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Three golds for Russia at JGP Czech Republic

Parsons siblings snag silver for USA; Tanaka punches JGP Final ticket
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The ice dance podium (L-R): Silver medalists Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons of the U.S., gold medalists Betina Popova and Yuri Vlasenko of Russia and bronze medalists Madeline Edwards and Zhao Kai Pang of Canada. -Peggy Graham

Much like Team USA last week in Belarus, this week, it was Russia's turn to take three titles, as the 2013 Junior Grand Prix (JGP) Series continued this week in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Lina Fedorova and Maxim Miroshkin, Alexandra Proklova, and Betina Popova and Yuri Vlasenko took the pairs, ladies and ice dance titles, respectively, while Keiji Tanaka won the men's event for Japan.

With only one event remaining before the JGP Final, each of the week's Russian titlists, coupled with the silver medals they earned already this season, will compete at the 2013 JGP Final later this year in Fukuoka, Japan. Joining them will be Tanaka, who won the men's title at JGP Slovakia last month.

Ladies

Russia's Proklova swept both segments in the ladies event to the tune of 181.18 total points. She turned in two clean performances, with only one negative grade of execution (GOE) throughout. Her East Asian-themed free skate opened with a triple Lutz, followed by a triple flip-half loop-triple Salchow that earned an event-high 10.80 points. She earned 117.75 points for the segment on her way to a 15.59-point victory.

In second place was Proklova's teammate, Maria Sotskova, who moved up from a third-place finish in the short program to win the silver medal. Her free skate, set to music from the Pina soundtrack, included seven triple jumps, three in combination, en route to 165.59 total points. Sotnikova also took silver at JGP Latvia last month.

Just one point behind was American Amber Glenn, who earned an impressive 164.18 points and the bronze medal in her international debut.

Men's

Like Proklova, Japan's Tanaka topped the field in both competition segments to take the title by nearly seven points. His Doctor Zhivago free skate earned a personal best 139.59 points and opened with a quadruple toe loop that received positive GOEs across the board for a performance-high 11.30 points. Tanaka earned his second career JGP title with 210.02 total points.

Russia's Alexander Petrov added a third JGP silver medal to his collection after finishing second at his last two JGP events, in Istanbul (2012) and Poland (2013). Petrov set international best scores across the board and finished the week with 203.44 points.

Petrov's teammate, Moris Kvitelashvili, rounded out the podium with 185.68 points to earn his first career JGP medal.

Pairs

Topping a Russian sweep in the pairs event, Fedorova and Miroshkin took the title by a 2.92-point margin, despite a second-place finish in both segments of the competition. Their Cabaret free skate opened with a triple twist, which received positive GOEs across the board, and their program components score of 49.38 points was the highest of the event. They finished the segment with 95.90 points en route to 147.15 points for the week.

In first place after the short program, Arina Cherniavskaia and Antonio Souza-Kordyeru settled for the silver medal after a third-place finish in the free skate. They earned a total score of 144.23 points, less than two points ahead of their teammates, Kamilla Gainetdinova and Ivan Bich, who rallied from a fifth-place finish in the short program to win the free skate and take home the bronze medal with 142.84 points.

Coupled with the JGP Slovakia title they earned last month, Gainetdinova and Bich will likely stage a rematch against Federova and Miroshkin at the JGP Final.

Ice dance

After placing fourth in the short dance, Popova and Vlasenko turned in a strong free dance to top the podium. Their performance, set to music from the Spartacus soundtrack, earned a Level 4 on five of its eight elements, seven of which earned positive GOEs. The Moscow natives earned 81.68 points for the segment on their way to a combined score of 135.16 points.

Less than a point behind were Team USA's Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons, who earned the silver medal with 134.73 points. Coupled with the silver they earned at JGP Slovakia last month, the brother-sister team hopes to join Popova and Vlasenko at the JGP Final.

Just a point behind the Americans were Madeline Edwards and Zhao Kai Pang of Canada, who are coached by 2006 Olympians and four-time Canadian ice dance silver medalists Megan Wing and Aaron Lowe. The Burnaby-based duo rounded out the podium with 133.39 total points.

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