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Rogozine jumps his way to junior world title

Sweden wins first-ever world junior medal; U.S. skaters finish off podium

The men's podium at world juniors. From left: Keiji Tanaka, Andrei Rogozine and Alexander Majorov.
The men's podium at world juniors. From left: Keiji Tanaka, Andrei Rogozine and Alexander Majorov. (Getty Images)

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By Klaus-Reinhold Kany, special to icenetwork.com
(03/05/2011) - The men's free skate on Friday shook up the standings in Gangneung, with some surprising results.

Canada's Andrei Rogozine, third after the short, placed second in the free and won the title with 200.13 points. Skating to the soundtrack from The Rock, he landed two clean triple Axels, one in combination with a triple toe, and five other triples. His only stumble was on his second double Axel.

"I was so concentrated," Rogozine said. "I was expecting to do well. I make a lot of mistakes at Canadian nationals and finished 13th with a really bad score. I guess that kind of motivated me to train harder every day and just to concentrate on the last competition of the season. I was mentally prepared for this competition, unlike at nationals."

Keiji Tanaka of Japan climbed from sixth after the short to win the silver medal with a winning free skate. His strong jumps, including a triple Axel combination and triple flip-triple toe, could have merited more plus points from the judges. He finished with 196.98 points.

"The free skate was a great experience for me," Tanaka said. "I want to reach that level next year as well. I came in sixth in the short program and I actually didn't think too much about my position."

Alexander Majorov of Sweden, who was born in Russia, won bronze, first-ever junior world medal for his country. After a solid opening combination of triple Axel-triple toe loop, he landed five more triple jumps. His only stumble was on a triple loop, and he earned 195.71 points.

"That free program was one of the best skates I've done so far," Majorov said. "My training here wasn't so good. Two or three days I couldn't do anything. In the short program I started to feel better, and now I did the first triple Axel-triple toe loop in the program.

"This medal is a huge thing for me and for the whole federation. It was my last junior competition, because I'm 19."

Short program leader Keegan Messing, who brought a four-point lead into the free skate, ended up seventh in the free skate and fourth overall with 195.07 points.

Skating to the soundtrack of The Incredible Hulk, he made two mistakes that cost him a medal: popping his first triple Axel and falling on a triple loop. He also reduced a planned quad toe loop to a triple. Six other triples, including his second triple Axel, were solid, but one of his spins gained just Level 1.

"My head was the problem today," Messing said. "I did a beautiful triple Axel yesterday, and I was feeling confident. My practice here was very strong... I never slip on the loop, but I lost focus for one second. It was a learning experience for me and is for everybody, even if you are on the top."

U.S. junior champion Max Aaron started his program (to Vivaldi's "Four Seasons") with a good combination of triple Axel-double toe loop and later hit another triple Axel and four other triples, but fell on the triple Lutz. He finished fifth with 193.92 points.

"Today my skating was very good, except for the Lutz. It was a lack of focus, things happen," Aaron said. "I got a personal best and I am pretty happy with that. It was a good finish of the season."

Jason Brown's free to "Nessun Dorma" gave an excellent impression, although his two triple Lutzes got edge calls and his triple Salchow was under rotated. He gained high levels for his spins and skated with good speed, and he placed seventh with 185.44 points.

"I am happy with my skating and that I handled myself the way I would have hoped to at my first big international, although it was a bit shaky," Brown said.

"I am so excited to be here and it is a great experience. I know that without the triple Axel I won't be on the top, but my triple Axel was very close when we left and I hope to show it very soon in competition."

The combined finishes of Messing and Aaron earned U.S. men three spots at next season's junior worlds.