Malinin trails Japan’s Miura after short program at Skate America

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Kao Miura took advantage of the withdrawal of Japanese countryman Yuma Kagiyama, along with an uncharacteristic fall by American rival Ilia Malinin, to take the lead after the short program at Skate America on Friday night.

The 17-year-old Miura landed a big opening quad salchow-triple toe loop along with a triple axel and a quad toe loop to score a personal-best 94.96 points at the Tenley E. Albright Performance Center near Boston. That gave Miura a slim lead over South Korea’s Cha Junhwan, who moonwalked through a Michael Jackson mashup to a score of 94.44 points.

“I kind of am telling myself, `Why am I sitting here?’ Miura said afterward. “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.”

Daniel Grassl of Italy was third with 88.43 points while Malinin, the 17-year-old who made history by landing the first quad axel in competition, was fourth after a fall on his quad toe loop left him with 86.06 points.

“I think at the very beginning I felt very confident going into it. I was very in the moment,” said Malinin, the junior world champion, who was making his senior Grand Prix debut. “After that little fall, it threw me off a little bit. I had to brush it off and just continue with the rest of the program.”

In the pairs competition, the American duo of Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier scored 75.19 points in their short program to take the lead over Canada’s Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps, who had 73.05 points.

Malinin became the favorite at Skate America when Kagiyama, the Olympic silver medalist, withdrew from the opening Grand Prix event because of an injury. But it was Miura, the 17-year-old Japanese junior champion, who took the lead going into the free skate thanks to a technical score that was more than five points higher than anyone else.

It was a full eight points more than Malinin, who just might need to land his quad axel Saturday night to have a chance.

“It really depends how I feel personally,” Malinin said of attempting the 4 1/2-rotation jump.

Knierim and Frazier, who helped the U.S. win team silver at the Beijing Olympics, were heavy favorites at Skate America after taking advantage of the absence of the powerful Russian teams to win their first world title earlier this year.

Performing to “Separate Ways” by the American rock band Journey, Knierim and Frazier dazzled a sellout crowd with their opening triple twist. Frazier two-footed the landing on their side-by-side triple toe loop, but the 2021 champions from Skate America came back with a beautiful throw triple flip to earn a solid component score.

“I never started my season off at a Grand Prix before,” Frazier said. “There was a lot of positivity out there tonight. It was a little bit of a fight tonight, but it was our starting base.”

Knierim and Frazier were expected to show out on the Grand Prix stage, though. The surprise came from Stellato-Dudek and Deschamps, whose performance to “Oblivion” by Astor Piazzolla put them solidly in second place.

The winners of the lower-level Nebelhorn Trophy earlier this year were solid from their opening triple twist, through their side-by-side triple toe and into their throw triple loop to keep within range of the gold medal.

Letizia Roscher and Luis Schuster of Germany were well behind in third with 54.87 points.

“We are very pleased with our performance, happy to be here,” said Stellato-Dudek, who calls Chicago home and previously skated for the U.S. “It’s kind of a homecoming for me. It’s like my wedding. It’s like I know everybody.”

SKATE AMERICA: Broadcast Schedule

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2022 Grand Prix Final figure skating TV, live stream schedule

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The Grand Prix Final, the most exclusive figure skating competition of the season and a preview of March’s world championships, airs live on Peacock and E! this week.

The top six per discipline from the six-event fall Grand Prix Series gather in Turin, Italy, at the Palavela, the 2006 Olympic venue. It’s the first Grand Prix Final in three years after the 2020 and 2021 events were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. qualified skaters in all four disciplines for the first time since 2007, led by the world’s top-ranked man. Ilia Malinin, who turned 18 last Friday, has been the story of the season, becoming the first skater to land a quadruple Axel in competition.

Malinin, the reigning world junior champion, won both of his Grand Prix starts and posted the best total score among all fall events, edging world champion Shoma Uno of Japan. Malinin and Uno will go head-to-head for the first time this season at the Final.

Isabeau Levito, a 15-year-old world junior champion, is the youngest American at a Final since Caroline Zhang in 2007. She qualified in fifth place. The favorites are Japan’s Mai Mihara and Kaori Sakamoto and Belgian Loena Hendrickx.

The U.S. also qualified two pairs’ teams — world champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier and Emily Chan and Spencer Howe — and two ice dance couples — three-time world medalists Madison Chock and Evan Bates and Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker.

For the first time, the Final has no Russian skaters. They are banned from international competition due to the war in Ukraine. For the first time in 25 years, there are no Chinese skaters. China’s top pairs’ teams did not compete in the fall Grand Prix Series.

Grand Prix Final Broadcast Schedule
All TV coverage also streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers.

Day Event Time (ET) Platform
Thursday Pairs’ Short Program 1:20-2:15 p.m. Peacock
Men’s Short Program 2:35-3:20 p.m. Peacock
Friday Pairs’ Free Skate 11:35 a.m.-12:40 p.m. Peacock
Rhythm Dance 1:50-2:45 p.m. Peacock
Women’s Short Program 3:05-3:50 p.m. Peacock
Saturday Men’s Short Program* 6:30-7:30 a.m. E!
Men’s Free Skate 7:30-8:30 a.m. E!, Peacock
Women’s Short Program* 8:30-9:30 a.m. E!
Free Dance 1:40-2:40 p.m. Peacock
Women’s Free Skate 3-3:55 p.m. Peacock
Sunday Highlights* 4-6 p.m. NBC

*Delayed broadcast.

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Aleksander Aamodt Kilde sweeps Beaver Creek World Cup races

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Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde held off Swiss Marco Odermatt for a second consecutive day to sweep World Cup races in Beaver Creek, Colorado, this weekend.

Kilde won Sunday’s super-G by two tenths of a second over Odermatt, one day after edging Odermatt by six hundredths. France’s Alexis Pinturault took third as the podium was made up of the last three men to win the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing.

This season’s overall figures to be a two-man battle between Kilde, the 2019-20 champion, and Odermatt, the reigning champion, and could come down to March’s World Cup Finals. They’ve combined to win the first five of 38 scheduled races.

The top American Sunday was River Radamus, who finished an impressive 16th given his start number was 57. Radamus’ best event is the giant slalom.

Ryan Cochran-Siegle, the Olympic super-G silver medalist, and Travis Ganong, who was third in Beaver Creek last year, both skied out.

The men’s World Cup heads next weekend to Val d’Isere, France, for a giant slalom and slalom.

ALPINE SKIING: Results | Broadcast Schedule

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