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Seasoned competitors head to 2012 JGP Turkey

Brown, Miyahara, Stepanova and Bukin hope to return to top of podium in Istanbul

Japan's Satoko Miyahara, who blew away the field at JGP Lake Placid, looks to win again.
Japan's Satoko Miyahara, who blew away the field at JGP Lake Placid, looks to win again. (Daphne Backman)

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By Mimi Whetstone, special to icenetwork.com
(09/19/2012) - The Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series enters its fourth competition this week in Istanbul, Turkey, where Japan's Satoko Miyahara hopes to capture her second 2012 JGP title and American Jason Brown hopes to qualify for his second consecutive Junior Grand Prix Final.

Ladies

Miyahara will make her second 2012 JGP appearance after winning the ladies title in Lake Placid last month. Her free skate to the music of Romeo and Juliet earned a personal-best score of 106.89 points, helping her finish nearly eight points ahead of the field.

Also vying for the title will be Russia's Uliana Titushkina, who won bronze in her JGP debut last month in Courchevel, France, and American Leah Keiser, who will make her JGP debut after winning the junior ladies title at the 2012 International Challenge Cup in The Hague, Netherlands. Another contending for a medal will be Oliya Clarkson, the first skater to represent Grenada at an ISU competition, and winner of the bronze medal at Istanbul Cup last year.

Men's

Brown, a five-time JGP medalist, hopes to return to the top of the podium after finishing second at JGP France last month. Brown performed his free skate to "Liebestraum" by Franz Liszt and finished with a combined score of 185.81 points and earned the first medal toward defending his JGP Final title. Challenging Brown will be June Hyoung Lee of Korea, who placed fifth last month at JGP United States and earned a personal-best score of 176.48 points at 2011 JGP Italy, where he finished third.

Also competing for a spot on the podium will be Alexander Petrov of Russia, who finished fifth at his JGP debut in Courchevel, France, last month with a personal-best score of 159.68 points, and Brown's teammate, Shotaro Omori, who finished fifth at 2011 JGP Estonia.

Ice Dancing

Russia's Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin will make their 2012 JGP debut after winning both of their 2011 JGP events in Italy and Romania by more than 10 points. Stepanova and Bukin went on to win bronze at the 2011 JGP Final, less than two points behind second place.

Madeline Edwards and Zhao Kai Pang of Canada also hope to win gold after earning bronze last month at JGP France. Their free dance, performed to a medley of songs by Ludovic Bource, earned 67.20 points without any negative Grade of Execution scores. Shari Koch and Christian Nüchtern of Germany will also try to make it to the podium after finishing fourth at both 2012 JGP Austria and 2011 JGP Italy.