Spain’s Javier Fernandez topped the Skate Canada short program despite doubling a planned triple Axel in Kelowna, British Columbia, on Friday.
The top American was a surprise. Stephen Carriere, who was 10th at the U.S. Championships in January, was fourth behind Fernandez on Friday. Carriere beat 2013 U.S. champion Max Aaron and two-time World Championships team member Adam Rippon.
Fernandez, the two-time reigning World bronze medalist, is the most accomplished man in recent season in the Skate Canada field. He scored 86.36 points with a quad Salchow, triple Lutz-triple toe combination and the double Axel.
Japan’s Takahito Mura (82.57) and Russia’s Konstantin Menshov (81.70) were in second and third.
The men’s free skate is Saturday at 2 p.m. ET.
In Sochi, Fernandez missed winning Spain’s third-ever Winter Olympic medal by 1.18 points, falling behind Kazakh Denis Ten in the free skate after placing third in the short program.
Fernandez’s score Friday night was 7.03 points fewer than Japan’s Tatsuki Machida last week at Skate America, the first Grand Prix event of the season. Olympic and World champion Yuzuru Hanyu, also from Japan, hasn’t skated yet this season.
NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra will air Skate Canada coverage Sunday from 1-2:30 p.m. ET.
Skate Canada men’s short program
1. Javier Fernandez (ESP) 86.36
2. Takahito Mura (JPN) 82.57
3. Konstantin Menshov (RUS) 81.70
4. Stephen Carriere (USA) 80.33
5. Max Aaron (USA) 76.50
11. Adam Rippon (USA) 62.83