(August 29, 2008 - COURCHEVEL, France) – Diane Szmiett of Watford, Ont., won the bronze medal Friday in women's singles at the season opening event on the figure skating junior Grand Prix circuit.
Kristine Musademba led the U.S., to a 1-2 finish with 143.02 points. Becky Bereswill was second at 134.989 and Szmiett, in her third season on the circuit, followed at 126.58. The top-three standings were the same after Thursday's short program.
''I'm very pleased,'' said Szmiett, 17, a world junior team member in 2006. ''I overcame a couple of silly mistakes, which I plan to fix up in training when I get home. Otherwise there were a lot of good things in my program. After last year I knew what I needed to improve upon to get into the medals and today I showed I'm headed in the right direction.''
The highlight for Szmiett was landing her triple Lutz-double toe.
''It's a jump I've been working hard on in training,'' she said. ''It's my biggest jump and I landed a very nice one. I'm really pushing it in my programs this year.''
Fourteen-year-old Rylie McCulloch-Casarsa of Burlington, Ont., was an impressive seventh out of 35 entries in her international debut. She is coached by Brian Orser at the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club.
''Rylie displayed tremendous skating skills and technique,'' said Canadian team manager Petra Burka, a former world champion and an Olympic medallist. ''She landed three triple jumps and just overall made a big impression in her first international.''
In ice dancing after the original dance, Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the U.S., hold the lead at 78.95 followed by Canadian junior champions Kharis Ralph and Asher Hill, both of Toronto, at 75.86. Lucie Mysliveckova and Matej Novak of the Czech Republic are third at 73.17.
''They skated very, very well,'' said Burka. ''I would think if they skate just as well in the final they will at least keep that spot.''
Maja Vermeulen of Acton, Ont., and Andrew Doleman of Dundas, Ont., stand 10th out of 17 couples.
In men's competition, Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic is first after the short program at 63.13 followed by Armin Mahbannoozadeh of the U.S., at 60.46 and Florent Amodio of France in third at 58.30.
Paul Poirier of Unionville, Ont., is in ninth and Jackson Wood of Oromocto, N.B., is 18th. It is Poirier's men's singles debut at the international level. He will also compete on the senior Grand Prix circuit with Vanessa Crone of Aurora, Ont., in ice dancing. The pair won silver at the world juniors last year.
Competition ends Saturday with the free dance and the men's final.