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Rippon routs men for junior world title

Second consecutive title for Pennsylvania native

Adam Rippon's "Send in the Clowns" free skate helped lead him to a 17-point victory over the junior men's contingent in Sofia.
Adam Rippon's "Send in the Clowns" free skate helped lead him to a 17-point victory over the junior men's contingent in Sofia. (Michelle Harvath)

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By Klaus-Reinhold Kany, special to icenetwork.com
(02/26/2009) - Sofia, Bulgaria, may just have become Adam Rippon's new favorite city.

Rippon defended his 2008 World Junior men's title, winning in a commanding fashion -- by 17 points -- and grabbing a season-best free skate and overall score.

The 19-year-old skater showed a steady free program with eight triple jumps, including two Axels. The components in his program set to "Send in the Clowns," went up to an average of 7.0. He also excelled with an elegant style and interesting step-sequence between his elements.

"I feel really good about everything," said Rippon. "I am very happy to defend the junior world title. Mentally and physically I was in really good shape going into the long program. I'm really happy with myself that I could put together this program. A really rewarding experience. So far it's the best I've skated in competition. When I saw that Michal [Brezina] did two clean triple Axels, I knew that I had to do them as well. My competitive nature took over. It was no doubt that I would try two triple Axels because I will need them in my senior career anyway."

Brezina's program had two Axels, good speed and flow, and was enough to secure him the silver. Earlier this season, he won two Junior Grand Prix events, but a knee injury kept him out of the JGP Final. He commented: "I have to thank my doctors that me knee is OK again."

Russian skater Artem Grigoriev won the bronze medal thanks to good presentation and an almost clean program. He executed six triple jumps, but no Axel.

"This medal is a good present for my birthday which is tomorrow," said Grigoriev. "I had hoped to be in the top six, so I am very happy. I did not try a triple Axel or quad today because I have problems with my foot. My final goal is to win a medal at the Olympics in five years."

Denis Ten of Kazakhstan was fourth, his highlight was a combination triple Axel and triple toeloop. Curran Oi of Boston, was fifth. He executed six clean triples, including an Axel, but fell on his second Lutz -- which was downgraded. However, he did get good components scores for his dynamic style.

The second Boston skater, Ross Miner ended up tenth. Four of his triple jumps were clean, but he fell on three other elements.