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Aliev jumps up standings to earn gold at JGP Latvia

Popova, Vlasenko take dance; Krasnozhon wins Team USA's lone medal
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The men's medalists at JGP Latvia (L-R): Silver medalist Deniss Vasiljevs of Latvia, gold medalist Dmitri Aliev of Russia and bronze medalist Aleksei Krasnozhon of the U.S. -Getty Images

Russian skaters won both gold medals and Alexei Krasnozhon found the podium for Team USA on the last day of competition at the Junior Grand Prix in Riga, Latvia.


Dmitri Aliev came all the way back from sixth place to grab the gold, his first such medal in the JGP Series. He kicked off his Notre-Dame de Paris free skate with a quad toe-double toe combination and followed that with three more impressive jump elements -- a triple axel-half loop-triple salchow, solo triple axel and triple lutz-triple toe -- all in succession. His performance earned him 149.82 points, and he took the title with a competition total of 209.92.

Except for a fall on his opening triple axel attempt, short program leader Deniss Vasiljevs performed a flawless rendition of his free skate, set to the Daft Punk song "Adagio for Tron." His program featured a triple salchow-half loop-triple salchow and a dazzling step sequence. The two-time Latvian junior champion claimed the silver, his first JGP medal in five tries.

Krosnozhon remained in third place to earn the bronze. He fell on both his opening quad loop attempt as well as his triple axel, but he did well to backload his free skate (set to Shostakovich's The Bolt), landing a triple axel-double toe and triple flip-triple toe-double loop in the latter half of the program. The U.S. junior pewter medalist finished with 194.68 points.

Krasnozhon's teammate, Paolo Borromeo, placed 11th.

Ice Dance

Betina Popova and Yuri Vlasenko maintained their first-place standing from the short program and took the top spot by more than seven points. Their "Crazy in Love" free dance was highlighted by their opening combination spin and closing midline step sequence. The Russians earned their third career JGP gold medal (2013 JGP Czech Republic, 2014 JGP Germany).

Moving up one place from the short to snag the silver were Angelique Abachkina and Louis Thauron. The French team performed an outstanding rotational lift and twizzles in their Bollywood-themed free, for which they were awarded 82.87 points. They came away with their first JGP medal in five tries.

In second after the short, Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko of the U.S. fell off the podium when she took a tumble on their step sequence and they received no credit for their closing choreographic twizzles. The Igor Shpilband-coached duo finished fourth overall.

Sofia Evdokimova and Egor Bazin of Russia benefited from the Americans' mishaps to cop the bronze, their second medal of that color in the JGP Series (2013 JGP Mexico).

Team USA's Emily Day and Kevin Leahy slotted into sixth.