Figure Skating

Satoko Miyahara claims Skate America title for second year in a row

The two-time figure skating world medallist is the first woman to achieve the feat since Yuna Kim.

Satoko Miyahara led a Japanese one-two in the ISU Grand Prix season opener as she held off a challenge from compatriot Kaori Sakamoto to clinch her second straight Skate America title.

16-year-old debutant Sofia Samodurova from Russia rounded out the podium.

Two-time world medallist Miyahara, who finished fourth in the ladies' singles event at PyeongChang 2018, topped the field in Everett, Washington, with a two-day total score of 219.71. She had led after Saturday's short program.

She won by 5.81 points from Olympic teammate Sakamoto, who repeated as runner-up for the second straight year.

The 20-year old Miyahara, a three-time Grand Prix finalist, took her third victory in the series.

In doing so, she became the first woman to claim back-to-back Skate Americas since Olympic silver medallist Yuna Kim in 2008 and 2009.

Kaori Sakamoto (JPN), Satoko Miyahara (JPN), and Sofia Samodurova (RUS) stand on the podium Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

USA off the podium

U.S. champion Bradie Tennell finished fourth overall, moving up one place after a disappointing short program.

It was the second time in 40 years that an American woman didn't make the singles podium in the event.

"Yesterday's [triple-triple combo] mistake threw me off a little bit, but I'm proud of how I recovered from that. I have a lot to work on." she told NBC.

Bradie Tennell (USA) during the free skate competition Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Tenth straight title

Following Nathan Chen's triumph in the men's event, local fans could celebrate another home victory in the ice dance competition.

World silver medallists Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue topped the podium with a total of 200.82 points, giving the U.S. their 10th straight Skate America title in the event.

The American national champions, fourth in PyeongChang, finished ahead of Italy's Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri (192.30), with Tiffani Zagorski and Jonathan Guerreiro from Russia in third position (181.38).

The Grand Prix series continues next week in Laval, near Montreal, with Skate Canada, featuring Olympic silver medallist Evgenia Medvedeva.

Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue (USA) pose for a photo after winning gold in ice dance. Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports