By Hannah Solmor
This weekend, 24 of the world’s best junior teams will gather in Zagreb, Croatia to finish out the 2014-2015 synchronized skating season. For years the ISU World Junior Synchronized Skating Championships has been a showing of amazing talent, and this year will be no exception.
Recap of last year’s competition
Last year’s competition was incredibly close. About six points separated all of the contenders. Team Finland 1, Team Fintastic, stole the gold with a combined score of 173.77. Team Canada 1, Les Supremes, came in a close second scoring 170.89 in total. Team Finland 2, Musketeers, took the bronze medal with a combined score of 167.63. Other top finishes included Sweden 1 in fourth, Canada 2 in fifth, Russia 1 in sixth, and USA 1 in seventh. Finland, Canada, and the United States have been the three most prominent nations on the podium, winning 40 of the 42 medals granted. Russia is the only other country to break into the top three, earning silver in 2002, and bronze in 2013. As many countries step up their game, the division continues to grow more competitive.
This year’s competition
The competition kicks off Friday at 6:45 p.m. Croatian time (1:45 p.m. Eastern time).
Medal contender Team Finland 1, the Musketeers, is coming off of a strong competition season after taking the gold medal at the Cup of Berlin with a score of 156.25. The team also scored 179.58 at its national championships, landing them the gold. Last year’s silver medalists, Team Canada 1, Les Supremes, have also had a good run thus far winning the French Cup with a score of 176.00, the highest score for a junior team this season, and winning its own national title with a score of 173.76.
Another team looking to earn a medal again is Team Finland 2, Team Fintastic, which took the silver medal at the Finnish national championships scoring a 175.64, just less than four points behind Team Finland 1. The team’s short score of 60.12 from the French cup is the second highest short score this season.
Team Sweden 1, Team Convivium, which placed fourth at the event last year, is hoping to break onto the podium for the first time at worlds. This year the title of Team Canada 2 was awarded to Nexxice Junior. After one year away from the event, the team is looking to make a strong return. It scored a 170.50 at its championships in comparison to Team Convivium’s 143.25 at the Leon Lurje Trophy.
Last year’s sixth place team, Team Russia 1, Junost, has improved drastically and is in a good place for medal contention this year. At the French Cup, the team scored a 169.66, their second highest combined score of this season.
Team USA 1, the Skyliners are looking for redemption – after competing at the event from 2010-2013, they failed to qualify in 2014. With a score of 172.91 at the U.S. national championships, the team greatly improved from its 136.36 score at the French Cup. Team USA 2, The Lexettes, scored a close 166.80 at the U.S. nationals, and placed second at the Mozart Cup with a score of 140.83 . Both teams are looking to return the American flag to the awards ceremony; something that hasn’t been done since Team Braemar took Bronze in 2011. These teams and more will fight to earn the title of junior world medalist this weekend.
This year, five nations that have never fielded a team at worlds will compete including Croatia, Latvia, Turkey, Belgium and Spain.
Team Mirum will compete as Team Spain. This season, they competed at the Leon Lurje Trophy in Gothenburg, Sweden and scored 62.06 points. Hosting country, Croatia, will also have a team competing this year, the Zagreb Snowflakes, which scored a 62.45 at the Spring Cup this year.
The long program event will commence at 3:15 p.m. Croatian time (10:15 a.m. Eastern Time), and the final group, the teams in medal contention, will begin at 7:00 p.m. Croatian time (2:00 p.m. Eastern Time). Be sure to follow both of our twitter accounts, @GetItCalled and @GIC_Results, as well as our Instagram and Facebook pages for updates on results from the event or watch the live feed at http://www.croskate.hr. Go USA!