52nd Golden Spin of Zagreb – the final Challenger of the season

Traditionally, the beginning of December is reserved for the final ISU Challenger of the season. Simply, it is time for Golden spin of Zagreb! One of the oldest figure skating competitions in the world is being held in Dom Sportova arena from 4th till 7th of December.

So far, there are 31 senior ladies, 30 senior men, 24 senior pairs and 16 ice dance couples and again Golden spin will have junior competing with 27 junior ladies, 8 senior men, 5 junior pairs and 20 junior ice dance couples.

At the press conference, held at Dom sportova Arena on Monday, 2nd of December, the president of Croatian Skating Federation was very happy to share some historical facts:

“This year at junior event we have six junior competitors. This shows Croatia has future in figure skating and that is the best gift for 80th birthday of Croatian Skating Federation.”

The Organization Committee has decided to leave the entry list open to the last minute arrivals to Zagreb.

So far, the largest national teams will be arriving from Russia and USA. Last years winner in men’s category, Jason Brown will be defending his title, while team Russia will be represented by European and World Champion and frequent visitor to Zagreb – Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and the latest news is that she will be joined by her training team Sofia Somudorova, the current European Champion.

The eyes of the world wide skating community will be on another recognizable Russain skater. Ksenia Stolbova has paired up with Andrei Novoselov and is looking for redemption.

Stolbova has been one of the most recognizable pairs skaters from Russia since Sochi Olympics in 2014, where she won a Silver medal in the individual event with her at the time partner, Fedor Klimova as well as team Gold medal with selected teammates.

Her new partner is Andrei Novoselov. An experienced pairs competitor that has represented both Russia and France with his previous partners and the team is being trained by a famous coach and choreographer Nikolai Morozov.

Croatian audience will be happy to see Lana Petranovic and Antonio Souza Kordieru back on the competitive ice. They are making their seasonal debut after being forced to start the preparations for this season late due to the second knee surgery Petranović had in April this year. The last preparations for the Croatian team were at the Nina Mozer’s camp in Moscow.

“We have just returned to Zagreb from training in Moscow. We have been working very hard in Nina Mozers camp sever since I was able to come back to the ice after my second knee surgery and rehabilitation.”

Souza Kordieru was in a very good mood while showing off lifts and throws to the representatives of the media with Petranović.

“I must admit it was a bit boring to train on my own while Lana was recovering. But we both have common goals and dreams and the most important one is going qualifying for the Olympics in 2022. For this season we have a set of two new programs that we will premier in Zagreb.”

Lana Petranović, Antonio Souza Kordeiru 2

Top Croatian lady, Hana Cvijanović will compete in the junior version of the event alongside Hana Kosić, Luce Stipaničev, Stella Ristič, Lorena Čižmek and Charles Henry Kitanović.

Young Cvijanović, who turned 17 on Monday, was feeling very confident while chatting with the reporters:

I am both excited and nervous, after all, this is the biggest competition for me in front of my hometown audience this season. My goal here is to achieve the technical minimum score so I can go and compete at Junior World Figure skating Championships next year.

Lana Cvijanović 2

Tickets for the Gala are being sold at the gates of Ledena dvorana or can be purchased on www.ticketshop.com and the entry for the competition is free of charge.

The full schedule can be found here.

Croatian Junior Skaters at 51st Golden Spin of Zagreb, Dec 2018 + TES minimum score for Junior Worlds 2019

There were overall three junior skaters entered to the junior event of Golden Spin on behalf of Croatian skating federation.

Katarina Kitarović and Hana Kosić in junior ladies event, Charles Henry Katanović in junior men event.

A respectable amount of skaters on team Croatia. Unfortunately, not everything went according to the plan.

Only a few days before the beginning of the event, the name of Katarina Kitarović was no longer mentioned as a participant at the press conference. Damir Mravec of Večernji list paper had the story for the Croatian daily newspaper. According to coach, Ivana Jakupčević, Kitarović has been struggling with an old back injury that has risen its ugly head and it is not certain when the promising junior will be back on the ice.


Just hours before the start of the ladies short program on Wednesday, Decembre 5th, Hana Kosić also withdrew from the event. The fifteen-year-old Kosić has competed earlier in the season on her first Junior Grand Prix event in Ostrava where she placed 32nd overall. On 30th Golden Bear hosted by Skating club Medveščak in Zagreb from 25th till 28th of October, she ended up in 17th place in the junior ladies event.

According to the ISU Communication No. 2205, Decisions of the ISU Council –minimum total element score or junior ladies for World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2019 is 23 points for short program and 38 points for the long program. At the moment, none of the Croatian junior ladies has that requirement to compete at the biggest event in their category, that will take place in March 2019. Hana Kosić has earned 16.90 points in the short program at JGP in Ostrava and 17.91 in Zagreb at Golden Bear, while for the long program she has earned 23.38 points at JGP in Ostrava and 29.49 in Zagreb at the Golden Bear. Katarina Kitarović has last competed in February 2018 at Dragon trophy in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

In the junior men category, Charles Henry Katanović withdrew on the day of the long program. He placed 6th in short program but could not skate the long program as he came down with fever. Katanović has participated at Junior Grand Prix this season in Ljubljana Cup, Slovenia and Bratislava, Slovakia. On either of those two competitions has he earned the TES minimum for Junior World Figure Skating Championship 2019. For Junior men, TES minimum is 23 points for the short program and 42 points for the long program. At Christmas cup in Budapest, Katanović came very close to the required points in the short program, earning 22.01 points.

Unfortunately, this is not the worst that has happened to the eighteen-year-old. On December 2nd, his longtime coach and choreographer, Jean-François Ballester passed away from the heart attack at his home in La Chaux de-Fonds, Switzerland, where he was coaching Katanović and many others. Ballester was respected for contributing to the development of many French skaters, like Bruno Massot. When Massot teamed up with Aliona Savchenko of Germany, Ballester was part of their coaching team and the amazing victory in at Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang 2018.

It is uncertain what awaits Katanović, but as far as competing, there will not be many more chances in next months to earn TES minimum for Junior World Figure Skating Championships in March 2019.


As far as ladies go, if neither Kitarović or Hosić manage to achieve the necessary points, Hana Cvijanović could compete at both (senior) European Championships taking place in Minsk, Belarus in January and at Junior Worlds in Zagreb, Croatia in March. Cvijanović is, as of December 2nd, 16 years of age and Rule 108 of Special regulations and Technical Rules Single & Pair Skating and Ice Dance 2018 allows her to compete as junior till the age of 19.

Update – Golden Spin of Zagreb 2018, Day 1

Some  bad news.

All three Croatian junior representatives have withdrawn from the event. 

Katarina Kitarović has been dealing with a back injury for several months, but her coach Ivana Jakupčević Marinković has told Večernji list that she is sure this is not the end of season for Kitarović.

Hana Kosić has withdraw hours before short program. Unofficial sources say, Kosić is dealing with a knee injury.

Right before junior men’s long program, another Croatian representative Charles Henry Katanović has withdrawn from the event due to illness.

Hopefully  Katarina, Hana and Charles Henry all get better soon and are ready to compete at Junior World Championships that are taking place in Zagreb in March 2019.

Press conference, Dec 4th 2018

Some highlights from the press conference that took place yesterday, Dec 4th in Dom sportova arena.

There will be overall six skaters representing Croatia at the event.


Lana Petranović i Antonio Souza Kordeiru


Hana Cvijanović

Patricija Skopančić

Junior Ladies 

Hana Kosić

Junior Men

Charles Henry Katanović

  • This shows a slight inconsistency with earlier reports and still current entries on the official website of the event.  As of 5th of Dec, junior lady, Katarina Kitarović is still listed on the entry list but was not mentioned as a competitor at the press conference or in the press release. The seventeen-year-old Kitarović is the daughter of President of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar Kitarović so it could be that this was done for privacy reasons. She has competed last year at the junior version of Golden spin and placed in solid 9th place, but according to her ISU biography, in 2018 she has only competed at Dragon trophy, Ljubljana, Slovenia in early February.
  • Croatian pair team was at the press conference and have shown off some of their elements. Petranović updated the press about their preparations that took place in Moscow and how the team has integrated a throw triple loop into their programs.
  • Press was also informed how Hana Cvijanović competed at Christmas Cup in Budapest the prior week and there she managed to achieve TES minimum for European Championships (that are taking place in Minsk, Belarus in January 2019).
  • Tickets can be purchased on online ticket shop or at Dom sportova arena, 20 kuna for a daily ticket, 50 kunas for the family ticket (2 adults and up to 3 kids). For the Gala, the tickets are 50 kunas each.
  • On Dec 6th the entry for the event will be free of charge, as it is Day of sports facility of the city of Zagreb.
  • Overall, there will be 175 competitors from 38 countries competing at the event.
  • Schedule of the event can be found here.



51st Golden Spin of Zagreb 2018/2019

I am very pleased to announce that 51st Golden Spin of Zagreb will be the first competition I will cover on my new blog – Skate Croatia.

Since 2009, Golden Spin is taking place in first half of December and since 2013, it overlaps with the Grand Prix Final.

Such ingenious timing, makes this final Challenger of the year that much more exciting for the global skating community, but also strategic for skaters who are forced to skip the Grand Prix, skaters who are coming back after taking a competitive break or were not able to qualify for the Final.

Golden Spin of Zagreb is one of the oldest international competition in figure skating and with good timing, offers skaters an opportunity to test their programs in front of the international judges before the end of the calendar year.

The 51st Golden Spin of Zagreb 2018 takes place in Dom Sportova Arena, from 5th till 8th of December.

From November 12th, first entries are on the official web site of Croatian skating federation.

Overall, there are 28 entries from 20 countries listed for the Men’s event. 

In Men’s event we will see last years silver medalist, Alexei Bychenko and his fellow countryman Daniel Samohin. Two top Israelis will be trying to repeat the 2016 podium, where they won gold and silver retrospectively.




Russia is sending Alexander Samarin, who placed 4th at Skate Canada in the Grand Prix circuit in October this year.

UPDATE* Also from Russia, Maxim Kovtun, will be competing internationally for the first time  since World Championships in March 2017. As of 30th of Nov, Kovtun was removed from the entry list and replaced by Anton Shulepov.

As of 27th of Nov, the most recent entry for team Russia, is current European and World bronze medalist, Mikhail Kolyada. He has placed in 4th at both Grand prix assignments in Helsinki and Moscow earlier this season.

There are 6 substitute entries listed for Russian men for this event, including last years silver medalist,  Artur Dimitriev.

Looking to improve last years 7th place is Alexander Majorov from Sweden, who will be competing in Zagreb alongside with his  younger brother, Nikolaj.

In last several seasons, USFS is sending more and more American skaters to international B events and Challengers. This year for the first time, Jason Brown will be competing in Zagreb. Brown placed second at recent Grand Prix in Grenoble, France.

In Ladies event, Golden spin will host 40 skaters from 25 countries.

Leading senior ladies of Russia at this event is Maria Sotskova. This student of Elena Buianova has been struggling at Grand prix assignments, placing 9th at Hiroshima, Japan and 7th in Grenoble, France.

Last years winner from junior version of Golden spin, Anastasiia Guliakova is set to make senior international debut same as her fellow team member, Anastasiia Gubanova.

There are four more Russian ladies listed as substitutes for this event.



This will be first time competing in Zagreb for USA National champion, Bradie Tennell, who was  early listed for Golden Spin last year, but she surprised everybody by positioning herself as the leading American lady before the Olympics. So instead of Tennell, less experienced ladies were given a chance to compete like Starr Andrews, Emmy Ma and Hannah Miller. Returning to Zagreb is Mariah Bell, hopefully improving her unfortunate experience several seasons ago.

There is an interesting entry from South Korea – Ji Minji. According to ISU Biographies, JI has competed in pairs with Theistocles Lefheris in 2016/2017 season, in fact, the pair places 7th at Golden spin that very season.

It seems that Ledena dvorana of Dom sportova will serve as a preview of German nationals for the ladies with Nicole Schott, Nathalie Weinzierl and Alissa Scheidt competing. Schott placed 4th last year at Golden spin, while Scheidt won bronze medal at Golden bear club competition in October this year in Zagreb.

Daša Grm from Slovenia has competed  this October in Zagreb at Golden Bear club competition and finished in disappointing 5th place. Top Slovenian lady keeps coming back to Zagreb and usually performs well. Hopefully in early December, she will be able to do herself justice.

From Croatia, Hana Cvijanović will compete for the first time as a senior in front of her home audience, along with her more experienced team member Patricia Skopančić.

Overall, there will be 10 pairs from 7 countries competing in pairs event. 

In Pairs, it will be interesting to see three out of the four top US pairs compete at an international competition outside USA.

Alexa Simeca Knierim and Chris Knierim were working during summer with multiple World champion and current Olympic gold medalist in pairs, Aliona Savchenko. American married couple started this season struggling with challenging, yet interesting programs and refreshing content. Having failed to qualify for Grand Prix Final, they will be seeking redemption in last Challenger this year in Zagreb.

Also from USA, Ashley Cain/Timothy LeDuc and Deanna Stellato Dudek/Nathan Bartholomay. Both pairs have competed at Golden spin  in 2016 and placed 3rd and 6th retrospectively.



Russia has only one entry for pairs event and no substitutes listed. Alisa Efimova and Alexander Korovin have had a solid season so far with victory in Obersdorf Germany at  Nebelhorn trophy,  silver medal at Skate America and 5th place at Rostelecom cup. With second and fifth place at Grand prix competitions, this team is  currently the first alternation for Grand Prix Final taking place in Vancouver at the same time as Golden spin.

Two German pairs will compete in Zagreb. Minerva Fabienne Hase and Nolan Seegert and Annika Hocke and Ruben Blommaert.

Representing Croatia, Lana Petranovic and Antonio Souza Kordeiru are back competing at Dom sportova arena. Croatian representatives were forced to skip the majority of Olympic season due to Petranovic injury and knee surgery, but are back this season in full force, competing with new set of coaches.

In Ice dance, there will be 14 couples competing from 11 coutries. 

As of Monday, 26th of November, Canadian ice dance team, Piper Gilles and Paul Portier are set to compete at Golden spin. This last minute addition to the ice dance event has certainly upped the level of the competition. Gilles and Portier won Nebelhorn Trophy in late September this year and have followed that up with  two bronze medals at Skate Canada and Internationaux de France. Unfortunately, two third placements did not launch them to Grand Prix Final, so they are coming to Zagreb to put their programs to another test in front of the international judges.

From Russia there will be two ice dance teams competing. Returning from a solid 4th place last year are Betina Popova and Sergei Mozgov. Other entry is a somewhat a new team of Anabelle Morozov and Andrei Bagin.

Betina Popova and Sergei Mozgov, RUS

Overall there are will be over 121 skaters from 93 countries competing as senior version of Golden spin of Zagreb Challenger Series event, taking place in Dom sportova arena from 5th to 8th of December 2018.

All official information of the event can be found at Croatian Skating Federation website ,

while directions and location of the Dom Sportova Arena can  be found here.