Canada’s Kaiya Ruiter wins silver medal at season opening ISU Junior Grand Prix

COURCHEVEL, France – Canadian junior champion Kaiya Ruiter of Calgary produced a flawless performance in the women’s free skate Friday to win the silver medal as the ISU Junior Grand Prix figure skating season kicked off in the French Alps.

‘’I’m so excited,’’ said Ruiter. ‘’Just to come here to Courchevel and perform in front of a live crowd was really special.’’

Lindsay Thorngren of the U.S. took the gold with 181.45 points followed by the 15-year-old Canadian in second at 177.60. Clare Seo of the U.S., the leader after Thursday’s short program was third at 174.80.

Ruiter was third after her short. In the free skate to music from Mulan, she landed all her seven jumps including one triple combination and two double combos. There were 22 entries.

‘’The program is about strength and determination. I just wanted to go out there and skate a personal best and give everything I have,’’ she said. ‘’I enjoyed the whole thing, from the second I got on the ice to the second I got off.’’

In ice dancing, Miku Makita of Annmore, B.C., and Tyler Gunara of Burnaby, B.C. are in second spot after the rhythm dance with 57.41 points. Katarina Wolfkostin and Jeffrey Chen of the U.S. have built a solid lead with 64.75 while Katerina Mrazkova and Daniel Mrazek of the Czech Republic are third at 57.04.

The Canadians, together since 2016, are chasing their first medal in four ISU Junior Grand Prix appearances. They were fifth at the Youth Olympics and eighth at the world junior championships in early 2020.

Hailey Yu and Brendan Giang of Burnaby, B.C., are ninth at 44.84.

Canada is also in medal contention in men’s competition. Canadian junior champion Corey Circelli of Toronto stands second after Thursday’s short program with 76.63. Ilia Malinin of the U.S. leads at 80.07 and Lucas Broussard of the U.S. is third at 62.65.

Competition ends Saturday with the free skates for men and ice dancing.

Full results: http://www.isuresults.com/results/season2122/jgpfra2021/

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