Recap: 2022 World Junior Championships

by Anne Calder | Photos by Robin Ritoss

The World Junior Figure Skating Championships made its debut in 1976 and was held every year until the 2021 event scheduled for Harbin, China was canceled due to the world-wide pandemic. In early February 2022, the ISU Council decided the March 7-13 Event could not be held in Sofia, Bulgaria. Cancelation would mean two years without Junior Worlds. Postponing it to May was not an alternative for Bulgaria. The Estonian Skating Union stepped up and volunteered to host the event April 13-17, 2022.

In Tallinn, twenty-four teams from twenty countries qualified for the Rhythm Dance. The number of entrants was determined by the previous Championships (2020). USA (3), CAN (2) FRA (2), and AUT, CYP, CZE, EST, GBR, GEO, GER, HUN, ISR, ITA, JPN, KOR, POL, SUI, SVK, TUR, UKR (1).

The ISU stipulates that minimum scores must be achieved at an ISU-recognized junior international competition in the ongoing or preceding two seasons (adjusted from the traditional one due to the pandemic), no later than 21 days before the first official practice day.”

The qualifying ice dance minimum scores for 2022 are: RD (23) and FD (37).  

At the four ISU Championships – Worlds, Junior Worlds, Europeans and Four Continents – small medals are awarded for the three highest scores in the four disciplines. The presentation is done off-ice usually prior to the Short and Free Press Conferences. The traditional large medals are presented on ice followed by the playing of the Champion’s National Anthem.


On April 15, the second evening of the 2022 World Junior Figure Skating Championships, the Rhythm Dance was competed at the Tondiraba Ice Hall in Tallinn, Estonia.

North American teams won the three small medals – USA’s Oona Brown & Gage Brown (gold), and Canada’s Natalie D’Alessandro & Bruce Waddell (silver) and Nadiia Bashynska & Peter Beaumont (bronze).

Brown & Brown earned a personal best 66.98 score for their fast moving hip-hop on ice to “How Ya Like Me Now” by rapper Kool Moe Dee, arranged by Montreal’s Hugo Chouinard. The siblings earned level 4 twizzles and rotational lift and level 3 for the Midline Step Sequence and second Blues pattern. 

The team trains in Dix Hills, New York with Inese Bucevica and Joel Dear and has not competed for six months. After a successful JGP Series, they qualified for the Final only to have it canceled in December.  Then Covid hit them in January, so they missed the U.S. National Championships, but were appointed to the Junior World team only to have that delayed and almost canceled.

“It was tough and a lot of setbacks” Gage said. “Obviously, the news when we tested positive was a nightmare. It was a day before we were supposed to leave [for Nationals], and then we had to take ten days off before we could actually skate again. It helped we were training off ice during that whole period of time.”

“It felt like a long setback for me. Oona was fine; I had a difficult time. That was a new one and definitely it was a curve ball. We worked through it, and I’m happy where we are now. This is what you live for, this is the World Championships. This is where you want to compete.”

Both Canadian teams train in Toronto, but with different coaches at different locations. D’Alessandro & Waddell are with Andrew Hallam at the Toronto Cricket Skating Curling Club. Bashynska & Beaumont are at the Scarboro FSC with Carol and John Lane.

D’Alessandro & Waddell danced to “Son Of A Preacher Man (Pulp Fiction soundtrack) by Dusty Springfield, “Hitting the Fan” (The Good Wife soundtrack) by David Buckley and “Pump It” by Black Eyed Peas and scored 64.00 points. The twizzles and stationary lift earned level 4. The Blues patterns were levels 2,3. 

“We are definitely very happy with our skate today,” D’Alessandro said. “We put out today what weve been doing in practice, and we felt like we pushed everything we could. That’s what we said to each other when we got off.”

“Being able to have gone out internationally twice a little bit before this competition, helped a lot,” Waddell added.

Bashynska & Beaumont were third with their dance to “Chances Are” and “Peppermint Twist” that was awarded 63.45 points. The twizzles and stationary lift earned level 4; the Blues patterns received levels 2,3. The Midline Step Sequence was level 2. The 63.45 score was a personal best.

“Honestly its insane,” Bashynska said. “I felt so in the moment. I kind of live for the feeling for performing for the audience, for the people in the crowd.”.

When asked about training with Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier, both had high accolades.

“Having them at the rink every day constantly pushing new boundaries…it’s having that clear goal they have,” Beaumont said. “They definitely inspire in a lot of ways. Their hard work and determination helps us to stay focused and stay on our target,” added Bashynska. “They are great role models.”

Darya Grimm & Michail Savitskiy (GER), Angelina Kudravtseva & Ilia Karankevich (CYP) and Angela Ling & Caleb Wein (USA) were fourth, fifth and sixth.

Podium hopefuls 2021 USA Junior Champions Katarina Wolfkostin & Jeffrey Chen were ninth after she fell in the twizzles.


Sunday, April 17 was the final day of competition at the 2022 Junior Worlds. Just before noon the first of the twenty teams who qualified for the Free Dance skated to center ice for their final program of the season. Three hours later the new Champions were crowned, medals were awarded and their national anthem was played.

The winners of the small medals were: USA’s Oona Brown & Gage Brown (gold) and Katarina Wolfkostin & Jeffrey Chen (silver) plus Natalie D’Alessandro & Bruce Waddell (bronze).

Brown & Brown vaulted nine spots from their 10th place finish at the 2020 Junior World Championships with a gold medal personal best 103.27 score. The native New Yorkers moved seamlessly across the ice, demonstrating power and synchronization to selections by Muse. The spin, twizzles and lifts earned level 4, with the one-foot step sequence receiving level 3. The total 170.25 points was also a personal best.

“Overjoyed is the correct word to describe the feeling [of winning the medal],” Gage said. “It was a very long season. As for the delay, the motivation went up and down a lot for the two of us. It was like – we have a date for Worlds, then we didn’t, then we had one, and then we didn’t. [The last one] I was hoping it stuck, and it did so it was amazing.” 

“It was definitely worth the wait,” Oona added.

Gage continued, “Getting back into athletic training and the groove of things really wasn’t that much of a problem. Mentally it was a little harder – physically it was not.”

D’Alessandro & Waddell brought ballet to the ice with an interpretive dance to the soundtrack of the psychological thriller film, Black Swan – including Odile’s black tutu. The reigning Canadian Junior National Champions earned level 4 for their spin and lifts plus level 3 for the twizzles. 

“We had a competition in Italy [in February] at the Egna Dance Trophy,” D’Alessandro noted. “We got a lot of technical feedback, so we turned [the month’s delay] into the biggest positive we could. What’s a few more weeks for the World medal? It was definitely worth it.” 

Waddell added, “Overjoyed is like an understatement for me. Honestly, it hasn’t really sunk in yet.”

Six weeks ago, Bashynska & Beaumont dropped this season’s Russian folk free dance and returned to their 2019-20 music, Andrea Bocelli’s “Caruso” and Andre Rieu’s “And the Waltz Goes On”. It scored 94.19. 

Bashynska spoke about the program change. “I’m proud of my heritage. [She was born in Kyiv, Ukraine.] I’m proud of Peter and I making this wise choice of music, to go back to our previous program. We love this program, and we were able to deliver the feeling, our love and the story to the ice today. What matters is what we did, what we left out there. That was everything we’ve been feeling for the past month.”

“For Nadiia and me our goal for this competition was to be in the mix for the top five,” Beaumont said. “To exceed that expectation; we’re just overjoyed.”

After a ninth place RD finish, Wolfkostin & Chen made a valiant effort in the Free Dance to “Rain in Your Black Eyes” that scored 100.22 but fell .38 points short of a spot on the podium. Their fourth place total was 157.27.

The next three teams were separated by only .50 points.  Darya Grimm & Michail Savitsky (GER) were seventh in the Free Dance to “Sarabande” and finished fifth with 154.48 points. Hannah Lim & Ye Quan (KOR) moved to sixth with 154.44 points after their fourth place performance to Cats musical soundtrack. Angela Ling & Caleb Wein (USA) had a sixth place Free Dance and total score of 153.98 for a seventh place finish. 

Only two teams kept their Rhythm Dance placement. Brown & Brown stayed atop the leader board with two first place finishes. Elizabeth Tkachenko & Alexei Kiliakov remained thirteenth.  Eighteen of the twenty teams shuffled into different final places.


Twenty teams made their World Junior Championships debut in 2022. Four teams debuted in 2020. 

  • 2020 – Wolfkostin & Chen USA (7th) – 2022 (4th)
  • 2020 – Brown & Brown USA (10th) – 2022 (1st)
  • 2020 – D’Alessandro & Waddell CAN (11th) – 2022 (2nd)
  • 2020 – Kudryavtseva & Karankevich CYP (20th)  – 2022 (8th)

Only two Junior World Championship gold medal teams are siblings. Both represented the USA.   

  • Rachel Parsons & Michael Parsons (2017) 
  • Oona Brown & Gage Brown (2022).

Only two World Junior Championship gold medal teams have also won the World Championships.

  • Oksana Domina & Maxim Shabolin (Junior – 2003) (Senior – 2009)
  • Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir (Junior – 2006) (Senior – 2010, 2012, 2017)

Only one World Junior Championship gold medalist team has won the Olympics.

  • Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir (Junior – 2006) (Olympics – 2010, 2018)

Several World Junior Championship gold medal teams have won the World Championships with different partners.

Calgary, Alberta Canada will host the 2023 World Junior Championships.