Canadian figure skaters win two bronze at Junior Grand Prix

BRASOV, Romania – Thirteen-year-old Nam Nguyen of Burnaby, B.C., took the bronze medal in men’s singles and Mackenzie Bent of Uxbridge, Ont., and Garrett MacKeen of Oshawa, Ont., were also third in ice dancing on Saturday to conclude the fourth stop on the junior Grand Prix figure skating circuit.

In men’s competition, Maxim Kovtun of Russia took the gold with 182.91 points, Ryuju Hino of Japan was second at 174.99 and Nguyen, fifth after Thursday’s short program, followed at 169.55.

Last season’s Canadian junior champion, Nguyen, placed seven spots higher than three weeks ago in his international debut at the junior Grand Prix season opener in Latvia and bettered his personal best score by more than 20 points.

"My goal here was to have a good performance and to get the medal is surprising," said the grade eight student who started figure skating at age five. "My long program still didn’t match what I was doing in practice but the difference this week is I had a lot of fight. That made it an all around good program."

Highlights in his program skated to Beethoven’s fifth Piano Concerto included a triple Salchow-triple toe combo and a triple Lutz-triple flip.

Ngyuen won three consecutive national titles, being the youngest athlete so far in each category: He won the juvenile title in 2007 at age 8, the pre-novice title in 2008 and the novice title in 2009. He became also the youngest junior men's champion when taking the title in 2011 at age 12.

Peter O’Brien of Ameliasburgh, Ont., was ninth.

In ice dancing, Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin of Russia won the gold medal with 134.29 points, Anastasia Galyeta and Alexei Shumski of Ukraine were second at 121.35 just edging Bent and MacKeen who totalled 120.69 in their international debut.

"We are very excited about the medal, it hasn’t sunk in yet," said Bent, 14, three years younger than her partner. "We skated our long program really well, it was nice to deliver that kind of performance. This is really a learning season for us."

The couple, third at novice nationals last season, have skated together for eighth years.

"It was definitely the performance level that impressed the judges," said MacKeen about the couple’s free dance skated to music from South Pacific. "There was a lot of emotion."

Laurence Fournier Beaudry of Greenfield Park, Que., and Yoan Breton of St-Alexandre, Que., also in their junior Grand Prix debut, were 11th.

For more information visit:  www.isu.org.


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