Tag Archive for: Eric Liu

Canadian skaters continue on ISU Junior Grand Prix circuit in Japan

OTTAWA, ON: Canada will have five entries, for a total of seven skaters at the third ISU Junior Grand Prix of the season. The event takes place in Yokohama, Japan, from September 7-11, 2016. Canada will have one entry in ladies and two entries in men’s and ice dance. There will be no pair competition at the event.

Roman Sadovsky, 17, Vaughan, Ont., is one of two Canadian entries in men’s. Last season, Sadovsky won gold at the ISU Junior Grand Prix in Slovakia, bronze at the ISU Junior Grand Prix in Poland and placed sixth at the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final. He also placed fourth at the 2016 Youth Olympic Games and ninth at the 2016 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in the senior category. Sadovsky is coached by Brian Orser and Lee Barkell.

Eric Liu, 15, Edmonton, Alta., will also represent Canada in men’s. Liu placed 15th at his first ISU Junior Grand Prix this season, in St. Gervais, France. Last season he placed seventh in the junior category at the 2016 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships. He is coached by Ravi Walia at Ice Palace FSC.

Emily Bausback, 14, Vancouver, B.C., will be the Canadian entry in ladies. This will be her first ISU Junior Grand Prix assignment. Last season, she placed seventh in the novice category at the 2016 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships. She is coached by Joanne McLeod at the Champs International Skating Centre.

Marjorie Lajoie, 15, Boucherville, Que., and Zachary Lagha, 17, Greenfield Park, Que., are one of two Canadian entries in ice dance. Last season, the 2016 Canadian junior silver medallists placed seventh at the ISU Junior Grand Prix in Spain, fourth at the 2016 Youth Olympic Games, and 13th at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships. Lajoie and Lagha train in Montreal, Que., with coaches Marie-France Dubreuil, Patrice Lauzon, Romain Haguenauer and Pascal Denis.

Olivia Han, 14, Waterloo, Ont., and Grayson Lochhead, 16, Sweaburg, Ont., will also represent Canada in ice dance. The 2016 Canadian novice champions represent the Kitchener-Waterloo SC and Woodstock SC. Han and Lochhead are coached by Paul McIntosh.

Mike Slipchuk, Skate Canada High Performance Director, will be the Canadian team leader. Physiotherapist Paige Larson of North Vancouver, B.C., will be the Canadian medical staff onsite. Patty Klein of Mt. Royal, Que., and Susan Blatz of Burlington, Ont., are the Canadian officials at the event.

The ISU will be live streaming the competition via the ISU Junior Grand Prix YouTube channel.

For results and full entries please visit www.isu.org.


Discipline Name Age Hometown Club Coach
Mens Roman Sadovsky 17 Vaughan, Ont. Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club Brian Orser / Lee Barkell
Mens Eric Liu 15 Edmonton, Alta. Ice Palace FSC Ravi Walia
Ladies Emily Bausback 14 Vancouver, B.C. Champs International Skating Centre Joanne McLeod
Ice Dance Marjorie Lajoie / Zachary Lagha 15/17 Boucherville, Que. / Greenfield Park, Que. CPA Boucherville / CPA St-Lambert Marie-France Dubreuil / Patrice Lauzon / Romain Haguenauer / Pascal Denis
Ice Dance Olivia Han / Grayson Lochhead 14/16 Waterloo, Ont. / Sweaburg, Ont. Kitchener-Waterloo SC / Woodstock SC Paul McIntosh

Canada’s Conrad Orzel in medal hunt at season opening ISU Junior Grand Prix

ST-GERVAIS, France – Conrad Orzel of Woodbridge, Ont., will go for a medal in men’s singles at his first career ISU Junior Grand Prix figure skating competition as he stands fourth after the short program in the season opening event.

Yaroslav Paniot of Ukraine leads at 68.58, Roman Savosin of Russia is second at 67.44 and Kevin Aymoz of France third at 64.74. Orzel, a 16-year-old who was fifth at the junior nationals last season, follows at 61.65.
Eric Liu of Edmonton is 17th.

There was one final on Friday as Alina Zagitova of Russia took the gold medal in women’s singles. Kaori Sakamoto and Rin Nitaya, both of Japan, were second and third.

Olivia Gran, a 13-year-old from Kelowna, B.C., made a strong climb in the standing jumping from 13th after the short program to ninth overall. She had the eighth best free skate.

In ice dancing after the short dance, Ashlynne Stairs of Calgary and Lee Royer of St. Albert, Alta., are in eighth place.

Competition ends Saturday with the men’s free skate and the free dance.

Complete results: ISU JGP St. Gervais 2016

Canadian ice dancers Stairs and Royer climb standings at ISU Junior Grand Prix

ST-GERVAIS, France – Ashlynne Stairs of Calgary and Lee Royer of St. Albert, Alta., produced the sixth best free skate to finish seventh overall in ice dancing Saturday to conclude the first stop on the ISU Junior Grand Prix figure skating circuit.

Angelique Abachkina and Louis Thauron of France won the gold medal with 152.17 points. Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko of the U.S. took the silver at 148.38 and Sofia Polischuk and Alexander Vakhnov of Russia were third at 137.77.

The Canadians produced a strong free skate to The Beatles hits Here Comes the Sun and Something and to finish with the best ISU Junior Grand Prix result of their career. They were eighth at their two Junior Grand Prix assignments last season.

“It felt a lot stronger than the short program,” said Stairs, 16. “We were more in tune together and skated really well. We kept our positive attitude after a rough short program and that really helped. We wanted to do our absolute best.”

It was a 1-2 Russian finish in men’s singles with Roman Savosin taking the gold and Ilia Skirda the silver. Koshiro Shamada of Japan was third.

Conrad Orzel of Woodbridge, Ont., was 11th and Eric Liu of Edmonton gained two spots for 15th. Liu landed his first career triple Axel in competition in Friday’s short program.

“It was a great experience,” said Liu about his international debut. “I got way more nervous than before and it was good to learn it now. I felt my jumping is where it should be at this point but I definitely messed up my spins.”

On Friday, 13-year-old Olivia Gran of Kelowna, B.C., made a strong climb in the standing jumping from 13th after the short program to ninth overall. She had the eighth best free skate.

“It didn’t go the way I plan but there is some learning experience taken out of it,” said Gran about her international debut. “The level of competition was really good and I was impressed by the high scores.”

The second stop on the circuit is this Thursday to Friday in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Complete results: ISU JGP St. Gervais 2016

Skating in the family for Eric Liu

Tiny when he won the junior men’s bronze medal at the 2014 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Ottawa several months ago, Liu is now inching up to the skies. The 12-year-old skater from Edmonton/Vancouver has stretched up about four inches since January. He’s now a towering five feet tall.  It seems as if it’s all in his legs.

And don’t forget the feet, too. Liu notes that since his growth spurt surged, he’s gone through four pairs of boots to accommodate the lengthening of his peds. He’s not even sure of the size he wears now. It’s hard to keep track.

But Skate Canada is definitely keeping track of him. He was one of the youngest invitees to the development camp in Markham, Ontario in April. He’s got style. He’s got the jumps. Liu is a prodigy, having landed a triple Lutz – double toe loop combination to earn his way to a medal in his JUNIOR debut in January. He looked like Nam Nguyen did a few years ago, dwarfed by his competitors on a podium. But Liu is more balletic on the ice (at the same age). Both of them are crowd pleasers.

Liu comes by his skills honestly. His father Louie (Wei) Lui, is a Chinese national who competed as an ice dancer in China at a time when China didn’t have huge numbers of skilled ice dancers. But Louie knows his edges. He moved to Edmonton while he was still a skater, tried out with a Canadian partner at the junior dance level, showed up at the Thornhill Summer Skate with her, and then had to deal with life in a new country. He faded from view.

Louie eventually married Edmonton dentist Linda Xie, and they had two sons, Eric and Aaron. Louie and the boys moved to Vancouver to study under Joanne McLeod. Not surprisingly, younger son, Aaron, is an ice dancer, skating in the powerful dance group led by Megan Wing and Aaron Lowe in Vancouver. Eric’s path to stardom (on this small scale) didn’t come in such a predictable way.

He was a hockey player first. His first gold medal came in hockey. He loved to swing that stick. But everything changed when the Liu family travelled to Japan to attend the 2007 world championships. It was a big deal. Louie’s best friend, Hongbo Zhao and partner Xue Shen made a comeback that season after Zhao’s Achilles tendon injury had scuttled their career the previous year. They roared into Japan, undefeated for the season. The Lius saw Shen and Zhao win that world title in Japan by 15 points and as Zhao finished his free skate, he knelt onto the ice and proposed marriage to Shen. What could be more dramatic?

The Lius had been sitting in the best of seats and little Eric was mesmerized by the scene, no less so because Zhao is Eric’s godparent. The little boy saw a major spectacle with an audience that loved skating. He’s met Zhao several times since, also in Canada.

It was a life-changing event for Eric. “I saw them get a lot of flowers,” Liu said. “I told my dad I wanted to do that, too.”  He loved the glitz of it. He was five years old. Toe picks it was.

His father has taught Eric how to skate, how to use his edges. And so did Edmonton coach Jan Ullmark. It shows as he slips across the ice. He’s been taught to use his arms, quite nicely actually.

Ullmark isn’t surprised by his progress. He spent an hour every day teaching figures and turns to Liu. But Ullmark was taken aback by the little boy’s knowledge of what he was doing and why he was doing it.

Ullmark had him doing a back outside edge, the first test. “Isn’t this like the entry into the Lutz?” he asked Ullmark. Ullmark was floored.

And the back double three? “Doesn’t this lead to the loop?” Liu asked him.

When Liu was only eight years old, he did a clean double Axel, Ullmark said.

McLeod, who started working with Liu two years ago, says the boy has a beautiful flow across the ice. And already he is starting to work on triple-triple combinations and a triple Axel. He has a good start, McLeod said. Now they need to work on the height of his jumps and increase the trajectory. Every day, he’s been skating on the same ice as veterans Kevin Reynolds and Jeremy Ten. It all helps.

The kid is gutsy, too, McLeod said. He’ll try anything. “Let’s talk about it first,” McLeod tells him. But he might be already half-way down the ice.

“My favourite part is doing the jumps,” Eric says. “I like the speed and being in the air.” No ice dancing for him.

Liu’s goals are big, as big as they come. His idol is Evgeny Plushenko. He believes he can be just as good as the Russian. He spills it out with confidence: he wants to go to two Olympics and win one of them.

Liu had already been to the Skate Canada development camp last year. He’s not even a newbie on the scene, at his tender age. “I learned a lot of new tips from different coaches,” he said, referring to Christy Krall, the former coach of Patrick Chan. At one point at the most recent camp, he raced pell-mell down the ice with Roman Sadovsky, two years his senior but already a senior competitor at the national level. He’s already met Sadovsky several times.

And he’s already won internationally. In late March, Liu won a gold medal at the Gardenia Spring Trophy in what was called the advanced novice boys category. He faced skaters from Japan and Italy and won by almost seven points.

He sees and knows where he has to go.

Beverley Smith