Keegan Messing

Yuzuru Hanyu leads Rostelecom Cup with world’s top short program

Leave a comment

Yuzuru Hanyu left his fans in tears again with the highest-scoring short program in the world this season, taking a whopping lead at Rostelecom Cup in Moscow on Friday.

The double Olympic champion landed a quadruple Salchow, triple Axel and a quad toe loop-triple toe combination en route to 110.53 points. Hanyu previously had the world’s top short score of 106.69 from his Grand Prix season debut two weeks ago.

He leads Georgian Morisi Kvitelashvili by 20.59 going into Saturday’s free skate.

“I’m relieved,” Hanyu said, according to Kyodo News. “I’m still in my preparation mode in the sense that there were a number of issues I’ve been trying to iron out, and so I had some real anxieties coming in. So in that sense, being able to accomplish this is a relief.”

ROSTELECOM CUP: Results | TV/Stream Schedule

The pre-event favorites to join Hanyu on the podium were Canadian Keegan Messing and Russian Mikhail Kolyada, but both erred on all three of their jumping passes and sit seventh and eighth, respectively.

Hanyu’s real rivals are American Nathan Chen and Japanese Shoma Uno, whom he last faced at the Olympics. They are expected to meet in competition for the first time this season at December’s Grand Prix Final.

Rostelecom Cup continues later Friday with the rhythm dance and pairs’ and women’s short programs, streaming live on NBC Sports Gold.

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 HERE 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.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Gracie Gold wants to be new skater in comeback

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva leads Skate Canada; Yevgenia Medvedeva struggles

Leave a comment

Yevgenia Medvedeva reacted by pointing two gloved fingers, in the shape of a gun, at her forehead and blowing. Seconds later came her Skate Canada short program score.

“Ugh,” new coach Brian Orser said. Medvedeva, sitting to his right in the kiss and cry, shook her head, exhaled and put her chin down.

The Olympic silver medalist and two-time world champion is in seventh place going into Saturday’s free skate at her first top-level competition since starting a new skating life in Toronto following disappointment in PyeongChang.

It’s Medvedeva’s first time outside the top three in any program in four seasons as a senior skater.

Her knee just about grazed the ice on a downgraded triple flip, and she put a hand down. She also did not have a jumping combination.

So Medvedeva scored 60.83 points, trailing leader and countrywoman Elizaveta Tuktamysheva by 13.39 in Laval, Quebec.

SKATE CANADA: TV/Stream Schedule | Results

Tuktamysheva, the 2015 World champion who missed Russia’s Olympic team, landed a triple Axel with a positive grade of execution for the first time since December 2015. Tuktamysheva was the Russian superstar before Medvedeva turned senior and won every major competition in the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

Alina Zagitova passed both of them last year, Olympic champion in her first season as a senior.

Now Tuktamysheva is on the rise. Medvedeva is facing a fourth straight defeat since she returned from a broken bone in her foot in January, following the longest stretch of dominance by a female skater since Katarina Witt in the 1980s.

She wasn’t the only favorite to struggle Friday.

Fellow Olympic silver medalist Shoma Uno fell into the boards on a triple Axel and trails Canadian Keegan Messing by 6.18 points going into the free. Messing, who was 12th in PyeongChang, opened his clean short with a quadruple toe loop-triple toe loop combination.

“Disappointment and regret, those are the emotions about my performance,” Uno said, according to the International Skating Union. “It is not about me taking a high risk, I just can’t do triples.”

American Jason Brown, who missed PyeongChang after placing ninth in Sochi, is 11th of 12 skaters. Brown fell on an under-rotated triple Axel at his first Grand Prix since joining Orser’s training group in Toronto.

In ice dance, U.S. champions and world silver medalists Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue became the first couple to crack 80 points in a rhythm dance this season. Hubbell and Donohue are set to clinch a spot in December’s Grand Prix Final after winning Skate America last week.

In pairs, world bronze medalists Vanessa James and Morgan Ciprès of France posted the world’s best short program score this season — 74.51. They lead Chinese Peng Cheng and Jin Yang by 2.51 points.

The 2017 U.S. champions Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier are in eighth and last place after she fell on their side-by-side triple Salchows and throw triple loop.

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 HERE 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.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: New-look Jason Brown returns after missing Olympic team

Olympic figure skater lands quadruple Axel in harness

Getty Images
Leave a comment

A quadruple Axel has never been landed in competition, but Canadian Olympian Keegan Messing looked pretty strong completing one with the aid of a harness.

Messing, a 26-year-old Alaskan who finished 12th in PyeongChang, landed the jump while connected to a harness attached to a pole held by a man in a video posted on his Instagram on Wednesday night.

“My coach and I are going around the idea of starting the quad Axel,” Messing said at the world championships in March, according to Inside Skating. “It’s a dream I’ve had for a very, very long time – as soon as I found out that no one did it, I wanted to be the first.”

Other skaters have attempted quad Axels in a harness, including 2013 U.S. champion Max Aaron (video here) and French Olympian Chafik Besseghier (video here). Russian Artur Dmitriev Jr. tried one without a harness (video here).

Yuzuru Hanyu, the 2014 and 2018 gold medalist, has said he wants to master the quad Axel.

“No one in competition has achieved successful quadruple Axel jumps and there are very few people actually practicing even during training,” Hanyu said in PyeongChang, according to The Associated Press. “I want to continue my challenge towards achieving my dream of successfully performing the quad Axel, even if I may not be the first person to do so.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Adam Rippon opines on figure skating future