The American duo of Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier scored 75.19 points in their short program to take the lead over Canadians Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps, who posted 73.05 points at Skate America on Friday night in Norwood. , Mass.
Knierim and Frazier, who helped the US win team silver at the Beijing Olympics, are heavy favorites in the opening event of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating after taking advantage of the powerhouse teams’ absence. Russians to win their first world title earlier this year.
Playing “Separate Ways” by American rock band Journey, Knierim and Frazier dazzled a crowd with their opening triple turn. Frazier landed on two feet on his side-to-side triple toe loop, but the 2021 Skate America champions came back with a beautiful triple flip throw for a solid component score.
However, Knierim and Frazier were expected to perform on the Grand Prix stage. The surprise came from Stellato-Dudek and Deschamps, whose rendition of Astor Piazzolla’s “Oblivion” put them solidly in second place.
The lower-tier Nebelhorn Trophy winners earlier this year were solid from their opening triple spin, through their side-to-side triple toe and into their triple throw loop to stay within gold medal range. .
“We’re very happy with our performance, happy to be here,” said Stellato-Dudek, who lives in Chicago and previously skated for the US. “It’s like a homecoming for me. It’s like my wedding. It’s like knew everyone.”
Letizia Roscher and Luis Schuster of Germany trailed far behind in third with 54.87 points, while fellow Canadians Kelly Ann Laurin and Loucas Ethier are fourth (52.59).
CLOCK | Stellato-Dudek of Canada, Deschamps placed second after a short program:
Miura Headlines Men’s Short Program; Malinin ranks fourth
Kao Miura took advantage of the retirement of his Japanese compatriot Yuma Kagiyama, coupled with an unusual fall by his American rival Ilia Malinin, to take the lead after the men’s short program.
Miura, 17, hit a triple toe loop quad opening high jump along with a triple axel and quad toe loop to score a career-best 94.96 points at the Tenley E. Albright Performance Center near Boston. That gave Miura a slight edge over South Korea’s Cha Junhwan, who moonwalked through a mix of Michael Jackson for a score of 94.44 points.
“I say to myself, ‘Why am I sitting here?’ Miura said afterwards, “And it’s because I did everything I should have done on the ice. I just tried to be confident on the ice and that worked for me.”
CLOCK | Miura in 1st place after the men’s short program:
Italy’s Daniel Grassl was third with 88.43 points, while Malinin, the 17-year-old who made history by landing the first quad axel in the competition, was fourth after a fall on his quad toe loop left him with 86. .06 points.
“I think from the start I felt very confident going in. I was very in the moment,” said Malinin, the junior world champion, who was making his senior Grand Prix debut. “After that little fall, he kind of flummoxed me. I had to ignore him and get on with the rest of the show.”
Canadian Roman Sadovsky is fifth with 78.15 points, while his compatriot Wesley Chiu is ninth with 71.58.
Malinin became the favorite at Skate America when Olympic silver medalist Kagiyama withdrew from the event due to injury. But it was Miura, the 17-year-old Japanese junior champion, who took the lead entering the free skate thanks to a technical score that was more than five points higher than anyone else’s.
That was eight points clear of Malinin, who might need to land his quad axel on Saturday night to stand a chance.
“It really depends on how I feel personally,” Malinin said of attempting the 4 1/2 rotation jump.
Watch live coverage of Skate America on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports App and CBC Gem. The action continues through Sunday.
CLOCK | Malinin aiming to win the first senior Grand Prix at Skate America: