Baby Russian wonderkids! Cute little Asian nuggets! Tiny-legged triple-triple jumping bunnies! Alas, it is the Junior Grand Prix Final. In the future, these skaters have to look forward to gaining those hips and that chest, but for now we marvel at their extraordinary talent and uncanny ability to stretch like gumby.
For most of these pups in the JGPF, skating on this same ice 14 months from now at the Olympics may seem improbable, but in reality entirely possible. Depending on the number of spots the U.S. attains in the ladies and men's field, this competition is an important stepping stone for its contingent competing. However, if you are for instance a junior male Japanese skater here, the odds of competing next year in Sochi are about as high as Johnny competing at U.S. nationals.
What's not to love about Radionova? This cute Russian trinket would be Dick Button's newest cupcake. The body suit, the braid, the music of techno-operatic-dirty-opera-singer (that Emanuel Sandhu used all 10 seconds of in his fantastic hot mess free skate of 2004). We live for her smile in the footwork sequence. It's a "Look at me, BITCHES" moment that this 14-year-old owns. Unfortunately not old enough for Sochi, expect Radionova to be at the top of the world in the next Olympic cycle if mother nature is kind.
Hannah Miller is on track to becoming America's next "it" girl. She started to gain momentum last summer when she beat Gracie Gold at Skate Detroit. With powerful jumps, secure skating skills, and a natural pizzaz and style, this 16-year-old should not be taken off the radar for an Olympic bid next year. Her massive 59 score (without a triple-triple) show that the judges love her already. If she keeps performing like this into the National Championships (where she will skate senior), things could get very interesting near the top.
Somehow the United States found a powerful Asian girl who can jump to the moon. We are thankful. Typically consistent with her triple lutz/triple toe, she faltered here which dropped her to 4th. We live for her ethnic music choice and accompanying choreography. So ethnic. So Asian. So good.
Another Russian in a body suit. This is becoming a trend. The girl's skating is very pleasant and she can jump, but unfortunately with those long legs she will have the jumps of Makarova in no time. Hopefully not -- I can foresee a future for her as the ghost of Volchkova - -something like 5th at Worlds for 10 years.
USFS needs to do the world a favor and prep this guy as America's next hope. With skating skills on the level of Chan, he now is getting consistent triple axels and quads under his belt in competition. If he produces at Nationals, he needs to place in the top three to gain invaluable experience at 4CC or Worlds. While Junior Worlds is an important step in his career, a trip to the World Championships would be more important if he is serious about making inroads to Sochi.
We live for how Canadian ladies the Russian men's field is. With the exception of Plushenko, the hot messes of the Russian team have been all over the map in competition. With a gasping-for-air 17th and 18th place finish at Worlds last year, only one lucky man will get to fake London for Worlds this year. Thankfully this young string shows promise and we can only hope he can continue to triple axel--twizzle into the future.
An enormous hurdle for Jason Brown the past two years has been the triple axel and landing it in the short program here is a huge step. The sassy Rohene Ward choreography is fun and different, but trouble on his solo triple most likely cost him a repeat title. With the newness of his triple axel, a top six performance at nationals seems unlikely, but with his skating ability and reputation, the judges would be all but ready to give it to him.
Russia's next ice dance hope. In 2015 expect a coaching change to Morosov and a free dance to dialogue from his sex tapes.