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Crikey! Australian pair takes home gold from Tallinn

Alexandrovskaya, Windsor make history; Tsurskaya wins ladies gold
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Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya and Harley Widsor earned the first-ever JGP medal for Australia -- and it was a gold. -Getty Images

"Australia" and "figure skating gold medalist" don't typically go hand in hand. But they did Friday.

Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya and Harley Windsor surprised the skating world as the Australian team were crowned pairs champions at the Junior Grand Prix (JGP) in Tallinn, Estonia, making them the first JGP medalists from their home country.

The Aussies weren't exactly in position to take the top spot after the short program: They trailed leaders Amina Atakhanova and Ilia Spiridonov of Russia by nearly eight points going into the free skate. However, Alexandrovskaya and Windsor put together the best free skate of the day, while the short program leaders placed seventh in the segment.

Skating to music from the W.E. soundtrack, the champions, who finished eighth in their JGP debut in Czech Republic, received positives Grades of Execution (GOEs) on nine of their 11 elements. The 102-point performance was highlighted by a side-by-side triple toe-double toe-double toe combination and double axels, as well as two Level 4 spins and two Level 4 lifts. They finished with an overall mark of 159.26.

Russian teams filled the next three spots, with silver medalists Alina Ustimkina and Nikita Volodin tallying 156.95 points, and bronze medalists Ekaterina Borisova and Dmitry Sopot earning 150.25. Atakhanova and Spiridonov finished fourth.

With one JGP event remaining, the top four teams in Tallinn are all in contention for a spot at the JGP Final. Ustimkina and Volodin will compete in Germany next week.

All three American teams recorded top-10 finishes. Chelsea Liu and Brian Johnson led Team USA with a fifth-place showing and 147.14 points overall. Making their JGP debuts, Gabriella Marvaldi and Daniel Villeneuve, and Vanessa Chen and Eric Hartley finished seventh and 10th, respectively.

Russia's Polina Tsurskaya stayed undefeated in her JGP career, easily winning both phases of the competition en route to 194.02 points. In doing so, she qualified for her second JGP Final.

Tsurskaya opened her "February" free skate with a triple lutz-triple toe-double toe combo. She went on to land six more jumping passes -- all in the second half of the program -- including a triple lutz-triple toe. In all, she earned 127.30 points for the performance.

Her teammate, Elizaveta Nugumanova, moved up from third after the short program to secure her second medal of the season (bronze at JGP Russia). Her jumps were also solid as she hit a triple loop-triple loop and double axel-triple toe-double toe.

Mako Yamashita of Japan equaled her finish at her home JGP three weeks ago, coming away a total score of 184.06 and the bronze medal.

American Tessa Hong finished fifth with 143.90 points.

Reigning world junior bronze medalists Alla Loboda and Pavel Drozd took the lead in the short dance after accruing 65.54 points. After a win at JGP Russia, they look to qualify for their third consecutive JGP Final. They find themselves three points ahead of teammates (and JGP Slovenia bronze medalists) Anastasia Skoptcova and Kirill Aleshin.

A sizable gap exists between Skoptcova and Aleshin and the third-place team, Julia Wagret and Mathieu Couyras of France (52.49 points). The race for bronze is a close one, with less than one point separating teams three through seven. Americans Chloe Rose Lewis and Logan Bye are right in the mix, sitting in fourth with a score of 51.04.