JGP Austria Pairs Preview

Yu and Jin of China are by far the favorites of this event.  They won two silver medals on the JGP last season and are the reigning World Junior Silver Medalists.  With Sui and Han moving up to seniors, they are the top Chinese team on the junior circuit and have the ability to pull up and claim their first gold medals.

Simpson and Blackmer impressed in their JGP debut last season and became the first U.S. pairs team to win gold on the JGP in several years.  They medaled at their 2nd assignment and then the Final but fell to 2nd at U.S. nationals and did not make the podium at Junior Worlds.  They’ll be looking to put the 2nd half of their season behind them and reclaim their place as the top U.S. junior pairs team.

Calalang and Sidhu earned their first JGP medal last season and a trip to the Final but had to withdraw due to injury.  At U.S. nationals they finished a heartbreaking 4th after some mistakes in their free skate and did not qualify for the Junior Worlds team.

Fedorova and Miroshkin did not land on the medal stand at their sole event last season but their scores are good enough to keep them in medal contention.  Their teammates Tudvaseva and Lisiev replaced Calalang and Sidhu at the JGPF but were inconsistent in their results all season.

The three Canadian teams are all making their JGP debuts but pose a medal threat here.  Bell and Sylvester are the reigning Canadian novice champions and their performance at nationals was impressive enough to earn them a spot on the Junior Worlds team where they finished 12th.  Jones and Beharry and Purich and Arcieri are new teams this season.  Beharry won silver at the JGP Final with his former partner last season while Jones competed on the Senior Grand Prix.

My podium predictions:
Gold: Yu/Jin
Silver: Simpson/Blackmer
Bronze: Jones/Beharry

Bios of the competitors:
Smyth/Dodds, AUS: They placed 14th at JGP USA.  Their personal best is 64.93.  She is 14 and he is 18.

Ilieva/Savinov, BUL: The finished 15th in the preliminary round at Junior Worlds.  This is their JGP debut.  She is 16 and he is 20.

Bell/Sylvester, CAN: They finished 12th at Junior Worlds.  This is their JGP debut.  She is 16 and he is 17.

Jones/Beharry, CAN: This is their JGP debut.  She is 16 and he is 20.

Purich/Arcieri, CAN: This is their JGP debut.  She is 17 and he is 18.

Li/Jiang, CHN: They placed 9th at Junior Worlds.  They finished 10th at JGP Latvia and 4th at JGP Austria last season.  Their personal best is 138.92.  She is 14 and he is 20.

Yu/Jin, CHN: They are the reigning World Junior Silver Medalists.  They finished 7th at Skate Canada and 6th at Cup of China last season.  They won silver at JGP Latvia and JGP Austria last season to qualify for the JGP Final where they placed 5th.  Their personal best is 167.48.  She is 16 and he is 18.

Cernuschi/Ambrosini, ITA: They placed 20th at Junior Worlds.  This is their JGP debut.  She is 15 and he is 19.

Fedorova/Miroshkin, RUS: They placed 5th at JGP Austria last season.  Their personal best is 134.88.  She is 14 and he is 18.

Tusvaseva/Lisiev, RUS: They placed 5th at JGP Latvia and won bronze at JGP Poland last season to qualify for the JGP Final where they finished 6th.  Their personal best is 133.79.  She is 15 and he is 19.

Vigalova/Zakroev, RUS: This is their international debut.

Lavrentieva/Rudik, UKR: They finished 14th at Junior Worlds.  They placed 13th at JGP France.  Their personal best is 110.03.  She is 15 and he is 20.

Calalang/Sidhu, USA: They placed 4th at JGP Poland and won bronze at JGP Estonia last season to qualify for the JGP Final but had to withdraw due to injury.  Their personal best is 139.32.  She is 17 and he is 20.

De la Mora/Wilson, USA: This is their international debut.  She is 13 and he is 20.

Simpson/Blackmer, USA: They placed 10th at Junior Worlds.  They won gold at JGP Poland and silver at JGP Estonia last season to qualify for the JGP Final where they won bronze.  Their personal best is 146.35.  She is 16 and he is 20.