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JGP Series finishes up in Great Britain

Eighth event is last chance for skaters to reach JGP Final

American Juliana Cannarozzo hopes to recapture her gold medal-winning form from 2006.
American Juliana Cannarozzo hopes to recapture her gold medal-winning form from 2006. (Getty Images)

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(10/18/2007) - The eighth and final event of the 2007 International Skating Union (ISU) Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating (JGP) Series takes place in Sheffield, Great Britain, Oct. 18-21. The event will be held at Ice Sheffield Arena and will commence Friday with the compulsory dance and the men's and ladies short programs.

More than 30 countries will be represented by the 143 skaters competing over the four-day event. The JGP Series, now in its 11th season, consists of eight international events in a cumulative point-scoring format. Approximately 400 athletes representing more than 35 countries are expected to participate in the entire series. Each athlete is eligible to score points in two of the eight scheduled events (pairs can compete in two of four designated events). The top eight point-earners in each of the disciplines qualify for the JGP Final in Gdansk, Poland, Dec. 6-9.

In Germany last week, Sarah Hecken was the only German skater able to bring home gold for the host country, winning the ladies competition. American Brandon Mroz came back from a fourth-place short program to earn gold in the men's contest. Mroz's teammates Jessica Rose Paetsch and Jon Nuss earned gold in the pairs discipline. Russian ice dancers Kristina Gorshkova and Vitali Butikov earned the gold medal, beating teammates Ekaterina Riazanova and John Guerreiro by more than 10 points.

Ladies

Svetlana Issakova of Estonia earned a bronze medal at the Tallinn Cup in her home country last month. Back for her second year in the JGP Series is U.S. skater Juliana Cannarozzo. Cannarozzo recently placed fourth, right behind Issakova, at JGP Estonia and seventh at the 2007 State Farm U.S. Championships. Her 2006 JGP season saw her capture a gold medal in both Norway and Hungary.

Italian Stefania Berton started skating in JGP events in 2004. Last season she won bronze at Courchevel and silver in Oslo, and went on to place sixth at the JGP Final in Sofia, Bulgaria. This year, her first JGP event brought her back to Sofia, where she again placed sixth. Berton also rounded out the top 10 at last year's world junior championships.

This is the first JGP season, and second appearance this year, for the U.S.'s Kristine Musademba. Musademba turned in a silver medal-winning performance last month at JGP Austria. She also took home silver as a novice at the 2007 U.S. Championships.

Japanese skater Yuka Ishikawa is in only her second year of JGP competition and is still looking for her first JGP medal. In her debut last year at The Hague, Netherlands, she placed sixth. This year, she has a fourth-place finish in Romania to her credit. Ishikawa's teammate, Yuki Nishino, is a JGP newcomer this season. She arrives in Great Britain having recently won gold in her JGP debut in Tallinn.

Men

Douglas Razzano will be making his second appearance in this year's JGP Series after placing fourth at JGP Estonia in September. This is Razzano's third year of JGP competition. He placed seventh at JGP Czech Republic in 2006 and sixth at JGP Slovakia in 2005. Razzano placed fifth as a junior at the 2007 U.S. Championships.

Japan's Tatsuki Machida, another JGP veteran, has been a consistent top-10 finisher in JGP events since his initial seventh-place finish at Courchevel in 2004. Last season he placed ninth at world juniors. He also skated for Team Japan earlier this month in its 2007 International Counter Match against the United States in Yokohama, Japan.

French skater Mark Vaillant comes to Great Britain hoping to improve on his sixth-place finish at JGP Croatia. Also competing in Sheffield is Canadian Ian Martinez, who placed fifth earlier this year in Estonia. In last year's JGP events, Martinez recorded fifth- and 10th-place finishes in Budapest and Liberec, respectively.

Pairs

Canadian pairs Amanda Velenosi and Mark Fernandez had a strong year in 2006-07. In addition to earning a silver medal as juniors at their national championship, the duo went on to place sixth at the world junior championships. In JGP competition this season, they have a silver medal from Estonia under their belt.

Russian skaters Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov have a streak of second-place finishes going back to the Russian Championships, where they took the silver in the junior division. Since then, they have added silver at the world juniors and JGP Germany. Another Russian team, Ksenia Krasilnikova and Konstantin Bezmaternikh, were the silver medal winners at last year's JGP Final. They also competed in Germany last week, earning a bronze medal.

This will be the second JGP season for Kaela Pflumm and Christopher Pottenger. The team already placed fourth at JGP Estonia this season. Their 2006 JGP season started well, with a silver medal in Hungary. They went on to finish fifth in Taipei and ended the season with a fifth-place finish at the JGP Final.

Ice Dancing

Russians Maria Monko and Ilia Tkachenko are in their first season together. The fifth-place team at the 2007 World Junior Championships, Monko and Tkachenko earned a silver medal this year in Vienna.

Back for a second event are Piper Gilles and Timothy McKernan. The team placed fifth at JGP Austria and fourth at the 2007 U.S. Championships as juniors.

Ukrainian ice dancers Nadezhda Frolenkova and Mikhail Kasalo placed fourth at the JGP stop in Croatia. Czech competitors Lucie Mysliveckova and Matej Novak are the reigning two-time national junior champions who took home a fourth-place from their first JGP event this season in Estonia.

Michelle Scott contributed to this story