level four, as did the dance spin, and the 2022-23 JGP Final silver medalists placed second in the free dance and overall with two new personal best scores (103.31/174.39).
“It feels so good to have reached our goal,” said Lim of making the podium. “At the very beginning of the free dance, we still felt a bit shaky, but from midway through, it felt very good. Of course, you never really know what scores to expect, so it was an amazing feeling when they came up!”
This was their last junior competition for the team, who trains in Montreal. They will move up to the senior level next season.
Bashynska and Beaumont nailed there captivating routine to The Red Violin. Peter lost his balance on a twizzle which was graded a level three for him and level four for her, but the level-two one-foot steps and level three diagonal steps were very good. The stationary-rotational lift earned high GOEs and was graded a level four, as was the dance spin. The 2022-23 Junior Grand Prix Final Champions placed third (101.13) in the free dance, and with a total score of 169.13, and rose up one spot to third overall to win their second bronze medal at this event.
“We performed with our whole heart and the audience really helped,” said Bashynska, adding that this was their last skate in juniors. “We managed to let go of the pressure that we put on ourselves.”
“We just wanted to enjoy the moment and we did that,” added Beaumont. “We really supported each other yesterday and that really helped.”
Bekker and Hernandez wove a story in their nuanced routine to Four Seasons, delivering top-notch elements. The team earned many high GOEs for all elements, including level-four twizzles and strong diagonal and one-foot steps. The only glitch was a one-point deduction for an extended lift at the beginning of the program. While they had the third highest technical score, the deduction proved to be costly, and the 2022-23 JGP finalists slipped to fourth overall (169.07).
“We have mixed feelings and emotions right now,” said Bekker. “Having an extended lift is a technical mistake, but we’re very unfortunate. We are so proud of ourselves and how we were able to perform here.”
“We had a really rough time coming here,” Hernandez shared. “Phebe was ill and in bed for three days last week and my (James) father passed away two weeks ago. Then Phebe’s luggage didn’t arrive here right away. So under the circumstances, we are incredibly proud of what we were able to show.”
Bekker and Hernandez will also be moving up to the senior level next season.
USA’s Leah Neset and Artem Markelov delivered a swashbuckling routine to Pirates of the Caribbean, which featured level-four twizzles, lifts, and spin. They placed fifth in the free dance and moved up two spots to fifth overall with a two new new personal bests (98.58/162.59).
“We feel good about our first Junior Worlds,” said Neset. “This season had some up and downs, but we are overall pleased.”
“I was hesitant about this new style,” admitted Markelov of the music. “It was a new style for us, but it helped us to develop as a team and it grew on us.”
The two-time U.S. National junior champions have not yet decided if they will compete in juniors or move up to seniors next season.
Darya Grimm and Michail Savitskiy of Germany, who were sixth after the rhythm dance, were forced to withdraw after Grimm came down with food poisoning and had a high temperature.
“We’re really upset, but we don’t want to risk our health,” she posted on Instagram. “It’s been a great event until now, and we’re really grateful for this opportunity. So with an amazing rhythm dance and a sixth-place, we are finishing our season.”