Satoko Miyhara

Yevgenia Medvedeva wins Skate America over Gracie Gold

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Make way for another Russian figure skating star.

Yevgenia Medvedeva won Skate America in her senior Grand Prix debut in Milwaukee on Saturday. Medvedeva, 15 and the World junior champion, held off American Gracie Gold by 3.21 points.

A U.S. woman hasn’t won Skate America since Ashley Wagner in 2012, matching the longest drought for the host nation in the event’s history.

Gold, who finished fourth at the Sochi Olympics and 2015 World Championships, outscored Medvedeva in the free skate but couldn’t make up all of a 5.53-point deficit from Friday’s short program.

Medvedeva fell in her free skate, but Gold lost points by doubling potential triple jumps in both her short program and free skate.

“You can’t really botch a jump spot in the short program if you’re going to win a Grand Prix,” Gold told Andrea Joyce on NBC.

Japan’s Satoko Miyahara, the World silver medalist, was third. Karen Chen, the U.S. bronze medalist, was fifth.

Medvedeva joins a bevy of Russian stars with eyes on the World Championships in Boston in five months, including Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova, World champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, National champion Yelena Radionova and Yulia Lipnitskaya, the darling of the Sochi Olympic team event who placed seventh at Skate America.

Russia can’t send more than three women to Worlds, though.

The men’s free skate is later Saturday, with leader Max Aaron looking to become the first U.S. man to win Skate America since Evan Lysacek in 2009. NBCSN will have coverage Sunday from 10-11:30 p.m. ET.

The Grand Prix season continues next weekend with Skate Canada, featuring Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, Tuktamysheva, three-time World champion Patrick Chan and the three-time U.S. champion Wagner.

MORE FIGURE SKATING: Full 2015-16 broadcast schedule

Surprise U.S. leader at Skate America

Max Aaron
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A U.S. champion is in great position to end the home drought at Skate America, but it’s neither Gracie Gold nor Jason Brown.

Max Aaron, the 2013 U.S. champion who just missed the Sochi Olympics, cleanly landed all of his jumps, including a quadruple toe loop in combination, to lead after the short program in Milwaukee on Friday.

“I’ve been waiting for it to happen,” Aaron said in a U.S. Figure Skating video. “I just changed my mental game around, my competing around. I want to be back on top. I want to make the World [Championships] team again. I want to be that guy that’s reliable.”

The Olympic team bronze medalists Gold and Brown erred on jumps and were second and eighth, respectively, in the women’s and men’s standings.

NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra will air the women’s free skate Saturday from 5-6 p.m. ET. The men’s free skate is later Saturday. NBCSN will air coverage Sunday from 10-11:30 p.m. ET.

Aaron scored a personal-best 86.67 points and leads by .14 of a point over China’s Han Yan in the Grand Prix series opener. It’s a step toward a comeback for the 23-year-old former hockey player.

Aaron set himself up to make his first Olympic team by winning the 2013 U.S. title but fell to third at the 2014 U.S. Championships, missing the two-man Sochi team, and fourth at last season’s U.S. Championships, missing the three-man World Championships team.

Now Aaron could notch the biggest international victory of his career and the first Grand Prix title for an American man since 2011. The last U.S. man to win Skate America was Evan Lysacek in 2009.

The pre-competition favorites all faltered in the men’s short program.

Shoma Uno, the World junior champion from Japan, and Denis Ten, the Olympic and World bronze medalist from Kazakhstan, both fell on quadruple toe loops and sit fourth and sixth, respectively.

Brown, the reigning U.S. champion who was fourth at Worlds, singled the second half of a jump combination and is in eighth place.

“I look at it as a learning experience,” Brown said in a U.S. Figure Skating video. “Now I’m going to take it with me.”

Gold doubled a planned triple flip and is 5.53 points behind reigning World junior champion Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia.

“I think maybe I just lost a little bit of my attack,” Gold told media. “Really been working on coming out of the gate strong. I do clean shorts in practice … just a slip-up.”

VIDEOS: Evgenia Medvedeva | Gracie Gold

World silver medalist Satoko Miyahara of Japan was third, followed by U.S. bronze medalist Karen Chen and Yulia Lipnitskaya, the Russian darling of the Sochi Olympic team event.

Gold, 20, and Chen, 16, are trying to become the first U.S. woman to win Skate America since Ashley Wagner in 2012.

The reigning Olympic and World champions on the men’s and women’s sides — Yuzuru HanyuJavier FernandezAdelina Sotnikova and Elizaveta Tuktamysheva — are not competing at Skate America.

MORE FIGURE SKATING: Full 2015-16 broadcast schedule