Amodio takes lead at ISU JGP Final

Three U. S. skaters are close behind Frenchman

Florent Amodio of France topped the junior men in Korea.
Florent Amodio of France topped the junior men in Korea. (Paul Tortland )


Related Content Top Headlines
By J. Barry Mittan, special to
(12/11/2008) - Florent Amodio of France won the junior men's short program at the SBS ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating (JGP) Final with 68.20 points for a Latin-themed program that included "The Mask of Zorro" and "Malaguena."

The big difference-maker for Amodio was the triple Axel. He landed one, and the three U.S. skaters placing behind him only did doubles.

"Everything was smooth and fresh today," he said. "I really wanted to have a good start in my first Final."

Armin Mahbanoozadeh earned a season-high 67.05 points for his "Dark Forest" program to take second place. His triple flip-triple toe combination received the highest element score of the event.

"I feel really happy," he stated. "It's a new personal best, and I've skated how I've been training."

Richard Dornbush, who led the JGP standings coming into the Final, skated to "La Virgen de la Macarena" and placed third with 66.50 points.

"I was very excited, because I've never been here before and it's a foreign country," Dornbush said.

Alexander Johnson earned 64.85 points to finish fourth for his performance to "Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra" from the motion picture soundtrack Ladies in Lavender.

Both Russian skaters earned personal bests for the season. Ivan Bariev scored 63.75 points for fifth place using RMB's new arrangement of Beethoven's "Prelude." Artur Gachinski placed sixth with 62.20 points after skating to "Assassin's Tango" from the motion picture soundtrack Mr. And Mrs. Smith.

Kazakhstan's Denis Ten scored 60.59 points to take the seventh position using a flamenco program from Once Upon a Time in Mexico. He had positive Grades of Execution on his triple Axel, but a fall on his combination left him behind the leaders.

Canada's Elladj Baldé finished in eighth place with a score of 59.89.