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Japanese ladies pull off podium sweep in Yokohama

Sakamoto, Honda, Yamashita go 1-2-3; Parsons easily take dance gold
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The host country dominated the ladies competition at JGP Japan, with Kaori Sakamoto (midlde), Marin Honda (left) and Mako Yamashita winning gold, silver and bronze, respectively. -Getty Images

Japan's Kaori Sakamoto led a home country podium sweep in the ladies event while Team USA's Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons won the ice dance title at the Junior Grand Prix (JGP) in Yokohama, Japan, on Sunday. 


Heading into the final segment with a 0.8-point lead, Sakamoto held on to the top spot after turning in the second-best free skate of the day. Her routine to music from The Color Purple included seven triple jumps and three Level 4 spins. She earned 122.15 points for the segment en route to a total score of 187.81 and her first JGP gold medal.

Marin Honda won the free skate, rebounding from a fifth-place finish in the short program to take home the silver medal. Skating to music from Romeo and Juliet, Honda received positive Grades of Execution (GOE) on each of her 11 elements on her way to a technical score of 67.86. Her segment mark of 128.64 gave her an overall total of 184.11.

Rounding out the podium was Mako Yamashita, who finished the week with 182.43 points. She earned 117.57 points for her "Bohemian Rhapsody" free skate, helping her to secure the bronze in her JGP Series debut.

American Gabrielle Noullet finished her JGP Series debut in seventh place with 128.76 points.


The Parsons siblings earned their third career JGP title, wrapping up the gold with 160.42 points. Their free dance, set to "Singing in the Rain" by Sophia Sin, featured three Level 4 elements and only one negative GOE across the board. With a free dance score of 93.66, they won the segment by more than three points and the event by nearly nine.

The standings after the short dance held for the top three teams, with Russians Anastasia Shpilevaya and Grigory Smirnov winning silver and France's Angelique Abachkina and Louis Thauron taking home bronze. Shpilevaya and Smirnov's "Tarantella Napolitana" free dance earned the team 90.62 points, lifting the reigning Russian junior bronze medalists to their best-ever finish in the JGP Series.

In their JGP debut, Team USA's Emma Gunter and Caleb Wein finished seventh with 112.82 points.