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JGP Series gets under way this week in France

Brown takes first step toward defending 2011 JGP Final title

Jason Brown goes in search of another JGP gold medal in France.
Jason Brown goes in search of another JGP gold medal in France. (Tom Briglia)

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By Mimi Whetstone, special to icenetwork.com
(08/21/2012) - The 2012 Junior Grand Prix Series gets started this week at its first stop in Courchevel, France, where Americans Jason Brown and Vanessa Lam look to be among the favorites.

Ladies

Lam begins her international season after medaling at both of her JGP events last year, taking the gold in Austria and the bronze in Australia. Her finishes helped her to qualify for the 2011 JGP Final, where she placed fifth. Teammate Ashley Cain, the reigning U.S. junior silver medalist, looks for her first JGP medal in three tries.

Also hoping to capture the title is Ziquan Zhao of China, who finished second at last year's Chinese championships. Other notable competitors are 2011 French silver medalist Lenaelle Gilleron-Gorry and reigning Russian junior bronze medalist Elena Radionova, who is only 13 years old.

Men's

A season ago, Brown captured the silver medal at JGP Italy in addition to winning the title at JGP Australia. He closed the season by winning bronze at the 2012 World Junior Championships. Also skating for a spot on the podium are Ryuju Hino of Japan, who earned a personal best score of 182.71 points to win the gold medal at last year's JGP Latvia; Russia's Mikhail Kolyada, who finished fourth at last year's JPG Australia; and Nam Nguyen of Canada, who, at just 12 years old, became Canada's youngest junior men's champion in 2011.

Ice Dancing

Russia's Valeria Zenkova and Valerie Sinitsin are the gold medal favorites in the ice dancing competition. The duo earned silver and bronze medals last year in Italy and Australia, respectively. Victoria Hasegawa and Connor Hasegawa, the 2011 Canadian junior bronze medalists, placed fifth at both of their JGP events last season, in Poland and Italy. The field also features Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France, who finished fifth at last year's world junior championships, and Italy's Sofia Sforza and Francesco Fioretti, who have competed at three consecutive world junior championships.

The U.S. dance contingent consists of reigning U.S. novice champions Holly Moore and Daniel Klaber and 2012 U.S. junior bronze medalists Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter.