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

Mikaela Shiffrin wrestles with doubt in seconds before World Cup downhill debut

Mikaela Shiffrin, of the United States, skis during the third training run for the World Cup women's downhill ski race in Lake Louise, Alberta, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP)
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After a momentary panic in the start house, Mikaela Shiffrin raced to a tie for 18th in the first downhill of her World Cup career in Lake Louise, Alberta, on Friday.

Shiffrin, the youngest Olympic slalom champion who has also won a World Cup giant slalom, has been slowly adding the speed events of super-G and downhill to her repertoire the last two seasons.

“It wasn’t bad,” Shiffrin said, according to SkiRacing.com. “I certainly didn’t risk anything crazy.”

Her result Friday, 1.99 seconds behind Slovenian winner Ilka Stuhec, came after Shiffrin was 18th, 24th and 30th fastest in downhill training runs the previous three days. Shiffrin also had to wait several minutes in the start house as the racer before her crashed (video here).

“That was just a bummer,” Shiffrin said, according to the Denver Post. “I was like, ‘Just don’t let it affect you,’ but being up there for 10 minutes, like, ‘What happened? What’s taking them so long? What’s going on? Is she hurt?’

“Then I started doubting myself, like my technique going off the jumps, which is actually pretty good. I was going back and forth between, ‘Should I even be doing this? Maybe I just should pull out because I don’t want to kill myself.’ Then I’m like, ‘You’re absolutely fine, you haven’t felt sketched out a single time on this track in the past three days, so stick with that. You don’t have to go crazy.'”

“To be fast in speed there certainly needs to be a certain level of risk, and I know that, but now, if [giant slalom] and slalom are my main priority this season, I don’t need to be going crazy in a downhill with flat light and after I got iced [waiting so long],” Shiffrin said, according to SkiRacing.com.

Stuhec won Friday’s race by .22 of a second over Italian Sofia Goggia. Swede Kajsa Kling was third.

A race replay can be seen here. Full results are here.

Lindsey Vonn, owner of a record 18 wins at Lake Louise, is missing the annual World Cup stop in Alberta due to a broken arm from a November crash. Vonn had raced at Lake Louise each of the previous 15 seasons.

Last season, Shiffrin made her World Cup debut in the super-G at Lake Louise and finished 15th.

The women have another downhill Saturday and a super-G on Sunday in Lake Louise, both streaming live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app (schedule here).

MORE: Vonn eyes January return from her most painful injury

High-speed crash at World Cup downhill in Lake Louise (video)

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Swiss Joana Haehlen crashed into netting at high speed during a World Cup downhill at Lake Louise, Alberta, on Friday.

Haehlen, 24, lost her right ski after landing from a jump and sped uncontrollably off course. She braced for impact, slammed into red netting and was turned around before landing with neither of her skis still attached.

She lay on the snow while being attended to and eventually skied down the mountain on her own.

It caused a 10-minute delay before the next skier, American Mikaela Shiffrin, could take her run.

VIDEO: Vonn details the most painful injury of her career