VANCOUVER – Stephen Gogolev of Toronto is in second place after the short program in junior men’s competition at the ISU Grand Prix Final figure skating competition, which opened Thursday.
The 13-year-old Gogolev produced a clean performance landing his combination jump, triple toe and triple Axel for 78.82 points. Camden Pulkinen of the U.S. leads at 80.31 and Petr Gumennik of Russia is third at 76.16.
“It felt pretty good, I was confident going into the competition,” said Gogolev, who won the junior Grand Prix stop in Slovakia this past September and was fifth a few weeks later in Richmond, B.C. “There were some nerves but that’s usually the case for me.”
Russia stands 1-2-3 in junior ice dancing after the rhythm dance with Canadians Marjorie Lajoie of Boucherville, Que., and Zachary Lagha of Greenfield Park, Que., fourth. Only 1.5 points separate the top-four and four points separate the top-five.
Sofia Shevchenko and Igor Eremenko are first at 67.73, Arina Ushakova and Maxim Nekrasov second at 67.49, Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva and Nikita Nazarov third at 66.29, the Canadians follow at 66.25 and Avonley Nguyen and Vadym Kolesnik of the U.S. are fifth at 63.73.
“The technical scores were not so good but the overall performance was pretty good,” said Lajoie. “The points are so close right now that our goal is just to go out and skate well tomorrow. Our free dance is powerful.”
This past fall, Lajoie and Lagha won the Richmond Junior Grand Prix stop and were second in Austria.
Keegan Messing of Sherwood Park, Alta., is Canada’s sole entry in senior competition and he stands sixth after the men’s short program with 79.56. World champion Nathan Chen of the U.S. leads at 92.99 followed by Shoma Uno of Japan at 91.67 and Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic at 89.21.
“I fought for every element out there,” said Messing, a silver medallist at Skate Canada International last month. “I just had to pray a little bit but I stood on my feet so I’m really happy with that.”
Competition continues Friday featuring the free skates for all three Canadian entries.
Full results: http://www.isuresults.com/results/season1819/gpf1819/