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Tuktamisheva dominates at JGP Germany

Dornbush claims victory in men's

A medal of any color will clinch a spot for Kiri Baga in the Final.
A medal of any color will clinch a spot for Kiri Baga in the Final. (Michelle Harvath)

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By Renee Felton, special to icenetwork.com
(10/10/2010) - Russia's Elizaveta Tuktamisheva dominated the ladies event, winning both segments of the competition. Overall, she scored 172.32 points -- crushing her previous personal best of 132.32 set at JGP Romania.

The 13-year-old won the short program by nearly 10 points and earned positive grades of execution on each element including a triple Lutz-triple toe combination worth 10.90 points to start the performance. She repeated, and improved, the combination to begin her "Astruias" free skate. The second time around, the element netted her 11.20 points. She also completed a triple Salchow-double toe-double loop combination and a pair of Level 4 spins.

American Christina Gao clinched her second silver of the season. She went into the "Yellow River Concerto" free skate in second placed and maintained her standing. Gao, a Cincinnati native, recognized her short program was not as strong as the one she performed at JGP Austria. But after falling on her opening triple flip, she kept her composure and earned positive GOEs through the rest of the skate.

"The short was not my best," said Gao. "But I was pleased that I didn't allow the fall in the beginning of the program to negatively affect the rest of my elements like I have in the past."

Gao once again fell on the triple flip in her free skate but the element came late in the program after she had already cleanly performed skills including a triple flip-triple toe combination and a triple Lutz-double toe-double loop combination. She completed all of her spins and footwork at Levels 3 and 4.

"Overall, I'm really pleased with my performance in Dresden," Gao said. "I have really enjoyed myself and hope my finishes this season will allow me to qualify for the Final."

She is referencing December's Junior Grand Prix Final in Beijing. The top six points-earners in each discipline will qualify. Next week's competition in Ostrava, Czech Republic, is the last qualifying event of the Series.

Belgium's Ira Vannut earned her first medal on the JGP circuit. She overtook Russia's Polina Agafonova, who was in third place entering the free skate, to capture bronze.

Felicia Zhang, the other American representative, finished seventh in her international singles debut.

Men
American Richard Dornbush won gold, setting personal-best scores in the short program (69.05) and total score (195.23), over Russia's Gordei Gorshkov and Japan's Ryuichi Kihara. The gold is Dornbush's fourth since he began competing in the Junior Grand Prix Series in 2008.

Dornbush's "Elena" short program was largely error free. He began the program with an 11-point triple Lutz-triple toe combination and followed that with a series of footwork and spins performed at Level 3 and 4. The only hiccup came when he put his hand down on the triple Axel.

"It was a fun competition," Dornbush said. "I practiced well all with a few mistakes which translated into good performances."

Dornbush, a Corona, Calif., native again struggled with the triple Axel, falling on both that element and his triple loop, and seeing a 2.00-point deduction, in his Sherlock Holmes theme free skate. He earned double-digit points on both a triple Lutz-triple toe combination (10.70) and triple Axel-double toe combination (11.75).

"As the season continues, I need to concentrate on bringing the clean programs I run during training onto the competition ice," Dornbush said. "I'm obviously pleased with the gold but know I can improve before my next skate."

Silver medalist Gorshkov earned personal best scores throughout the competition en route to his third JGP medal. He performed a clean Flamenco free skate but his technical elements were not as difficult as those Dornbush executed. The highlight of Gorshkov's program was a triple Lutz-triple toe combination.

Kihara surprised the field as he netted the bronze medal, jumping up from fifth place where he stood after the short program. The 18-year-old had recorded ninth- and 10th-place finishes at his previous JGP assignments.

Pairs
2009 Junior Grand Prix Final champions Wenjing Sui and Cong Han of China easily skated to gold, winning by nearly eight points over Japan's Narumi Takahashi and Mervin Tran after a dominant free skate. Sui and Han overtook the Japanese team for first place after trailing by just 0.45 points following the short program. Anna Silaeva and Artur Minchuk of Russia earned the bronze in their JGP debut.

Sui and Han started their "City Lights" free skate with a clean double Axel-double Axel sequence and went on to earn neutral or positive grades of execution (GOEs) on nine of 10 additional elements. The duo landed a throw quadruple Salchow (-0.71 GOE) - a remarkable accomplishment for a junior team.

Takahashi and Tran skated a clean "Feeling Good" short program featuring a Group 5 twist lift, which earned a Level 4. They were unable to sustain their momentum in their "El Dia Que Me Quieras" free skate, receiving negative GOEs on their side-by-side triple Salchows as well as their throw triple Salchow, and failing to tack on the second jump in their planned side-by-side double Axel-double toe combo.

Silaeva and Minchuk, the Russian junior bronze medalists, edged Canada's Brittany Jones and Kurtis Gaskell by half a point to earn their first JGP medal.

Morgan Sowa and David Leenen enjoyed the best finish among America competitors, finishing in seventh place at their international debut. Brynn Carman and A.J. Reiss placed eighth, while Morgan Agster and Adam Civiello came in 10th.

Ice dance
A pair of Russian teams topped the ice dancing podium. Evgenia Kosigina and Nikolai Moroshkin maintained gold-medal standing throughout the event and easily skated to victory in their second career JGP event (bronze at 2010 JGP France). The "Waltz No. 7" free dance featured a quartet of Level 4 elements including a rotational lift, a curve lift-rotational lift combination, twizzle sequence and spin combination.

Teammates Marina Antipova and Artem Kudashev help onto the silver medal despite placing fourth in the free skate. They executed a Level 4 serpentine lift worth 8.81 points as the highlight "Solveig's Song" free dance.

Americans Charlotte Lichtman and Dean Copely continued a successful season with a bronze medal to follow up their gold at JGP Austria. After a short dance that Lichtman considered "not our best," they performed their free dance at a much higher level than in Austria.

Set to music from Beetlejuice, Lichtman and Copely accomplished a Level 4 spin and twizzle sequence. Each of their three lifts -- straight line, curve and rotational lift -- were all scored at a Level 4 and received positive GOEs.

"We are so proud to have accomplished our goal of medaling at both of our assignments," Lichtman said. "It's really amazing to see where we have come since last season and will work hard as the season continues."

Twins Danielle and Alexander Gamelin made their international debut and finished 16th. They are grateful for the international experience which they called "much different" from competing domestically.

"Alex and I consider this a great learning experience," Danielle explained. "This was very intense and we are proud of how we handled the pressure."