New skaters to look out for this Junior Grand Prix

The Junior Grand Prix is always the best place to spot new talent coming into the figure skating world, but some skaters and teams are already on some fans’ radars even before they’ve made their Junior debut. Let’s introduce you to some of the international debutants you might want to keep an eye out for this season!

Hana Bath (Australia)

Hana Bath is 13 years old and is coached by Evgueni and Maria Borounov. She is the current Junior National champion and Senior silver medalist. She has attempted a triple axel several times in competition, the gif above comes from the WAISA State Championships last year in the Junior women’s free skate. It was deemed under-rotated and received a GOE of -1.28, although the attempt is certainly very close. Hana has also landed a triple lutz + triple toe combo at Nationals. We’re very excited to see a skater with so much potential coming out of Australia! Bath is scheduled to make her JGP debut in Bangkok and is also assigned to Osaka.

Dania Mouaden and Theo Bigot (France)

Mouaden/Bigot are ice dancers and have been partners for several seasons, and won many novice competitions. Back in 2019 they won the Basic Novice gold at the Santa Claus Cup in Budapest, and also won gold in the Advanced Novice category at the Mezzaluna Cup in 2021 and Bavarian Open in 2022 by large margins over their competitors, many of whom are also now competing on the Junior Grand Prix this year. Sadly all of their novice skates that used to be on YouTube have since been removed, but we remember watching them and loving their potential back in early 2022, admiring their depth of edges at such a young age and how in sync with one another they were. The team are 13 and 14 respectively and are coached by Barbara Piton. They are assigned to JGP Cup of Austria and JGP Budapest.

Martina Ariano Kent and Charly Laliberte Laurent (Canada)

Making their JGP debut at the Cup of Austria are Canadian pairs team Ariano Kent/Laliberte Laurent. The team paired up recently, with Charly having won novice nationals last season with former partner Alexane Jean and Martina having come 3rd at junior nationals with former partner Alexis Leduc. They made their domestic debut at the NextGen competition and won with a total score of 150.06, 14 points ahead of their closest competitors. They already have a successful triple twist and have throw triple loop and salchow in their arsenal. The team are 16 and 18 respectively and are coached by Marc-Andre Craig and David Alexandre Paradis. Both of their programs combine a cover version of a song with its original version: the short to I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) and the free to Radioactive by Imagine Dragons. They are also assigned to JGP Istanbul.

Juheon Lim (South Korea)

Juheon is 17 and will be making his JGP debut in Osaka, and his 3rd place at the domestic JGP selection competition ensures that he will receive a second spot as well. Despite coming 3rd, Juheon shows a lot of promise, already having a triple axel + triple toe combination in his free skate. He finished seven points behind his compatriots Minkyu Seo and Hyungyeom Kim, but he’ll certainly be one to watch if he continues to score 200+ points at international competitions.

Caroline Mullen and Brendan Mullen (USA)

The Mullen siblings will be making their JGP debut at the Cup of Austria, followed by a second event in Osaka. The duo changed coaches to Dmitri Ilin and Ruslan Goncharov during the past season following an extended break due to a bad ankle injury for Brendan that saw them sit out the entire competitive season. The team have started strong with a 3rd place finish in the Junior event at the Lake Placid Ice Dance International beating out their compatriots who finished 9th at Junior Worlds last season. Their free dance to 2WEI’s Survivor is possibly my favourite program I’ve seen using this music that has been woefully overused in the skating world over the past few years. The Mullens’ are 17 and 19 respectively and their programs were choreographed by Greg Zuerlein, Charlie White, and coach Goncharov.

Yuseong Kim (South Korea)

Yuseong is 14 years old and the twin sister of Yujae Kim who placed 4th at Junior Worlds last season. Yuseong had her international debut at the Denis Ten Memorial junior competition last season placing 2nd, but this will be her first time on the Junior Grand Prix. Much like her sister, she also has a triple axel in her repertoire, and it was deemed rotated at the JGP selection competition this summer. She finished two spots ahead of Yujae in 4th, guaranteeing her two JGP spots to her sister’s one, and is scheduled to compete at JGP Bangkok and JGP Budapest.

Taiga Nishino (Japan)

Taiga is 13 years old and will make his junior debut at JGP Cup of Austria, and is currently pencilled in for JGP Budapest. Despite his young age, he has great speed and charisma, as well as a triple axel. His free skate features O Fortuna which can be a difficult piece of music to perform, but we think he’s up to the challenge. He finished 2nd at Novice Nationals last season, and while we don’t expect him to be winning against some of his more seasoned competitors, we think he’ll make an impression.

Wenning Shi and Zhiyu Wang (China)

Wenning and Zhiyu are a pair team that will make their debut at JGP Cup of Austria. We see a lot of potential in these two, and while they’re still working on their jumps and throws, their new triple twist shows great promise. Their programs are choreographed by Olympic champion Wenjing Sui, and their short program in particular really helps bring out their burgeoning performance quality and connection with one another, an aspect that’s often lacking in young Chinese pairs. The pair are 13 and 18 respectively. We’re excited to see China start to build back up their pairs program again, as things looked pretty bleak after the end of the last Olympic cycle.

Of course, these are only a select few skaters and teams performing on the JGP this season and we can’t wait to discover even more new talent and watch the returning skaters continue to grow and thrive as they move towards the Senior ranks!

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