Gracie Gold leads US to 1st place at World Team Trophy

Author: Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) – Gracie Gold won the women’s short program at the World Team Trophy on Thursday to give the United States a five-point lead over Japan and Russia on the first day of competition.

Gold landed a triple lutz-triple toe, triple loop and double axel to post a season’s best score of 71.26 points. World champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva of Russia fell on the landing of a triple axel and finished second with 70.93 points, while Elena Radionova of Russia was third with 68.77 points.

“Today was a really great day for Team USA,” team captain Evan Bates said. “It was a group effort. I thought everyone skated really well and we’re really happy. But at the same time we know that the competition is far from over.”

Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan topped the men’s short program with 96.27 points to place comfortably ahead of Han Yan of China, who had 87.13 points. American champion Jason Brown was third with 86.48 points.

Hanyu, who won the silver medal at the world championships last month in Shanghai, opened with a flawless quad jump. He was deducted points for falling on the landing of a combination triple lutz-triple toeloop.

The event, which runs through Sunday, features the six best national teams among International Skating Union member nations. Each team is composed of eight skaters.

In ice dance, world bronze medalists Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Canada won the short program with 73.14 points. Bates and partner Madison Chock, who took the silver medal at the world championships, were second with 72.17 points, followed by world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France with 70.86.

The team event consists of two phases of competition, the short program and the free skate.

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