By Louis Daignault
DRESDEN, Germany- Julianne Seguin of Longueuil, Que., and Charlie Bilodeau of Trois-Pistoles, Que., delivered a flawless free skate on Saturday to win the gold medal in pairs at the sixth stop on the ISU Junior Grand Prix figure skating circuit.
The second-year Canadian pair collected gold at their two Junior Grand Prix assignments and have qualified for the Junior Grand Prix final set for December 11-14 in Barcelona.
Séguin and Bilodeau scored a personal best and Canadian junior record 174.10 points with Lina Fedorova and Maxim Miroshkin of Russia second at 162.12 and Chelsea Liu and Brian Johnson of the U.S. third at 132.15.
‘’We approached this season ready to work very hard and that’s allowed us to have this success,’’ said Séguin, 17. ‘’One of our goals this season was to reach the final so this is a big step in our career.’’
The pair showed their expressive and athletic skills to music by Peter Gabriel (In Your Eyes). In particular their endurance was impressive as they landed back-to-back side-by-side jumps and two throws and lifts in the second half of the program.
‘’We’re known for our chemistry on the ice and we always try to put the emphasis on that in our performances,’’ said Bilodeau, 21. ‘’Today we were in the zone and the program felt very natural. It’s a more elaborate program than last year and we’ve shown we’ve done our homework.’’
Not too be discounted was a fine performance for Hope McLean of Glencoe, Ont., and Trennt Michaud of Trenton, Ont. The new pair produced the fourth best free skate of the day to climb from seventh to fifth overall to conclude an impressive international debut.
In men’s competition, Roman Sadovsky of Vaughan, Ont., scored the second best free skate of the day to climb from eighth to fourth overall with 192.44 points to remain in contention for a spot in the Grand Prix Final. Andrei Lazikin of Russia took the gold at 202.68, He Zhang of China was second at 196.20 and Yaroslav Paniot of Ukraine third at 194.60.
The 15-year-old Sadovsky, a gold medallist last month, executed a clean program that showcased his incredible flexibility. He scored a personal best 132.54 for the free skate.
‘’It was a big challenge to come back from the short program,’’ said Sadovsky, who fell on his triple Lutz in the short then landed it twice in the free skate. ‘’I knew there there was no room for error. I liked everything about my performance today. It was the best I’ve ever done it.’’
Mitchell Gordon of Vancouver was 10th.
The last stop on the ISU Junior Grand Prix circuit before the final is October 9-11 in Zagreb, Croatia.
Full results: http://www.isuresults.com/results/jgpger2014/index.htm.