Japan Open

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Alexandra Trusova lands 4 quadruple jumps in free skate at age 15

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Russian 15-year-old Alexandra Trusova raised the bar again in women’s figure skating, landing four quadruple jumps in an exhibition competition in Japan on Saturday.

Trusova won the free skate-only Japan Open with a quad Salchow, a quad Lutz and two quadruple toe loops, though some of the landings weren’t crisp. She was given positive grades of execution on three of the four jumping passes (two were in combination).

Trusova earned 160.53 points to beat a field including Olympic and world champion Alina Zagitova. Video of Trusova’s skate is here.

Her performance caused Nathan Chen, who won the men’s event with four quads, to post Instagram videos of her replays with the caption, “mind BLOWN.”

Trusova is in her first year as a senior international skater. In her debut last month, she posted the world’s leading free skate and total scores by more than 10 points each.

Trusova, the reigning world junior champion, makes her Grand Prix debut later this month at Skate Canada against a field including Olympic silver medalist Yevgenia Medvedeva and 2018 Grand Prix Final champion Rika Kihira.

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Nathan Chen struggles in season debut

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Nathan Chen fell three times Saturday in his first figure skating event since winning the world title by a record margin in March.

Chen, who rebounded from placing fifth in PyeongChang to become the youngest male world champ in 17 years, opened what will be a unique season with a fourth-place finish in the six-skater Japan Open, a free skate-only event that includes some non-competitive skaters.

Olympic silver medalist Shoma Uno of Japan won with 186.69 points, falling once and landing two quads.

Nobunari Oda, a 2010 Japanese Olympian who last skated on the elite level in 2013, and Spain’s Javier Fernandez, the PyeongChang bronze medalist in what could be his last competitive season, were second and third with 176.95 and 157.86, respectively.

Chen tallied 144.96 points, falling on three quadruple jump attempts (video here). It’s Chen’s first competition program with three falls in his senior career.

He competed for the first time under a new arrangement, as a Yale freshman training 3,000 miles from his California-based coach, Rafael Arutyunyan.

Chen’s first Grand Prix season event is Skate America in two weeks in Everett, Wash.

Russian Olympic champion Alina Zagitova won the women’s event with 159.18 points, 18.9 clear of Japanese Olympian Kaori Sakomoto. U.S. champion Bradie Tennell was fourth.

As a reminder, you can watch the ISU Grand Prix Series live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold….go to NBCsportsgold.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season…NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

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Japan Open sees return of one star, rise of another to ignite figure skating season

Shoma Uno
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Mao Asada reportedly noticed Shoma Uno at a public rink in Nagoya, Japan, when Uno was 5 years old and Asada was 12 or 13.

Some 12 years later, they shared victory over most of the world’s best skaters at the Japan Open on Saturday.

Asada, the 2010 Olympic silver medalist competing for the first time since winning her third World title in March 2014, topped the free skate-only, team event over countrywoman and 2015 World silver medalist Satoko Miyahara.

“Although it was the best first competition [of a season] I’ve ever had, I didn’t achieve my goal,” Asada said, according to icenetwork.com. “I was aiming to at least recover to the level I was at during 2014 Worlds. I think I can do much, much better, so I think I can only give myself 55 [out of 100].”

The 2015 World champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva of Russia was third, followed by Adelina Sotnikova in her first international event since winning surprise Sochi Olympic gold.

U.S. champion Ashley Wagner and Gracie Gold, who was fourth at the Olympics and the 2015 Worlds, were fifth and sixth at the Japan Open.

Asada, 25, opened her skate by landing her signature triple Axel. Tuktamysheva, who won eight international competitions last season and talked about adding a quadruple jump, fell on her opening triple Axel on Saturday. Wagner and Gold also fell.

Miyahara, Gold and 2014 Olympic team event star Yulia Lipnitskaya headline Skate America in Milwaukee in two weeks, the start of the Grand Prix season. NBC Sports will have coverage all season.

Japan Open Results
1. Mao Asada (JPN) — 141.70
2. Satoko Miyahara (JPN) — 134.67
3. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS) — 128.34
4. Adelina Sotnikova (RUS) — 118.81
5. Ashley Wagner (USA) — 117.84
6. Gracie Gold (USA) — 114.53

Performance Videos: Asada | Miyahara | Tuktamysheva | Sotnikova | Wagner | Gold

Perhaps more noteworthy was Uno, who landed two quadruple jumps en route to topping the men’s standings over 2015 World champion Javier Fernandez and three-time World champion Patrick Chan.

Yuzuru Hanyu, the 2014 Olympic and World champion, was not in the field.

Uno, 17, finished second to Hanyu at last season’s Japanese Championships, was not entered at the senior World Championships but did win the World Junior title. He’s entered in Skate America, where he’ll face Olympic bronze medalist Denis Ten and U.S. champion Jason Brown.

“I didn’t expect that I could get such a high score at all,” Uno said, according to icenetwork.com. “But, I would only rate my performance 80 out of 100, because I think I can do better in other elements besides jumps. … I don’t want to be satisfied with this result, but I want to aim higher.”

Uno’s performance marked an improvement from his season opener at the U.S. Classic in Salt Lake City two weeks prior. Uno was ninth in that short program but scored highest in the free skate to finish fifth overall against a weaker field.

On Saturday, Chan, who took the 2014-15 season off from competition, put his hands on the ice twice to keep from falling on jump landings. Fernandez fell on a quadruple Salchow attempt.

They both outscored four-time U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott, who is taking this season off from competition.

Japan Open Results
1. Shoma Uno (JPN) — 185.48
2. Javier Fernandez (ESP) — 176.24
3. Patrick Chan (CAN) — 159.14
4. Jeremy Abbott (USA) — 153.72
5. Daisuke Murakami (JPN) — 145.77
6. Brian Joubert (FRA) — 105.51

Performance Videos: Uno | Fernandez | Chan | Abbott

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