Tuesday, 17/7/2018 | : : UTC-7
Skate Today

There’s an Olympic Feeling in Lake Placid as Second Event of Junior Series takes Center Stage

The thirteenth Junior Grand Prix Season is in full swing and this week the event moves to the small resort village of Lake Placid, New York. The area encompasses six million-acres, which are jam-packed with stunning views and Olympic memorabilia. Home of both the 1932 and 1980 Olympic Games the area provides the perfect back-drop for a Junior Grand Prix event, where youngsters cannot only bathe in the spotlight of the series, but can soak up the history of their sport at the Olympic Museum. The event will take place at the Herb Brooks Arena and the athletes will be housed at the Olympic Training Center during the event. Only 2800 hundred residents reside in the area year-round. However, the resort attracts approximately 1.8 million visitors each year.

The Junior Grand Prix Series consists of seven events this year, one less than the previous season. Last week the competitions kicked off in Budapest, Hungary and will make stops in Poland, Belarus, Germany, Croatia and Turkey. The series culminates December 3-6 in Tokyo, Japan where the top eight point-earners in each discipline, will join in a head-to-head battle for cash, world-ranking points and the title of Junior Grand Prix Champion. There are approximately ninety-six competitors representing twenty-eight countries here in Lake Placid.

Headlining the ice-dance event for the Americans will be Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani who placed an impressive fourth at last season’s World Junior Championships and at the Junior Grand Prix Final. Nipping at their heels should be the duo who placed fifth at Junior Worlds, Canada’s Kharis Ralph and Asher Hill. This is their fourth appearance in the Junior Grand Prix and placed second in both their Junior Grand Prix events last season. Valaria Zenkova and Valerie Sinitsin of Russia could prove the spoiler here in Lake Placid.

Making his first appearance on the Junior Grand Prix Circuit American Junior Champion Ross Miner will lead the American pack which features 2008 Junior National bronze medalist Andrew Gonzales and 2009 U.S. Novice Champion Joshua Farris. Gonzales is in his second season on the Junior Grand Prix and placed fourth in Mexico City and sixth in South Africa last season. Farris makes his debut here, but has the fire and determination to compete with the big boys and hopes to make a splash on the junior circuit. 2009 Canadian Junior Champion Andrei Rogozine, the lone entrant in the men’s event for Canada, hopes to make a splash in his third season on the Junior Grand Prix. The sixteen -year-old placed eighth in Great Britain and ninth in the Czech Republic in 2008. Alexander Majorov of Sweden is making his fourth appearance this season, and the Swedish silver medalist is hoping number four will be magical, and he can ascend to the podium here in Lake Placid.

Lake Placid is the first of four pair events in the series. 2008 Junior Grand Prix Finalists Narumi Takahashi and Mervin Tran of Japan are hoping for a return trip to the final. Switzerland’s Anais Morand and Antoine Dorsaz return after placing eighth and sixth in the series during the last season. Maddison Bird and Raymond Schultz lead team Canada and are the most likely of the Canadians to fight for a podium spot. The duo captured the bronze medal last season at the Canadian National Championships in Saskatoon. They placed sixth at the recent World Junior Championships held in Sofia, Bulgaria last February.

The ladies’ event should prove to be exciting with the return of last year’s final silver medalist Yukiko Fujisawa of Japan and Junior Grand Prix Finalist Kristine Musademba – who finished sixth at the final. Musademba captured two gold medals to secure her spot in the Final, but succumbed to the pressure, in Korea. Americans Dee Dee Leng and Taylor Firth both show great promise and are competing in the series for the first time. Leng is the reigning National Junior Champion and Firth finished thirteenth on the senior level. Min-Jung Kwak of the Republic of Korea and Rylie McCulloch-Casarsa of Canada are also expected to be in the hunt for a medal here in Lake Placid.

The competition kicks off September 3 with the Compulsory Dance and will be followed by the men’s and pairs short program.

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