Nagoya / Japan

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Alexei Krasnozhon (USA) felt like a gladiator on the ice and fought his way to gold at the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final in Nagoya on Friday.His teammate Camden Pulkinen rose from fifth place to claim the silver medal and Japan’s Mitsuki Sumoto earned the bronze.

Krasnozhon opened his routine to ‘Nelle tue mani’ from the ‘Gladiator’ soundtrack with an underrotated quad loop and went on to land eight clean triples including two Axels and a triple Lutz-triple loop as well as three level-four spins. The 17-year-old set a new personal best with 155.02 points and racked up 236.35 points to win the title. “It was pretty good, there is still a lot to improve going into Nationals but I am happy today. I was here to get the gold medal and I was able to take it, all I needed to do is to just get it done. I am proud of myself to not get distracted, I was very focused on doing my job. I was able to take one breath out, and just skate for myself, probably the first time in my career that I was able to let everything go and focus on one thing at a time,” Krasnozhon said.

Pulkinen’s performance to Chopin Etudes included two triple Axels and five more triples, he only doubled a flip and the loop was shaky. The American picked up 146.20 points, a personal best as well, for a total of 217.10 points. “Honestly, I don't really remember much that I did in the program because I was so in the zone while I was performing and i really wasn't thinking. I really let my body take over and trust my training. I feel amazing! My goal here was not really about placement, so I just wanted to deliver two good programs and improve on my seasons best, which I did, and I'm really happy about that so I have a lot to take from this competition,” Pulkinen shared.

Skating to “Les Miserables”, Sumoto fell on his opening triple Axel, but recovered to produce six clean triples. The 16-year-old earned 137.35 points which added up to 214.45 points overall.

“I fell on the triple Axel and stepped out of the last triple Lutz, which was disappointing. But overall I feel good about my performance and the result. Actually I was not calculating the points in my head, but when I saw ‘third’ on the screen for my free program, I thought ‘I could make the podium this time’. I was so excited when I found out that I am going to be on the podium,” Sumoto commented.

Makar Ignatov (RUS) came fourth on 211.99 points. Alexey Erokhov (RUS) dropped from second to fifth after missing several jumps (2017.04 points). Andrew Torgashev (USA) placed sixth (160.49 points).