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Team USA nets three medals at JGP Italy

Russia leads the way in Milan with four medals

Jason Brown won his second medal in this year's JGP Series.
Jason Brown won his second medal in this year's JGP Series. (Michelle Harvath)

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By Josh Ellis, special to icenetwork.com
(10/08/2011) - Russia, despite missing the podium in the men's competition, took gold and silver in both the ladies and ice dancing competitions to win four medals, one more than the Americans who will take home one silver and two bronze medals. China and Korea each earned one medal at the Junior Grand Prix event in Milan, Italy, the sixth event of seven in the JGP series.

Ladies
Julia Lipnitskaia ran away with gold as she bested her teammate, Anna Shershak, by more than 32 points. American Hannah Miller, the 2011 U.S. novice champion, took the bronze in her international debut.

Lipnitskaia backed up her gold at JGP Poland with a personal-best performance in Milan. Skating to "Dark Eyes," Lipnitskaia posted a score of 63.71 after her short program, but set herself apart with a 119.34 mark in her free skate. To music from Romeo and Juliet, Lipnitskaia executed the best combination in the competition, a double Axel-triple toe-double toe that netted 9.40 points.

Third after the short program, Shershak earned the silver with a 98.73 in her free skate to take the silver. Shershak will compete at JGP Estonia hoping to secure a spot at the JGP Final.

After placing second in the short program, Miller took the bronze, falling less than four points behind Shershak. Skating to "Danse Macabre," Miller posted a score of 52.78 in her short program which included a triple flip-double toe combination that earned seven points.

American Courtney Hicks, who sat in eighth place following the short program, injured her leg on the opening jump of her free skate and did not complete her performance. Hicks was competing in her second Junior Grand Prix of the season after having won gold at JGP Australia.

Men
Han Yan of China won the gold as he set a personal-best with a total score of 219.37. Yan topped American Jason Brown, who won silver, by more than 25 points, while June-Hyoung Lee of Korea finished with the bronze. Yan has won both of his JGP events this season by at least 25 points, and his total score is the best overall set this season by nearly 14 points.

The 2010 JGP Final silver medalist, Yan is the only competitor thus far to win gold in both of the events he has entered in the Junior Grand Prix Series. He has 30 of a possible 30 points and will again compete in the JGP Final.

Joining Yan in the JGP Final in Quebec City, Canada, in December will be Brown. With his gold at JGP Australia, Brown has a total of 28 points and earned a place at the JGP Final. Brown's free skate scored 125.91 points and included the highest-scored jump in the competition, a triple Lutz-triple toe combination worth 11.21.

"Overall, I am happy with my skate," Brown said. "I know it wasn't perfect, but I went and fought for everything. I am so honored to bring home a medal and I cannot wait to compete for Team USA in the future."

Lee jumped onto the podium with two consistent performances that saw him place fourth in both segments of competition. Artur Dmitriev of Russia, who finished second at JGP Poland, finished in fourth and American Jay Yostanto, who was third after the short program, finished fifth in his international debut.

Ice Dancing
Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin of Russia earned their second gold of the JGP season, posting a total score of 149.98 to win by a margin of nearly 20 points. The gold medalists at JGP Romania, Stepanova and Bukin improved upon their score in Brasov, Romania, by more than 15 points, achieving a new personal best.

Their teammates Valeria Zenkova and Valerie Sinitsin earned the silver after scoring 53.84 for their short dance and 76.74 for their free dance for a total of 130.58. All three scores set personal bests for Zenkova and Sinitsin who earned the bronze at JGP Australia.

Americans Lauri Bonacorsi and Travis Mager took the bronze to go along with their silver at the season's second event in Australia. Skating their free dance to "Close to You," Bonacorsi and Mager achieved a personal best score of 75.96 points by completing three level four elements.