Due to the ongoing pandemic and travel restrictions, the usual ranking was not applied, but an alternative qualifying criteria (ISU Communication 2418) was developed: all winners plus, if necessary, the second best Skater/Couple by total score from their best event have been selected to reach the six entries for Singles and Ice Dance and four entries for the Pairs. The host country Japan received one wild card entry for the Junior Women and Men, so that there will be seven competitors in these disciplines.
Ilia Malinin (USA) leads the Men’s finalists after winning the first event in Courchevel (FRA) and the last event in Linz (AUT). Gleb Lutfullin (RUS) picked up two gold medals in Krasnoyarsk (RUS) and in Gdansk (POL). They are joined by Ilya Yablokov (RUS), Kirill Sarnovskiy (RUS) and Wesley Chiu (CAN), who won one event each. Egor Rukhin (RUS) made it to the Final with a silver.
Sofia Akateva (RUS) is the top qualifier in the Junior Women and the only one with two victories in the series, which came in Russia and Poland. Veronika Zhilina (RUS), Sofia Muravieva (RUS), Adeliia Petrosian (RUS), Isabeau Levito (USA) and Lindsay Thorngren (USA) proceed with one gold medal each.
Pair Skaters Ekaterina Chikmareva/Matvei Ianchenkov (RUS) earned their ticket to Osaka with wins in Krasnoyarsk and Gdansk. Natalia Khabibullina/Ilya Knyazhuk (RUS) collected the gold in Linz while Anastasia Mukhortova/Dmitry Evgenyev (RUS) topped the podium in Kosice. Ekaterina Petushkova/Evgenii Malikov (RUS) qualified with their silver medal from Poland.
In the Ice Dance, Irina Khavronina/Dario Cirisano (RUS) struck gold on home ice and in Gdansk and are the top team in the Final with two victories. Vasilisa Kaganovskaia/Valeriy Angelopol (RUS), Katarina Wolfkostin/Jeffrey Chen (USA), Natalie d’Alessandro/Bruce Waddell (CAN), Sofya Tyutyunina/Alexander Shustitskiy (RUS) and Oona Brown/Gage Brown (USA) won one event each to qualify.
The ISU Junior Grand Prix started in August with the first two events in Courchevel (FRA) and continued in September and October in Kosice (SVK), Krasnoyarsk (RUS), Ljubljana (SLO), Gdansk (POL) and Linz (AUT) and was highlighted by many great performances. Akateva continued to push the limits and became the first woman to perform a triple Axel and three clean quadruple jumps in one program when she won in Gdansk. Cyprus won its first medal on the ISU Junior Grand Prix when Angelina Kudryavtseva/Ilia Karankevich claimed bronze in Poland. Korea claimed a first JGP medal in Ice Dance with bronze for Hannah Lim/Ye Quan in Courchevel 1.
About 300 talented young Skaters from all over the World participated in the series.
Russian skaters had to withdraw from the two events in France due to travel restrictions, but Russia got additional spots in Kosice and Krasnoyarsk. Japan and China did not send Skaters to the series this year. The ISU had an anti-Covid protocol in place that kept all participants as safe as possible.
The 2021/22 season marks the 24th edition of the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating, which was introduced in 1997.
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