The ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2012 continued Friday in Minsk, Belarus, with the Ladies Short Program and the Free Dance.

Julia Lipnitskaia (RUS) earns lead in Junior Ladies Short Program
Julia Lipnitskaia of Russia skated to the lead in the Junior Ladies Short Program. Gracie Gold (USA) came second and Russia's Adelina Sotnikova finished third.

Lipnitskaia's program to “Dark Eyes” was highlighted by a double Axel, triple toe-triple toe, triple Lutz and excellent spins. The 13-year-old from Moscow collected 63.09 points. “I am very pleased with my skate today. I enjoyed my performance and I did everything clean. I really wanted to come here to these championships but I didn't expect to be in first place after the short program”, the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champion said.

Gold delivered a strong performance to “The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy”, nailing a triple flip-triple triple toe combination, the triple Lutz, double Axel and picked up a level four for her three spins and a level three for the footwork. The American earned 58.00 points. “I was also very happy with my performance today. I thought I skated very well and this was my goal for this competition”, the U.S. Junior Champion shared. “It's a pleasure to be here. I wasn't sure if I get to go and they chose me and just being here is a wonderful thing. Being in the top three is amazing. That wasn't necessarily my goal, but now that I am it is extremly exciting”, she added.

Defending Champion Sotnikova hit a triple toe-triple toe combination, a triple Lutz and double Axel in her routine to “Bolero”, but she wobbled on the flying sit spin and the combination spin merited only a level one. She picked up 56.57 points. I am not completely satisfied with my performance today. I missed the spins that I never missed. But I hope to make up for it in the free skating tomorrow and not do repeat my mistakes”, she commented.

Satoko Miyahara (JPN) currently sits in fourth at 52.97 points. She underrotated the triple flip in her combination with a triple toe. Christina Gao (USA) came fifth (52.66 points) ahead of Zijun Li (CHN/51.74 points.

Victoria Sinitsina/Ruslan Zhiganshin (RUS) dance to gold
Victoria Sinitsina/Ruslan Zhiganshin of Russia danced to the gold while teammates Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin claimed the silver. Alexandra Aldridge/Daniel Eaton (USA) captured the bronze medal. All three teams debuted at ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships.

Sinitsina/Zhiganshin put out a powerful performance to “Phantom of the Opera” and produced intricate footwork and difficult lifts. The ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champions picked up a level four for five out of the seven elements and a level three for the two step sequences to post a new seasons best of 90.03 points. Overall the Muscovites racked up 153.81 points. “I have a lot of thoughts right now. We are very, very, very happy. We are pleased with our performance. We did everything we wanted to do. We've waited a long time for this competition, we prepared for it and we won”, Sinitsina told the press. “We felt some pressure after winning the Final. We came here and we didn't want to disappoint our team and we've prepared for a long time for this competition, the whole season”, she went on.

Stepanova/Bukin danced to “Live and Let Die” by The Beatles. Their program featured innovative lifts and fast footwork. Like the winners, they earned a level four for the lifts, spin and twizzles, but the midline steps were graded a level two. Stepanova/Bukin scored 85.06 points and remained in second place at 147.74 points. “We are also happy but we didn't show everything we can do. We are glad to have come second and the competition ended well for us”, Stepanova commented. “I heard the marks of Victoria and Ruslan, but once we took our starting position I didn't think about it anymore. You only think about your own skate. Our coached said that we slowed down in the footwork, but basically for us it wasn't hard to skate”, she explained.

Aldrigde/Eaton delivered a strong and technically demanding performance to “Lord of the Dance” as well. The Americans earned a seasons best of 83.38 points and moved up from fourth to third with a total of 141.14 points. “Alex and I went into this competition especially in the free dance not thinking about placements or where we wanted to finish. We went out on the ice and performed our program to the best of our ability. Once we finished I think the first thing that came to my mind was we just the program of our aour life and we can't be happier with it. We train since June all the way until now and have several competitions undernath our belts, and the program gets better every single time and we were hapyp with the way we skated”, Eaton shared.

Anna Yankovskaya/Sergey Mozgov (RUS) slipped from third to fourth at 140.83 points. The referee stopped them 1.48 minutes into their Flamenco program as Mozgov's boot strap had come loose. Gabriella Papadakis/ Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) finished fifth with an Elvis Presley Medley (138.70 points).

The ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships continue Saturday with the Men's and Ladies Free Skating. For more information and full results please see: