Meryl Davis, Charlie White

Gold, Davis/White lead after short programs at U.S. International Figure Skating Classic

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Gracie Gold fell, but so did the other top Americans in the women’s short program at the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic.

Gold, 18, the U.S. silver medalist, scored a 58.49, good enough for a two-point lead despite losing her landing on a double axel and looking a little off on triple jumps.

“I think that I fought for the jumps, but I don’t feel like I had to fight for any of the spins,” Gold said, according to the U.S. Figure Skating Association. “I think I was just pretty nervous today.”

She leads over U.S. bronze medalist Agnes Zawadzki, who fell on a planned triple-triple combination at the start of her skate. Zawadzki scored a 56.27 (full results below). The free skate is Saturday at 5 p.m. ET.

Ice dancing also began Friday. Reigning Olympic silver medalists and world champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White posted their highest short dance score at a season-opening event, a 73.67.

The pairs and men’s free skates were scheduled for later Friday.

In the women’s short program, Americans Courtney Hicks and Samantha Cesario, making their senior international debuts, scored 54.80 and 47.91, respectively, for third and fifth place. Both had trouble with triple-triple combinations and double axels.

Cesario, U.S. champion Ashley Wagner and Caroline Zhang are entered in Skate America, the first Grand Prix event of the season, Oct. 18-20 in Detroit. The U.S. women will compete for three spots on the Olympic team at nationals in Boston in January.

Ice dancers Davis and White, who skated to music from “My Fair Lady,” lead by a comfortable 11 points over Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje going into Saturday’s free dance (8 p.m. ET). Weaver and Poje were fifth at the World Championships in March.

“It’s still really early in the season, and we can’t go out there kind of on autopilot like we can later in the season and just enjoy the process,” Davis said. “We really have to think through everything, which is OK.”

Women
1. Gracie Gold (USA) 58.49
2. Agnes Zawadzki (USA) 56.27
3. Courtney Hicks (USA) 54.80
4. Amelie Lacosta (CAN) 50.94
5. Samantha Cesario (USA) 47.91
6. Sandy Hoffman (GER) 44.31
7. Melanie Yuung-Hui Chang (TPE) 41.62
8. Chelsea Chiappa (HUN) 35.17
9. Crystal Kiang (TPE) 33.73
10. Georgia Glastris (GRE) 31.55
11. Dimitra Korri (GRE) 31.36
12. Danielle Montalbano (ISR) 30.56
13. Clara Peters (IRL) 29.86
14. Brittany Lau (SIN) 27.79

Ice Dance
1. Davis/White (USA) 73.67
2. Weaver/Poje (CAN) 62.61
3. Orford/Williams (CAN) 54.64
4. Coomes/Buckland (GBR) 53.97
5. Zlobina/Sitnikov (AZE) 53.75
6. Kriengkrairut/Giuletti-Schmitt (USA) 53.03
7. Tobias/Deividas (LTU) 48.17
8. Cannuscio/McManus (USA) 48.07
9. Polutowska/Gerber (POL) 46.15
10. Reed/Rogov (ISR) 45.23
11. Telegina/Japaridze (GEO) 42.25
12. Bernardi/Mior (ITA) 41.15
13. Aronow/Brubaker (USA) 38.01
14. Maekawa/Maekawa (MEX) 35.58

U.S. figure skater aided by mime coach

Yevgenia Medvedeva wins season opener in rout

AP
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Olympic figure skating favorite Yevgenia Medvedeva, imperfect by her standards, still won her first international competition of the season by a whopping 36.74 points on Saturday.

The Russian tallied 146.72 points in her free skate at Nepela Trophy in Slovakia — lower than her median score over her two-year winning streak — and 226.72 points overall. 

Video is here. Full scores are here.

Medvedeva had a wrong edge call on her triple Lutz, stepping out of the landing. 

Judges gave her a negative grade of execution for it, snapping a streak of more than 60 straight jumps with positive grades dating to December.

No matter, the 17-year-old still had the highest free skate by 23.23 points.

It was 13.72 points shy of her world record set at the last competition of the 2016-17 season.

She distanced Japanese Rika Hongo and countrywoman Yelena Radionova, the only woman to beat Medvedeva in senior international competition in November 2015.

Medvedeva entered the free skate with a 13.51-point lead in the low-level event. That was via recording the second-highest short program tally under a 13-year-old judging system on Thursday.

Her flawed free skate still earned more points than any of her rivals racked up last season. 

All of her jumps except a double Axel were in the second half of her program to earn bonus points.

However, another Russian posted a higher free skate score last week.

That’s 15-year-old training partner Alina Zagitova, who was .45 better at a low-level event in Italy. 

It’s not entirely fair to compare scores from different judging panels at these early season competitions, though.

The first of six Grand Prix series events is Rostelecom Cup in Moscow in four weeks, featuring Medvedeva and Radionova.

Medvedeva and Zagitova could go head-to-head at the Grand Prix Final in December and should definitely both be at the Russian Championships later that month.

The figure skating season continues next week with Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany, the final Olympic qualifying competition. 

North Korea could clinch its first spots in any sport for the Olympics in the pairs event.

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VIDEO: Nathan Chen makes more history at season opener

Yuzuru Hanyu opens Olympic season with record score

Yuzuru Hanyu
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A sore knee didn’t hold Yuzuru Hanyu back. A record score to open his Olympic season.

The Olympic and world champion from Japan hit a pair of quadruple jumps in his short program at the Autumn Classic, a lower-level event in Montreal.

He was rewarded with 112.72 points, the highest short program score recorded under the 13-year-old judging system. Video is here.

It looked like a home competition for Hanyu.

Upon finishing, he bowed toward one set of bleachers (maybe a dozen rows) at the Sportsplexe Pierrefonds. More than two dozen Japanese flags made it hard to see most of the faces.

He bettered Javier Fernández, a two-time world champion and training partner, by 11.52 points. Fernández also landed two quadruple jumps to tally 101.2.

Full scores will be here upon the conclusion of the short program. The free skate is Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. A live stream is here.

Hanyu now owns the three highest short program scores under the 13-year-old system. The other two were set in the 2015-16 season.

Showdowns like Hanyu-Fernández are usually reserved for, at the earliest, the Grand Prix series in late October and November.

Hanyu and Fernández are very familiar with each other, having shared a coach in Canadian Brian Orser, the 1988 Olympic silver medalist, since 2012. They train in Toronto.

In that time, Hanyu became the first Japanese man to win an Olympic title (and the second teen from any nation to do it). He followed it up with world titles later in 2014 and this year.

Fernández achieved unfathomable success for a Spanish skater — world titles in 2015 and 2016, overtaking Hanyu in the free skate both times.

In PyeongChang, Hanyu can become the first man to repeat as Olympic champion since Dick Button in 1952. Fernández can become the third Spaniard to earn a Winter Olympic medal of any color in any sport, and the first since 1992.

The figure skating season continues next week with Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany, the final Olympic qualifying competition. North Korea could clinch its first spots in any sport for the Olympics in the pairs event.

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