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Russian teams dominate pairs at junior worlds

Ksenia Krasilnikova and Konstantin Bezmaternikh lead

Chelsi Guillen and Danny Curzon
Chelsi Guillen and Danny Curzon (USFS)

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By Klaus Reinhold-Kany, special to icenetwork.com
(02/26/2008) - The pairs short program ended the first day of competition at the 2008 World Junior Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria. Grabbing the lead early, were three Russian teams, with Ksenia Krasilnikova and Konstantin Bezmaternikh winning the short program.

Krasilnikova and Bezmaternikh lead the field of 20 teams with a difference of 4.25-points, after skating a near flawless routine set to music of "Quidam" by Cirque du Soleil. Their required side-by-side jump and double Axel, were in perfect harmony, and their double twist was high and exceptional. They received +2 Grades of Execution from five of the 12 judges, and were graded a rare Level 4.

"Overall it wasn't bad," Bezmaternikh said. "But, obviously, all of us could have skated a little better tonight. Not all of us showed what we can do."

Second are Lubov Iliushechkina and Nodari Maisuradze, skating in their first international competition. Iliushechkina fell on the triple throw toeloop, but they were marked high on their other elements.

"We started to compete only this season, because the most difficult thing for us [who were both single skaters before] was to learn to skate with a partner," Iliushechkina said. "This took a whole season. We did not yet show everything [that we can do]. My idol is Aliona Savchenko, the way she skates is fabulous."

Ekaterina Sheremetieva and Mikhail Kuznetsov from Moscow round out the top three teams.

The best of the three U.S. teams were Chelsi Guliien and Danny Curzon, who sit sixth. The landing of their throw toeloop was a bit shaky, but they executed their other elements without incident.

Jessica Rose Paetsch and Jon Nuss are eighth; Paetsch fell on her double Axel.

"We could have done better," Nuss said. "But we hope for tomorrow."

Bianca Butler and Joseph Jacobsen are 12th. Jacobson touched down on his Axel, which was downgraded for an incorrect landing.

The difference between the third and the 12th place is only five points.