The Grand Prix Series continued last night at NHK Trophy with the pairs, men’s and ladies short programs. While Team USA landed out of the top three, contenders in all three disciplines are within striking distance of the podium.
The event opened with pairs, where Russians Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov continued to dominate their competition with a score of 82.03 points. Settling for nothing less than gold at their last nine individual events, including a record-breaking win at Skate America last month and their first World title in March, Volosozhar and Trankov enter this evening’s free skate with an 11.90-point lead over their competitors, namely the Chinese teams of Wenjing Sui and Cong Han and Cheng Peng and Hao Zhang, who sit in second and third place, respectively.
Reigning World Junior champions Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier sit in fourth with 58.67, while 2013 U.S. champions Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir sit less than a point behind with 58.60.
The men took the ice next, with Japan’s Daisuke Takahashi leading the way. The 2010 Olympic bronze medalist leads the field heading into tomorrow’s free skate with 95.55 points, followed by Spain’s Javier Fernandez with 84.78. Takahashi’s compatriot, Nobunari Oda, rounds out the top three with 82.70.
Less than a point from the podium, 2012 U.S. silver medalist Adam Rippon earned 82.25 points for the segment. His performance opened with the debut of Rippon’s quadruple toe loop, followed by two Level 4 spins, a triple Axel and a triple flip-triple toe combination. Rippon opened his Olympic campaign with a second place finish at Skate America last month. His teammates, three-time U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott and 2013 U.S. champion Max Aaron, sit in seventh and eighth place, respectively. Aaron, who found himself in sixth after the short program at Skate America, came back to earn the bronze medal in his Grand Prix Series debut last month.
Japan delivered another one-two punch when the ladies took the ice, with 2010 Olympic silver medalist Mao Asada and 2012 World bronze medalist Akiko Suzuki earning the top spots. Asada, who topped the field at Skate America last month, earned an impressive 71.26 points for her performance, which featured a triple Axel, worth a program-high 6.64 points. Suzuki, who earned silver at Skate Canada, sits second with 66.03.
In a battle for third place, 14-year-old Elena Radionova of Russia and reigning U.S. silver medalist Gracie Gold both earned 62.83 points for the segment. Gold enters the event on the heels of a bronze medal finish at Skate Canada, while Radionova continues her first Grand Prix season after a bronze medal finish at Skate America. Rounding out Team USA’s placements for the day, 2008 U.S. champion Mirai Nagasu enters the free skate in eighth place with 51.01 points.
Icenetwork’s live coverage of Friday’s action will begin with the short dance at 10:05 p.m. ET, where two-time reigning World champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White will begin their campaign to claim their 14th-straight Grand Prix Series title.
For full event coverage, visit www.icenetwork.com.
Friday’s Schedule (all times ET)
Short Dance – 10:05 p.m. (LIVE)
Shibutani/Shibutani – 10:44 p.m.
Davis/White – 11:04 p.m.
Pairs Free Skate – 11:55 p.m. (LIVE)
Castelli/Shnapir – 12:27 a.m.
Denney/Frazier – 12:43 a.m.
Saturday’s Schedule (all times ET)
Men’s Free Skate – 2:05 a.m. (LIVE)
Aaron – 2:28 a.m.
Abbott – 2:37 a.m.
Rippon – 3:09 a.m.
Ladies Free Skate – 5:10 a.m. (LIVE)
Nagasu – 5:29 a.m.
Gold – 6:08 a.m.
Free Dance – 10:00 p.m. (LIVE)
2013 NHK TROPHY UNIVERSAL SPORTS NETWORK BROADCAST SCHEDULE
(All times Eastern; subject to change; check local listings)
Friday, Nov. 8
Pairs dance – 6 p.m.
Men’s short – 7 p.m.
Ladies short – 9 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 9
Short dance – 10 a.m.
Pairs free – 11 a.m.
Sunday, Nov. 10
Free dance – 10 a.m.