US ice dancers Nguyen and Kolesnik win junior gold

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — Americans Avonley Nguyen and Vadym Kolesnik won the ice dance gold medal at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships on Saturday.

Two-time U.S. champ Alysa Liu earned the bronze medal in the women's event.

Nguyen and Kolesnik were in third place coming into the free dance, but less than two points behind the leaders. The 2020 U.S. junior winners were the final team to skate and finished off their best international best performance, to "Piano Concerto No. 2" by Sergei Rachmaninoff, with 108.91 points. Their technical score of 58.64 was nearly three points higher than the rest of the field.

Their overall score of 177.18 gave them the gold ahead of Georgia’s Maria Kazakova and Georgy Reviya, who took the first International Skating Union championship medal in ice dance for their country. Rhythm dance leaders Elizaveta Shanaeva and Devid Naryzhnyy of Russia got bronze.

Liu, 14, finished behind Russians Kamila Valieva and Daria Usacheva; Russia has dominated international women's competition since the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Liu scored 204.83 points in her world juniors debut, far behind Valieva's 227.30.

Liu, who is too young to participate in international seniors events, rallied from fourth place in the short program. She had the second-highest technical score in the field with 78.12 points despite a fall on her quadruple lutz. She landed a triple axel and six additional triple jumps.