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Samodurova rises up to win gold at JGP Croatia

American Nguyen places fifth; Canada's Lajoie, Lagha claim dance title
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Russia's Sofia Samodurova rose from third after the short program to claim gold Saturday at JGP Croatia. -Getty Images

The final two events came to a close Saturday at the Junior Grand Prix (JGP) in Zagreb, Croatia. Canadians Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha won the gold medal in ice dance, while Russia's Sofia Samodurova took the top podium spot in the ladies competition.


Samodurova, who was third after the short program, delivered an impressive free skate to return home with the top prize. The 125.43 points she earned for her Astor Piazzolla program upped her event total to 187.86 points, allowing the Russian to depart with a comfortable victory.

Samodurova also skated clean while landing 11 jumps -- including a triple lutz-double toe-double loop combination -- to go along with a double axel-triple toe. She earned three Level 4 spins and received the segment's top program components scores.

Finishing second to Samodurova was Japan's Mako Yamashita, who ended the competition with 175.75 total points. Yamashita picked up 110.53 points for her "Madame Butterfly" free skate, while delivering a clean skate of her own. Though she faltered on her opening triple loop-double toe-double toe combination, the 14-year-old still did more than enough to secure silver.

Anastasia Tarakanova was sixth after the short program, but after winning the free skate, the Russian was able to pick up her second JGP medal of the 2017-18 season. She ended the competition with 165.57 points.

American Kaitlyn Nguyen completed her visit to Zagreb in fifth with 148.60 points.

Ice Dance

Lajoie and Lagha accrued a new personal-best total score of 150.30 after tallying 87.41 points for their "Dream" and "Nemesis" free skate.

The Canadians opened with an impressive Level 4 spin and Level 3 step sequence, but it was their Level 4 twizzles and lift midway through the program that sealed the win.

Russia's Sofia Shevchenko and Igor Eremenko moved up from third after the short dance to capture the silver medal. Skating to music by Drehz and Yann Tiersen, the duo earned 85.08 points in the segment, which upped their event total to a personal-best 145.05 points. The pair received four Level 4 elements -- including two lifts -- and also garnered the segment's top PCS marks.

Fellow Russians Ksenia Konkina and Grigory Yakushev won bronze with 143.77 points. They also received four Level 4 elements, but earned slightly lower grades of execution than the top two teams on the podium.

Team USA's Eliana Gropman and Ian Somerville finished fourth, with teammates Sophia Elder and Christopher Elder landing 12th.