Sofia / Bulgaria

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Christina Carreira/Anthony Ponomarenko (USA), Anastasia Skoptcova/Kirill Aleshin (RUS) and Arina Ushakova/Maxim Nekrasov (RUS)

Skoptcova/Aleshin (RUS) claim Junior Ice Dance gold in Sofia

ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champions Anastasia Skoptcova/Kirill Aleshin of Russia took gold as the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2018 continued on Friday in Sofia (BUL) with the Free Dance. Christina Carreira/Anthony Ponomarenko (USA) rose from sixth to capture the silver medal while Arina Ushakova/Maxim Nekrasov of Russia earned the bronze.

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Anastasia Skoptcova/Kirill Aleshin (RUS)

Skoptcova/Aleshin dominated from start to finish and won with more than seven points to spare. The pair from Moscow delivered a precise Tango, collecting a level four for the lifts, twizzles and the spin as well as a level three for the Serpentine step sequence.

The ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champions set a season's best of 88.71 points and accumulated 155.15 overall to take the title.

“Our performance today I rate a nine out of 10. I could have done better in some places, but I am sure that Nastia (Scoptcova) did everything she could have done. This victory is motivation for us to continue to work at the senior level,” Aleshin said.

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Christina Carreira/Anthony Ponomarenko (USA)

Carreira/Ponomarenko stood in sixth place after he had missed the twizzles in the Short Dance on Wednesday, but in the Free Dance to the ‘W.E.’ soundtrack, the Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalists bounced back in style.

They picked up a level four for the stationary lift and straight line lift as well as for the twizzles, perfect this time, while the circular step sequence was rated a level three and the combination spin a level two. The 2017 World Junior bronze medalists scored 86.83 points, which added up to 147.68 overall.

“We were pretty disappointed after the short dance. We wanted to come here and deliver two strong performances and that’s not what happened, but we came back strong I think. Today we still had a few technical mistakes, but overall it was much better,” Carreira said.

Ponomarenko, the son of 1992 Olympic Ice Dance Champions Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomarenko, revealed that his mother had inspired him in Sofia.

“After the short dance, after the mistake of course, she (Klimova) was like, ‘Anthony, it’s OK, I still love you’. Actually, she really motivated me. She told me, ‘You’ve been a fighter since the beginning, so just give your all in the free dance.”

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Arina Ushakova/Maxim Nekrasov (RUS)

Ushakova/Nekrasov’s dynamic dance to ‘Nine’ featured three level-four elements, but the step sequence garnered a level two. The ISU Junior Grand Prix Finalists scored 85.59 points and totaled 146.88 points to claim bronze in their debut at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships.

“We are very happy to have won this medal. At the beginning of the season I said in an interview that we have big plans for this year, and we realized them,” Ushakova said.

Majorie Lajoie/Zachary Lagha (CAN) slipped from second to fourth on 146.22 points. They performed well to songs by Imagine Dragons, but a slightly lower technical score saw them edged off the podium. Sofia Shevchenko/Igor Eremenko (RUS) finished fifth on 145.85 points followed by Caroline Green/Gordon Green (USA) on 141.83 points.

The ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships continue Saturday with the Junior Men and Ladies Free Skating. For more information, full entry lists and results please see the event website and the official website. Follow the event on social media using the hashtags #WorldJFigure and #FigureSkating.