No medals for American men in The Hague

No American men medaled at the 2010 World Junior Championships in The Hague, Netherlands, as overnight leader Grant Hochstein and Keegan Messing, who was second in the short program, faltered on the triple Axels. Hochstein took fifth while Messing placed fourth overall.

Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan claimed the title in an exciting men’s event. China’s Nan Song surged from fifth place to take the silver medal while Russia’s Artur Gachinski rose from sixth to earn the bronze. Armin Mahbanoozadeh dropped to 10th place overall.

Hanyu, who was ranked third in the short program, turned in a strong performance to “Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini” by Sergei Rachmaninov that featured two triple Axels, a triple Salchow-triple toe combination as well as three more triples and fast, well centered spins. The only glitch in his fluid routine was a wobbly triple flip.

The 15-year-old picked up a personal best score of 147.35 points, racking up a total of 216.10 points to take his first medal at the World Junior Championships. Hanyu had finished 12th in his debut at the event in 2009.

“Today, I am very happy to win this competition and I am satisfied with today’s performance, including the jumps, steps and spins. I did my best,” Hanyu said. “I am very happy to win, but I am even happier with the performance itself.”

Song skated first in the final flight and set the bar high with a powerful performance to Ennio Morricone soundtracks, hitting a triple Axel, a big triple Axel- triple toeloop combination and three other triple jumps. Only a triple Lutz was shaky. The Chinese earned a level four for two spins and scored 137.28 points, setting a new personal best for himself, en route to an overall 205.25.

“I am extremely pleased with my performance today. This was my last time to compete at the World Junior Championships and I didn’t want to have any regrets,” he said. “The size of the medal is not so important. This medal gives me so much honor and when I look at it, it brings back pleasant memories.”

Skating last to “Narcissus – Whispers from the Mirror”, Gachinski popped his planned opening quadruple toe into a double, but then went on as if nothing had happened and nailed two triple Axels, five more triple jumps and two level- four spins.

“The quad didn’t work out, but all the other elements were good and I am satisfied,” he said. “Maybe there wasn’t enough preparation for the quad as this was the first time for me to try it in competition. Maybe I wasn’t ready for it, but I felt confident. I’ll work on it for the future.”

Messing, who stood in second place after the short, dropped to fourth. He landed seven triple jumps, but went down on a triple Axel, putting his total score at 197.03. Hochstein  fell on a triple Axel as well and struggled with three other jumps to drop to fifth (194.30 points).


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