Press Release

Sui, Han win pairs; Hochstein leads men

Keegan Messing sits in second

Grant Hochstein will be among the competitors at the 2010 U.S. Collegiate Championships.
Grant Hochstein will be among the competitors at the 2010 U.S. Collegiate Championships. (Paul Tortland)

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(03/11/2010) - The ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2010 continued in The Hague, The Netherlands, on Wednesday with the men's short program and the pairs free skate.

Hochstein leads after men's short
Grant Hochstein (USA) won the men's short program ahead of his teammate Keegan Messing and Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu.

Performing to "Sleeping Beauty," Hochstein delivered a flawless program that included a double Axel, a triple Lutz-triple toe loop, a triple flip and three Level 4 spins. The American posted a new personal best of 71.35 points (41.40 element score/29.95 program component score) to take the lead.

"I didn't have expectations for where I wanted to place. My big goal for this event was just to focus on myself and on my love of skating. That's what I went out and did, and I'm surely very happy with the result," Hochstein commented.

"Competing at the Junior Grand Prix series has built my confidence a lot. I wanted to skate with my heart, and I skated with my heart, and I think you always skate better when you love to skate."

Messing, who like Hochstein, competes in his first Junior World Championships, nailed a triple Axel, a triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination, a triple flip and earned a Level 4 for his combination spin. The 18-year-old picked up 68.90 points (40.90/28.00), a new personal best, for his routine set to the classical "Four Billion Years" from The Soloist soundtrack.

"I felt pretty good about how I skated. I went out there, expecting to have some fun, and I had a blast out there," Messing said. "I was coming into this competition as first alternate. When I got the call, I felt sorry for him [Ross Miner] that he couldn't compete, but I couldn't help to be excited for myself to actually be here, competing at Junior Worlds and to place second in the Short Program is pretty awesome."

Hanyu skated next to last out of the 46 competitors. He opened his dynamic program to Mission Impossible 2 with a triple Axel, followed by a triple Lutz-double toe loop combination and a triple flip. The ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champion got a level three for two spins and the circular steps to score 68.75 points (37.90/30.85).

"Today's performance was not very good, but I am satisfied to be in third place," Hanyu told the press. "I missed my triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination, but I am especially disappointed with my spins and footwork. I lost a few levels there."

Denis Ten (KAZ) came fourth after missing completely the flying sit spin and wobbly landings on the triple Axel as well as the triple Lutz-triple toe combination (68.40 points). Nan Song (CHN) is currently ranked sixth and still close to the podium with 67.97 points. He turned in a solid performance that included a triple Axel, but he received a deduction for the wrong edge take-off on his triple flip.

Sui/Han skate to pairs gold
Wenjing Sui and Cong Han of China skated to the gold in the Pairs event. Japan's Narumi Takahashi and Mervin Tran claimed the silver and the bronze medal went to Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov of Russia. Sui and Han put down a dynamic performance to the "City Lights" Charlie Chaplin movie soundtrack. They opened with a side by side double Axel-double Axel sequence and a big throw quadruple Salchow, but she two-footed the landing. The ISU Junior Final Grand Prix Champions also hit a triple twist, a throw triple flip and were awarded a Level 4 for the spins, the death spiral and the two lifts. They posted a new personal best score with 109.77 points (60.73 element score/49.04 program component score) and overall won the title in their debut at junior worlds with 170.71 points. Sui and Han are the second Chinese pair to win the ISU World Junior Championships after Dan Zhang and Hao Zhang, who were Champions in 2001 and 2003.

"We are pleased with our performance and especially happy that we were able to show the quadruple throw, which is a very difficult element," Han said. "There were a few little mistakes, but overall we think it was good. The quad throw is hard to do and we've worked together with our coach (Bo Luan) step by step in practice to be able to put it out in competition."

Takahashi and Tran's routine to "Butterfly Lovers" was highlighted by a double Axel, a high double twist. A throw triple Salchow and difficult spins and lifts. The ISU Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalists earned 97.69 points and added another silver medal to their collection with a total of 157.23 points. Takahashi and Tran are the second pair team from Japan to win a medal at junior worlds. Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Markuntsov took the silver back in 2001.

"We're happy with our performance. It's a lot better than the other two junior worlds we have done. It wasn't clean-clean, but basically clean, so we are happy about that. It's great to finish the season like this," Tran told the post-event press conference.

"It was not the best performance tonight, but I'm happy, because there was no big mistake," Takahashi added.

Skating to oriental music, Stolbova and Klimov landed a double twist, a throw triple toe and throw triple Salchow, but she fell on the second jump in the triple toe loop-double Axel sequence. The couple from St. Petersburg got 91.09 points, establishing a new personal best for themselves, and remained in third place at 145.35 points.

"Today not all our elements worked out, and so we were not able to fight for the highest spots on the podium, but we are happy to have held on to third place. This is basically our biggest success so far, our first international success," Klimov commented.

Tatiana Novik and Mikhail Kuznetsov (RUS) moved up from fifth to fourth at 139.63 points. They completed a rarely seen side by side triple loop. Britney Simpson and Nathan Miller (USA) slipped from fourth to fifth after she fell on a double Axel and throw triple loop (138.00 points).