Things went quite up and down in the Men’s event with some surprising results. Andrei Rogozine claimed the gold, the first for a Canadian man since 1978. Keiji Tanaka of Japan surged from sixth to second to snatch the silver medal, while Sweden’s Alexander Majorov won the bronze – making history by winning the first medal ever for his country at Junior Worlds.
Overnight leader, USA’s Keegan Messing, and second-placed Artur Dmitriev of Russia dropped to fourth and eighth, respectively.
As in the short program, Rogozine had drawn to skate last and once again he delivered. The 18-year-old opened with a triple Axel-triple toe and followed up with another triple Axel and five more triples. However, he did not have much flow on his landings, and the program to The Rock was rather generic. The change foot sit spin was graded a level four while the other spins were a level two and three.
Rogozine earned 132.86 points, clearly surpassing his previous seasons best of 123.57 points, and moved up from third to first at 200.13 points.
“It was great,” Rogozine said. “Like in practice, I just went out there and did every single jump. I didn’t realize that I was skating clean until I had like one or two more jumps left. I was so concentrated. I was the last skater, and there is always pressure. After that last jump I felt relieved and I finished with a bang.”
“I did a lot of mistakes at my Canadians and finished 13th with a really bad score,” he added. “I guess that kind of motivated me to train harder every day and just to concentrate on the last competition of the season. I just didn’t want to end on a bad note like I did at Canadians, so I pushed harder every day in training and I started having very good practices. I was mentally prepared for this competition. I think I learned from my mistakes and I improved from that.”
Rogozine added that he was unsure whether he will compete in juniors or seniors next season.
Tanaka produced a smooth performance to The Bolt by Dmitri Shostakovitch, landing two triple Axels (one in combination with a double toe), a triple flip-triple toe combo and four more triples. The quality of the jumps and spins was good, and he only got an edge call on the Lutz. Two spins merited a level four.
The 16-year-old won the free skating with 132.92 points and earned 196.98 points overall. However, he should have deserved a higher component score, and some observers felt that he should have won overall.
“The free skating was a great experience for me,” the Japanese said. “I want to reach that level next year as well. I came in sixth in the short program and I actually didn’t think too much about my position. I just wanted to skate well in the free skating and I focused on that. For next season, I not only want to work on jumps, but I want to enjoy my skating. I don’t know yet whether I’ll skate in seniors or juniors.”
Majorov stood in fourth place. His short program was good already, and he stepped it up in the free to Polovetsian Dances by completing his first triple Axel-triple toe in competition. Add a triple Lutz-triple toe, three more clean triples, and two level-four spins to that, and you got podium-material. The only glitch came when the 19-year-old stumbled on the triple loop. He scored 128.59 points, a new season’s best, which added up to 195.71 points overall.
“That free program was one of the best skates I’ve done so far,” Majorov said. “After the short program, it felt really good, because I did a good program. I saw my components, and they were really good. I was trying my best in the free program and wanted to see how far I would come, but I didn’t expect a top-three placement here. So I’m really surprised and happy.”
Winning Sweden’s first medal at Junior Worlds is “a huge thing for me and for the whole federation,” he added.
Majorov ages out of juniors next year.
Messing once again didn’t have his nerves under control. His chances to win evaporated when he singled his first Axel, tripled the planned quad, and fell on the entry of his loop. Even his spins weren’t as good as usual. He was left with a triple Axel-double toe, and four clean triples, and was edged out of the podium by less than one point. He admitted that his head was the problem.
“I felt pretty confident going into it,” he offered. “I was working very hard. In practices my pc felt really strong, but I went out there and just something wasn’t right in my head. The first Axel was a bummer and the triple toe hit me kind of hard. I pulled myself back together. I did the triple Lutz-triple toe, triple Axel-double toe.”
“My footwork felt very strong,” Messing added. “On the loop, I don’t know what happened. I never do that, ever! I lost focus for one second and it was enough to put me on my butt. It hurt. I was expecting so much out of this competition.”
“I feel confident going into the next season,” concluded Messing. “This was my last junior competition ever, and it was a little bummer to end it the way I did.”
USA’s Max Aaron included two triple Axels in his routine, but fell on a triple Lutz and touched down with his hand on the triple loop to finish fifth (193.92 points).
“I thought it went really well,” Aaron said. “A slight bobble on the Lutz, obviously, because I fell. The focus was really strong. I got my personal best, I’m pretty happy with that. It was a good finish of the season.”
“This is my first year I ever had Junior Grand Prixs,” Aaron added. “I made the most out of it, I think. I went to Italy, the two Junior Grand Prixs, the Final, and then to Junior Worlds. So I had a great season.”
Han Yan of China looked dynamic in his program to Zigeunerweisen. He has a lot of spring in his jumps and hit two triple flips, two triple Lutzes, a triple loop, and Salchow. The only error was that he reduced a combo to a triple flip-single toe. He didn’t risk a triple-triple combination and doesn’t include a triple Axel. He placed sixth with 187.49 points.
USA’s Jason Brown impressed with a clean and very musical performance to Turandot. He landed six triples, including a triple Lutz-triple toe, and his spins were strong. However, the two Lutzes got an edge call and the Salchow was underrotated. He has no triple Axel yet. He finished seventh with 185.44 points.
Artur Dmitriev’s performance was rough with sloppy landings on many jumps and a crash on the triple Salchow. The Russian plummeted to eighth (181.19 points).
Teammate Gordei Gorshkov did better than he had in the short and landed a triple Axel, although he did a three-turn out of it. He moved up to ninth (177.34 points).