Kamila Valieva

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Alysa Liu rallies at world junior figure skating championships, earns medal

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U.S. figure skating champion Alysa Liu earned a medal in her junior world championships debut, taking bronze in Tallinn, Estonia, on Saturday.

Liu, 14, improved from fourth after Friday’s short program by landing two triple Axels in her free skate, totaling 204.83 points. Liu also fell on a quadruple Lutz attempt.

“I was very happy with my placement,” Liu said, according to the International Skating Union. “I don’t think the short program placement should affect how you skate in the free program. I think I kind of left it behind, it already happened and I can’t undo what happened so just skated my free skate,”

Russian Kamila Valiyeva won with a pair of quad toe loops in her free skate. The 13-year-old Valieva’s total score — 227.30 — ranks her fifth in the world this season among junior and senior skaters. A Russian has won nine of the last 10 junior world titles.

Liu, who in 2019 became the youngest senior national champion in history (and repeated in January), is the second U.S. woman to earn a junior worlds medal since Gracie Gold‘s silver in 2012. Ting Cui ended a six-year drought with a bronze in 2019.

This marks the last major competition for Liu this season. She will become eligible for major senior international events in the 2022 Olympic season.

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As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

Alysa Liu near medal position after junior figure skating worlds short program

Alysa Liu
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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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MORE: Sochi Olympic figure skating champion retires

As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

Alysa Liu, attempting unprecedented jump list, takes silver at Junior Grand Prix Final

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Alysa Liu took silver at the biggest international competition of her young career, attempting a historic set of jumps at the Junior Grand Prix Final in Turin, Italy.

Liu, the 14-year-old who in January became the youngest U.S. senior champion in history, attempted two triple Axels and two quadruple Lutzes in her free skate Friday. She fell on the first Axel, and the other three landings were judged as under-rotated.

“It’s a relief it’s over, but I’m disappointed,” Liu said, according to the International Skating Union. “My goal is always to skate a clean program, but I didn’t do it. It went OK, but it could have been better in a lot of things.”

Earlier this season, Liu became the first woman to land both a triple Axel and a quad of any kind. She was attempting Friday to become the first woman to land two triple Axels and two quads in one program.

Liu, the leader after Thursday’s short program, was overtaken in the free skate by Russian Kamila Valieva, who was not alive when Turin hosted the 2006 Olympics. Valieva is the latest star pupil of coach Eteri Tutberidze, who guided Olympic and world champions Alina Zagitova and Yevgenia Medvedeva.

Valieva, who has a quad in her arsenal, was recently injured, according to the ISU broadcast, and did not attempt a four-revolution jump. She relied on artistry and other elements, tallying 207.47 points. She beat Liu by 2.82 points to become the 10th straight Russian to win the event.

Liu became the first U.S. woman to earn a Junior Grand Prix Final medal since Hannah Miller took silver in 2012.

Liu, previously undefeated in her first junior international season, appears likeliest to disrupt the Russians come the 2022 Beijing Winter Games. First, she must compete at the junior international level through next season. She is expected to defend her senior national title in January.

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