All Hail Princess Elena!

I don’t pay attention to the Junior World Championships as much but it’s always wise to keep an eye out for the podium finishers on Olympic years because of the exodus of skaters and the arrival of bright newcomers that inevitably happens during the season following the Olympics. It seems that Russia had a podium sweep in the ladies event, though perhaps with less dubious judging involved.

2014 junior worlds ladies podium

For anyone paying attention to my blog, you would know that my favourite Russian baby this season was Elena Radionova, despite the fact that she was not age eligible for the Olympics. She skated two perfect programs at Junior Worlds to win the gold, making her a strong newcomer and contender in the Grand Prix series next season. I’m still reluctant to call her the future of figure skating, as I did Yuzuru 3 years ago, mostly because she has yet to reach that level of divinity I saw in Yuzuru when he did that Romeo & Juliet program at THE ICE. If puberty treats her well though, we may she her shining bright amongst her peers.

With all the criteria in the PCS categories fresh in my mind, I have to say that in some categories, Elena already surpasses who the judges have deemed the “Olympic Champion.” She doesn’t quite have the sureness in her edges, steps and foot placements that you see in the senior ladies, but I think I’ve seen more one foot skating in this short program than Sotnikova’s entire long program. The transitions are well used in this program, as in, they’re used as movements¬† that lead into elements like jumps, rather than steps and movements that are haphazardly strewn between bouts of two foot skating. I’m not sure if there’s a storyline but there is a definite sense of intrigue and subtle drama in the choreography and Elena expresses the subtleties of the music and choreography well. She could have better carriage and presence and use more facial expressions in the program but I find both her programs and her skating more compelling than Sotnikova overall.

Elena also skated a solid long program. There was a small bobble (and possible under-rotation) on a landing in one of her earlier jump combos (3Lz-3T) but overall, another clean performance by Radionova. I think I’ve seen her skate this program with more commitment in the past but I also hear that she’s recovering from injury so kudo, girl!

I’m excited to see what Elena has to offer next season though this season isn’t over yet – senior worlds is up soon! I will have a predictions post up possibly tomorrow. I’ve been waiting until the last minute to do it because there are so many withdrawals and replacements after the Olympics.

What are your thoughts about our two-time Junior World Champion? Let me know in the comments!

~The Rinkside Cafe

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