Sunday, September 28, 2008

From 'Hopeless Case' to Top Junior Contenders

Moscow, September 2008. Lubov Iliushechkina and Nodari Maisuradze are on the ice in the "Blue Bird" club in the north of the Russian capital, performing their junior short program under the watchful eyes of coach Natalia Pavlova. They land a side by side double Lutz and a double twist, but then Iliushechkina takes a hard fall on the throw triple loop. Pavlova switches the music off and the skaters come to the boards.

"It had to go wrong, the way your position was on the take-off. Let's start again with the twist," said Pavlova, as she switches the music back on. On the next try, Iliushechkina hits a beautiful throw triple loop, but Pavlova is not yet pleased. "Why were you holding your leg so long? We don't have enough music for that," the coach explains.

Iliushechkina and Maisuradze were training hard in preparation for a busy season. It paid off. The reigning World Junior silver medalists, who are only competing in their second season together, easily won gold at their first Junior Grand Prix (JGP) event last week in Ostrava, Czech Repulic.

Full article.

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