Ice Network

McNamara, Carpenter cruise to gold at U.S. JGP

Russia's Gubanova, Sintsov take pairs title; Japan's Shiraiwa tops ladies
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Commanding the ice for every second of their 'Carmen' free dance, Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter showed why they should be considered the favorites to win the world junior title next March. The U.S. junior champions won the segment by almost 15 points and finished more than 26 points ahead of their closest competitors en route to the gold, their second such medal in the JGP Series (2013 JGP Belarus). -Daphne Backman

American ice dancers Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter won gold at the Junior Grand Prix (JGP) in Colorado Springs, topping their competition by 26 points.

Skating to Carmen, the reigning world junior silver medalists opened with a Level 3 circular step sequence, then earned Level 4 on four of their next six elements. The duo's free dance score of 93.06 is a new personal best, as is their total score of 159.31.

"It always feels good to have such a big win," McNamara said. "It gives us a lot of confidence heading into the rest of the season."

The team led by 12 points heading into Saturday's free dance.                              

"You try not to think about [the lead]," Carpenter said. "If you focus on scores, regardless of what they are, it can really throw you off. Our [short program score] was definitely a boost in confidence, but we didn't want to count our chickens before they hatched. We want to take each event as it is and do our best regardless of what has already happened."

Both McNamara and Carpenter feel there is still plenty of room to grow this season.

"It's still so early in the season, and these programs are relatively new," McNamara said. "We want to work on getting everything as solid as we can. We want our programs to be second nature."

Canada's Mackenzie Bent and Dmitre Razgulajevs finished second, coming away with 133.27 total points. Their Ben-Hur free dance featured four Level 4 elements. Russia's Sofia Polishchuk and Alexander Vakhnov rounded out the podium with 129.82 points.


Russia's Anastasia Gubanova and Alexei Sintsov took gold with a 140.16 points, but it was Americans Joy Weinberg and Maximiliano Fernandez that surprised many -- including themselves -- by taking the silver medal.

"This competition went really well," Weinberg said. "This was better than we could have hoped for, with us not skating with each other for very long. It was our goal to skate clean programs."

Weinberg and Fernandez, who are coached by Jim Peterson and Amanda Evora, only started training together in May.

The duo's Le Corsaire free skate was highlighted by a throw triple salchow, Level 4 lift and Level 4 combination spin.

"We both know what we want this season, and we're out there to get it," Fernandez said. "We know what we're capable of and just need to keep improving every day."

The Russian gold medalists were impressive.

A Level 4 reverse lasso lift, coupled with opening side-by-side triple jumps that were quickly followed by a throw triple flip, propelled the Russians to victory. Their Michael Jackson-themed free skate earned 91.92 points, for a total score of 140.16.

Their country mates, Elena Ivanova and Taqir Kahakimov, finished third with 134.07 points.


Japan's Yuna Shiraiwa rallied from fifth after the short program to take gold in the ladies competition.

Shiraiwa earned 108.24 points for her free skate set to "Night Waltz" and "Send in the Clowns" from A Little Night Music. Skating in her first international competition, Shiraiwa scored a total 164.50 points.

She opened with a triple flip-triple toe combination and a triple salchow-triple loop combination. She finished her program with a Level 4 combination spin and a triple lutz-double toe-double loop combination.

Marin Honda won silver, earning a total of 156.44 after her 95.39-point free skate. Honda, who skated to music from Beetlejuice, opened strong, connecting on a triple lutz, double axel-triple toe combination and a Level 4 sit spin. She also completed two strong jumps in the second half of her program -- a triple flip and triple salchow.

Team USA's Vivian Le took third with 156.08 points. Le was pleased with her result, considering that she had been sick all of last week.

"I'm so shocked right now," Le said. "I've been sick for the last week and didn't get a lot of training in. I'm really emotional right now."

A newcomer to the JGP, Le now has two medals on the circuit after taking bronze at JGP Slovakia.

"I'm really happy with how my season has gone so far," Le said. "I really can't believe it."

Le, who was hit with two deductions, missed the silver medal by just 0.36 points. The Texas native built momentum midway through her free skate with a double axel-triple toe loop combination and a triple lutz-double toe. Le ended her program with a Level 3 combination spin and a Level 4 layback spin.

"I wanted to skate for myself tonight," Le said. "I love to skate and wanted to show people that tonight."