Runners-up last year, Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin made it clear that they were the best junior team in the world today with an easy win at the 2013 World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Milan, Italy. Earlier in the day, Samantha Cesario took the lead in the ladies' event.
Videos: Free dance
The heavy favorites coming into the competition, Stepanova/Bukin had won every competition they have entered this season, including the Junior Grand Prix Final in the fall. And after taking a three-point lead in the short dance, they skated a strong free dance to extend their advantage to win the gold by almost seven points. They became the fourth Russian team in the past four years to win gold at this competition.
Stepanova/Bukin's chief rivals after the short dance, France's Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron, skated through injury and held on to the silver. Papadakis competed with a heavily-taped right ankle, which she injured during practice after the short dance. They were not at their best, even stopping midway through their program looking possibly like they would withdraw. But after the interruption, they finished their free dance to win the silver.
Two-time U.S. junior champions Alexandra Aldridge/Daniel Eaton made it two bronze medals in two years at this event. They finished second in the free dance over the French but could not make up the deficit. The other two American entries in the competition, Kaitlin Hawayek/Jean-Luc Baker and Lorraine McNamara/Quinn Carpenter, finished seventh and ninth, respectively.
DANCE (final standings)
1. Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin RUS - 150.17
2. Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron FRA - 143.26
3. Alexandra Aldridge/Daniel Eaton USA - 139.33
4. Valeria Zenkova/Valerie Sinitsin RUS - 132.17
5. Mackenzie Bent/Garrett Mackeen CAN - 128.79
6. Evgenia Kosigina/Nikolai Moroshkin RUS - 126.19
7. Kaitlin Hawayek/Jean-Luc Baker USA - 124.35
8. Shari Koch/Christian Nuchtern GER - 121.71
9. Lorraine McNamara/Quinn Carpenter USA - 121.27
10. Anna Nagornyuk/Viktor Kovalenko UZB - 120.07
11. Alexandra Nazarova/Maim Nikitin UKR - 119.15
12. Madeline Edwards/Zhao Kai Pang CAN - 117.65
13. Sofia Sforza/Francesco Fioretti ITA - 116.50
14. Cagla Demirsal/Berk Akalin TUR - 114.05
15. Estelle Elizabeth/Romain Le Gac FRA - 102.39
16. Celia Robledo/Luis Fenero ESP - 102.16
17. Alessia Busi/Andrea Fabbri ITA - 102.05
18. Yiyi Zhang/Nan Wu CHN - 100.72
19. Ria Schiffner/Julian Salatzki GER - 97.80
20. Rebeka Kim/Kirill Minov KOR - 96.99