Starr Andrews rallies for Skate Canada runner-up with career-best performance

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Starr Andrews put up the top free skate of her international career, moving from fifth place to take runner-up at Skate Canada, matching the best full-fledged Grand Prix finish for an American woman in six years.

Andrews, 21, landed six triple jumps in the free skate in Mississauga, Ontario, to finish 6.33 points behind winner Rinka Watanabe of Japan.

It’s Andrews’ best result in seven career senior Grand Prix starts, displacing a fifth place from 2019. It’s one of, if not the best Grand Prix result for a Black singles skater. France’s Surya Bonaly won several events that became Grand Prixs before the Grand Prix Series began in 1995, then placed third in two Grand Prix Series events late in her career.

“It is a huge deal for me,” Andrews said, according to the International Skating Union. “I am one of the few people of color in the sport, and to bring home a medal is even more special.”

Andrews made a splash at 9 years old when a video of her skating to “Whip My Hair” went viral. She had another moment at the 2018 U.S. Championships, earning a standing ovation to her free skate to her own cover of “One Moment in Time” and finishing sixth overall.

SKATE CANADA: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Andrews made it back-to-back Grand Prix runner-up finishes for U.S. women after Isabeau Levito‘s senior Grand Prix debut at Skate America last week. Andrews’ total ranks her third among U.S. women on the early season behind Levito and Amber Glenn, who was third at Skate America.

The U.S. is in the midst of its longest women’s victory drought in a full-fledged Grand Prix — figure skating’s top international circuit — not counting Mariah Bell‘s win at a 2020 Skate America that was largely a domestic field due to COVID-19. Ashley Wagner claimed the last international Grand Prix title for an American woman in 2016.

Andrews will likely qualify for December’s six-skater Grand Prix Final with a podium finish in her later Grand Prix in Japan in three weeks.

The U.S. has three women’s spots for March’s world championships, to be doled out after January’s national championships. None of the three Olympians from last season are competing, with Alysa Liu and Bell both retired.

Watanabe landed a triple Axel in her free skate, improving from sixth place after the short and totaling 197.59 points. Watanabe, a 20-year-old who was sixth at last season’s Japan Nationals, won her senior Grand Prix debut.

Later Saturday, world champion Shoma Uno improved from second after the short program to win the men’s event. He had five quadruple jumps — one under-rotated and three others with negative grades of execution — en route to 273.15 total points. Uno beat fellow Japanese skater Kao Miura by 7.86. Miura dropped from first after the short to second overall for a second consecutive week.

American Ilia Malinin, who won Skate America over Miura last week, has the world’s best total score this season of 280.37. Malinin and Uno could face off for the first time this season at December’s Grand Prix Final, which takes the top six per discipline over the six-event Grand Prix Series.

World silver medalists Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara earned the biggest title for a Japanese pairs’ team in history, distancing Americans Emily Chan and Spencer Howe by 25.54 points. Miura and Kihara’s total score — 212.02 — ranks them first in the world this season, 10.63 points ahead of world champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier of the U.S.

Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier, the 2021 World bronze medalists, earned their third consecutive Skate Canada ice dance title. Their total score — 215.70 — ranks them first in the world this season. It’s 12.9 points better than 2022 World bronze medalists Madison Chock and Evan Bates‘ total to win Skate America last week.

The figure skating season continues with Grand Prix France next week, featuring world silver medalist Loena Hendrickx of Belgium, live on Peacock.

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2022 Grand Prix Final figure skating TV, live stream schedule

Ilia Malinin
Getty
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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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