Ice Network

Trusova rides pair of quads to world junior crown

Erokhov captures men's title; Krasnozhon withdraws after injuring leg
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Russia's Alexandra Trusova was all smiles after her record-setting performance helped her secure the gold medal Saturday at the 2018 World Junior Figure Skating Championships. -Getty Images

Russia completed a gold medal sweep at the 2018 World Junior Figure Skating Championships on Saturday, with Alexandra Trusova taking the ladies crown and Alexei Erokhov winning the men's title in Sofia, Bulgaria. Previously, Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin claimed victory in pairs and Anastasia Skoptcova and Kirill Aleshin came out on top in ice dance. 

Ladies free skate

Trusova gave a phenomenal performance to Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, reeling off a quadruple salchow and quadruple toe loop as well as a triple flip-single loop-triple salchow, triple lutz-triple loop, triple flip-triple toe, triple flip and double axel.

The 13-year-old also became the first female skater to perform a quadruple toe loop in competition while also serving as the first since Miki Ando in 2002 to land a quadruple jump in competition.

With fresh world-record marks in the free skate (153.49 points) and overall (225.52), Trusova ran away with the gold medal.

"I am very happy to have won, but I'm even happier to have landed the two quads," she said. "I prepared for that and I did it. After I landed the quads, I was very happy, but I still had the rest of the program to do. There were still three difficult combinations to come and I had to pull myself together."

Performing to "Stella's Theme," Russia's Alena Kostornaia produced six clean triples -- including two triple-triple combinations -- as well as two double axels and Level 4 spins and footwork. Her only glitch came when she stepped out of the triple lutz, but even that hiccup wasn't enough to keep her from finishing second to her countrymate Trusova.

The Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalist scored a personal-best 135.76 points in the segment and 207.39 overall to claim the silver medal.

"I am not very pleased with my performance," Kostornaia said despite her placement. "The result is satisfying, but I could have skated much better."

Completing the podium was 15-year-old Mako Yamashita, who executed seven triples and difficult spins during her "Madame Butterfly" free. The Japanese talent posted a personal-best mark of 128.38 in the segment and held onto to the third-place finish she earned after the short program by collecting 195.17 points in total.

"I wasn't thinking about the result or the score, I just focused on what I had to do and I think that led to the result," Yamashita said.

Stanislava Konstantinova completed a successful day for the Russian ladies by finishing fourth with 186.35 points, while South Korea's Eunsoo Lim landed fifth with a mark of 185.12.

The two American skaters in the field, Ting Cui (180.39 points) and Emmy Ma (139.98), finished seventh and 19th, respectively.

Men's free skate

Erokhov opened his program to Rachmaninoff's "Piano Concerto No. 2" with a quad toe-triple toe combination and followed that with a quad salchow, which he turned out of. The rest of his program featured five mostly clean triple jumps and three Level 4 spins.

The 18-year-old collected 154.98 points for his performance to give him a winning total of 231.52.

"This victory means a lot to me," Erokhov said. "I want to move up to the senior level next year, and I am glad I was able to end my junior career with this victory."

Erokhov's triumphant skate followed a dramatic turn of events. Immediately before Erokhov took the ice, short program leader Alex Krasnozhon of the United States pulled out of the competition after suffering a leg injury on a fall on his opening quad salchow attempt. Krasnozhon was taken to the hospital for examination.

"I was focused on winning, but I got nervous when I saw that Alexei (Krasnozhon) was withdrawing. I did not know what had happened and when I would get to skate. I am upset that he had to withdraw, and I wish him a quick recovery."

Artur Danielian made it a one-two finish for Russia by soaring from eighth to second to claim the silver medal. The youngest competitor in the men's event at 14 years old, Danielian delivered a clean performance to music from Notre-Dame de Paris that featured eight triples, including two triple axels. The Russian junior bronze medalist posted a personal-best 149.61 points to give him a competition total of 218.76.

"Second place is unexpected to me," Danielian said. "I came here to skate clean and to show what we've worked on this season and to make the people that work with me happy."

Matteo Rizzo earned the bronze to become the first Italian man to win a medal at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships. Performing to a Beatles medley, Rizzo landed two triple axels and four other triples on his way to a free skate score of 141.34. The Italian champion ranked just sixth in the segment, but he moved up three spots overall to make the podium with 211.58 points.

"This is very important to me. It is not the best way to medal, but this is competition and anything can happen," Rizzo said. "It was my last junior competition, and I think [this medal] is a big step for me."

Elsewhere, the standings shuffled quite a bit. With the third-best free skate of the day, Joseph Phan of Canada went from 14th after the short to fourth overall. Russia's Roman Savosin pulled up from 12th to fifth, ending the event with 207.91 points.

The two other American entrants moved up the standings Saturday. U.S. junior champion Camden Pulkinen finished fourth in the free skate to rise from 17th to sixth, and Tomoki Hiwatashi improved from 11th to seventh.