Strong international field to compete at JGP France
70 athletes from 27 countries to skate in Courchevel
|Polina Shelepen is the favorite for ladies gold at the JGP France. (Photo courtesy of ice-dance.com)|
Russia's Polina Shelepen is the favorite to win gold after finishing fourth at the 2010 World Junior Figure Skating Championships. She won both of her 2009 JGP assignments and took the silver at the 2009 Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. Shelepen will face teammate Rose Sheveleva, who recorded fifth- and sixth-place finishes at her two JGP assignments last season; France's Yretha Silete, who took sixth at 2009 JGP Germany; and Japan's Kana Muramoto, winner of the bronze at 2008 JGP Belarus. Both U.S. entrants, Yasmin Siraj and Nina Jiang, are making their international debuts.
The men's competition is more wide open. Canadian Andrei Rogozine has five top-10 JGP finishes to his credit since 2007 and placed sixth at the 2010 World Junior Championships. France's Romain Ponsart posted sixth-place finishes at both of his 2009 JGP assignments, while Japan's Takuya Konda came in fifth at 2009 JGP Hungary. His teammate, Ryuju Hino, just missed the junior podium at the 2010 Japanese Championships, where he placed fourth. Americans Jason Brown and Max Aaron -- both of whom make their first appearances in a JGP competition -- finished 1-2, respectively, at the 2010 Gardena Spring Trophy as juniors.
Like the men, the dance field in France is bereft of a clear-cut favorite. France's Geraldine Bott and Neil Brown placed 10th at the 2010 World Junior Championships, while Czech Republic's Kubova and Dmitri Kiselev finished 14th at that competition. U.S. team Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus have a pair of seventh-place finishes at 2009 JGP events to their credit, while Canadians Carolyn MacCuish and Tyler Morris took seventh at 2009 JGP Germany. Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin, one of the two Russian teams in the field, captured the junior silver medal at the 2009 NRW Trophy. The second American team, Alexandra Aldridge and Daniel Eaton, will compete in their first JGP event.