Russia's Kamila Valieva and Japan's Yuma Kagiyama dazzle in return of quad squad

Courchevel, France, welcomed the first leg of the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series marking the beginning of the season.

By Ken Browne

Quad season is open as the inaugural event of the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating in Courchevel, France, from August 22-24, brought delights from skating's newest ice prodigies.

As expected, the star of the show was Russian 13-year-old Kamila Valieva who landed this perfect quad in her free skate to win the competition overall:

Figure skating fans stretched it out and shook off the summer as they emerged from hibernation for the season opener in Courchevel.

And they weren't disappointed.

Valieva scored 138.40 on her free skate to take her overall score to 200.71, comfortably ahead of South Korea's Wi Seoyeong who amassed 191.07.

Valieva is coached by the decorated Eteri Tutberidze, who also guides reigning Olympic champion Alina Zagitova, and was the mastermind behind Valieva's Picasso-inspired routine 'Girl on the ball'.

Another Russian, 13-year-old Maiia Khromykh, completed the podium with 179.32.

Here's Valieva's full free skate:

But Valieva didn't win the short program a day before. That honour went to her 13-year-old Russian teammate Maiia Khromykh.

Khromykh delivered an assured performance on her international debut, scoring 67.72 points to lead after the short program.

In second place was South Korea's Wi Seoyeong with 65.75, while Valieva placed third on 62.31.

Here's Khromykh's full short program:

Teen promise Valieva landed a double axel and triple loop in the beginning of her routine but nerves crept in and she fell on a triple lutz attempt.

Despite the mistake Valieva's overall skating in her short program showed why she is causing so much excitement in ice skating circles, and recovered to prove her prodigal credentials with a stunning free skate to win the competition outright.

Here's her short program:

The 2019/20 season is the 23rd edition of the ISU Junior GP of Figure Skating which was first introduced in 1997.

The series showcases talented junior skaters from all over the world and provides young skaters aged 13 to 19 (21 for male ice dance and pair skating partners) with a chance to skate internationally and gain experience.

More than 300 young skaters from over 50 ISU members are slated to compete in this year's series which is composed of seven legs.

They are:

  • Courchevel, France from August 22 to 24
  • Lake Placid, United States from August 29 to August 31
  • Riga, Latvia from September 5 to 7
  • Chelyabinsk, Russia from September 12 to 14
  • Gdansk, Poland from September 19 to 21
  • Zagreb, Croatia from September 26 to 28
  • Egna, Italy from October 3 to 5

The grand finale is the ISU Junior GP Final, which will be held in Torino, Italy from December 5 to 8.

Newcomers such as Russians Valieva and Khromykh are looking to make their opening statements in the sport as is US Champion Alysa Liu.

The best six skaters and couples in each discipline qualify for the ISU Junior GP Final. Skaters qualify for the final by earning points according to their placements.