Yan's quad paves way to world junior crown

Farris wins silver, Brown bronze

Han Yan is the first Chinese man to win the world junior title.
Han Yan is the first Chinese man to win the world junior title. (Getty Images)


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By Klaus-Reinhold Kany, special to
(03/03/2012) - The quad made the difference in Minsk.

China's Han Yan performed the only clean four-revolution jump of the 2012 World Junior Championships in his free skate, edging Joshua Farris by less than half a point to win the world junior title.

The 15-year-old from Harbin earned 147.57 for a free skate that included a superb triple Axel as well as a solid quadruple toe loop and six other triples. His only mistake was singling two intended double jumps that were done in combination with a double Axel.

"Today's performance was quite on my level," Yan said. "I did almost everything I had planned. I learned the triple Axel and the quad toe loop within one season, because I trained harder [than in previous] years.

"I am proud that I am the first Chinese male skater to win junior worlds. We have several strong single skaters in China, so we are rivals. This motivates all of us to become even stronger."

Farris, who trains under Christy Krall and Damon Allen in Colorado Springs, took silver after an inspired and nearly clean performance to Rachmaninoff that earned 146.54 points. He finished with 221.97, just 0.48 behind Yan.

The 17-year-old opened with back-to-back triple Axels, the first combined with a double toe loop. He went on to land five more triples; his only mistake came on his triple flip-triple toe combination, when he turned out of the landing of the second jump.

"My performance today was phenomenal, forgetting the little stumble [on the triple toe]," Farris said. "I have not competed in such a great way for years. I enjoyed skating here, and the crowd was great."

Farris, who tried a quad toe loop at the 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, hopes to add the jump to his repertoire next season.

"The quad did not work at nationals, but I know I need the quad -- and more power -- to be competitive on the international senior level," he said. "Here, I wanted to concentrate on clean programs, which was very successful.

Jason Brown, the 2010 U.S. junior champion, used his strong spins, fine flow over the ice and strong sense of style to gain the highest program components scores of the day and win the bronze medal.

The 17-year-old from suburban Chicago did not try a triple Axel but landed seven other triples, including a triple Lutz-triple toe and a 'Tano Lutz (done with one arm overhead) that gained +3 GOEs (grades of execution) from five of the judges. He earned 144.70 for the free skate and finished with 214.90 points.

"I work a lot on dancing and stretching," said Brown, who trains under Kori Ade. "My choreographer is [former U.S. competitor] Rohene Ward, who is an amazing personality.

"I am proud to be here among many amazing skaters and to have given two great performances."

Brown has yet to try the triple Axel in a major event, but he is working to master the three-and-a-half revolution jump for next season.

"I know I have to do a clean triple axel -- and maybe a quad -- if I want to be competitive on the senior level," he said. "If Yan has learned them in one year, it would be cool if I could as well."

Denis Ten of Kazakhstan, who trains under Frank Carroll, placed fourth with 208.20 points. The 18-year-old skated with mature style but fell on an under-rotated quad toe. Although he went on to hit a triple Axel-triple toe combination, he popped a triple flip into a single.

Timothy Dolensky, the U.S. junior silver medallist, opened his free skate with a solid double Axel-triple toe and triple Lutz, but he over-rotated his triple flip and later popped a second intended triple Lutz. He placed 12th with 169.94 points.

"There were a lot of good things in my program today," Dolensky, 19, said. "If I had not popped the [second] Lutz, I might have ended up in the top 10, which is what I had hoped. But there was little room for mistakes, because the competition really had a high level."

Minsk madness: Yan's 222.45 total score is the highest ever at junior worlds ... This is the first time the U.S. has placed two men on the junior world podium since 2004, when Evan Lysacek and Jordan Brauninger took silver and bronze ... The U.S. and China each earned three men's spots at the 2013 World Junior Championships. Japan loses a spot and can only enter two men next season. Canada and Russia maintain two spots.