Alysa Liu, the 14-year-old, two-time U.S. senior champion figure skater, is in fourth place after the world junior championships short program.
Liu, the world’s third-ranked junior skater this season, landed a triple Axel-triple toe loop combination to highlight her skate in Tallinn, Estonia, but was dinged for an under-rotation and negative grade of execution.
Russian Kamila Valiyeva led with 74.92 points, followed by South Korean Haein Lee (70.08) and Russian Daria Usacheva (68.45). Liu tallied 67.52 as the only woman in the field to attempt a triple Axel, the most difficult jump that can be scored in a women’s short program.
The free skate is Saturday, streamed on the International Skating Union YouTube channel.
Liu is making her junior worlds debut. She will not be old enough for senior worlds until the 2022 Olympic season.
Liu nearly went perfect in the fall Junior Grand Prix season, taking two golds and then a silver at the Junior Grand Prix Final behind Valiyeva.
She attempted a historic set of jumps in the Junior Grand Prix Final free skate — two triple Axels and two quadruple Lutzes. Quads are allowed in women’s free skates but not the short program. She fell on the first Axel, and the other three landings were judged as under-rotated.
Last year, Ting Cui became the first U.S. woman to earn a junior worlds medal (bronze) since Gracie Gold‘s silver in 2012. The last U.S. woman to win a junior worlds was Rachael Flatt in 2008. Since, Russians won nine of the 11 crowns.
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