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Russia dominates Junior Grand Prix on home soil

Samarin, Tsurskaya win singles golds; Team USA earns two silvers
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Alexander Samarin of Russia ran away with the men's title in Saransk, winning the gold by more than 23 points. -Getty Images

Russia earned the top spot in all four disciplines at the fourth event in the 2016 Junior Grand Prix Series in Saransk, Russia.


Polina Tsurskaya led a podium sweep in the ladies event, earning an overall score of 183.73. She opened her Game of Thrones short program with a triple lutz-triple toe combination and followed that with a triple loop and double axel in the second half of the program. Her segment score of 69.02 gave her a 4.64-point lead heading into the final segment -- enough to take home gold despite a second-place finish in the free skate.

Despite two falls in her free skate to "Vai Vedrai" from Cirque du Soleil, Stanislava Konstantinova earned silver with 175.20 points. 

In fourth place after the short, Elizaveta Nugumanova won the free skate to take the bronze in her JGP Series debut. Nugumanova landed seven triple jumps -- including a triple loop-triple loop combination -- in her program to music from Swan Lake.

Team USA's Brynne McIsaac finished eighth with 132.39 points.


Alexander Samarin opened his JGP season by winning the men's title in Saransk. In the free skate, Samarin took the ice to "Maybe I Maybe You" by Scorpions, landing a quadruple toe, back-to-back triple axels -- one in combination with a double toe -- and five additional triple jumps en route to a segment score of 154.99. He finished the week with 228.33 points, 23 more than his closest competitor.

In third place after the short program, Team USA's Andrew Torgashev turned in a solid free skate to "Bohemian Rhapsody" to claim his first career JGP medal, a silver. Despite a fall on a triple axel, Torgashev earned a personal-best 139.44 points for his program.

Representing Czech Republic, Matyas Belohradsky survived a fourth-place showing in the free to win the bronze. Belohradsky, who finished ninth at the JGP in his home country earlier this month, posted personal-best marks across the board in Russia, earning a total score of 192.60.

Torgashev's teammate, Eric Sjoberg, finished seventh with 177.21 points. 


Russia's second podium sweep came in pairs, where Anastasia Mishina and Vladislav Mirzoev easily won the title. Their final competition score of 175.82 was 23.25 points more than that of their nearest challengers, Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlocskii.

Skating to "Saragina Rumba" by Hippies, Mishina and Mirzoev earned a personal-best 63.93 points for their short program, which included a throw triple flip, side-by-side double axels and four Level 4 elements.

Boikova and Kozlocskii made their JGP debut at the event, earning silver despite falls on both of their triple loop elements -- throw and side-by-side jumps -- in their "Justification of Life" free skate. The duo set personal bests across the board this week.

Ekaterina Borisova and Dmitry Sopot completed the podium sweep, winning bronze with 150.76 points. Despite a fall on their axel combo in their free skate to "Still Loving You" by Scorpions, the pair earned a score of 96.02 for the performance, the second highest of the day.

Americans Nica Digerness and Danny Neudecker, and Sarah Rose and Joseph Goodpaster finished sixth and seventh, respectively.

Ice dance

Alla Loboda and Pavel Drozd won for the home country in ice dance, setting personal-best scores across the board. The reigning JGP Final silver medalists earned 161.87 total points after performing a free dance to "Malagueña" worth 96.91 points.

Team USA's Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko earned their second JGP silver of the season, having also stood on the second step of the podium at JGP France last month. The Americans also recorded personal-best scores in each segment of the competition, including a final mark of 157.19.

Loboda and Drozd's teammates, Sofia Shevchenko and Igor Eremenko, finished third with 141.67 points to take home their third career JGP bronze medal.