Karen Chen leads the U.S. contingent after the first day of competition at NHK Trophy in Sapporo, Japan. The 2018 Olympian sits in third place after the short program.
Chen had a clean program and received positive Grades of Execution for all seven elements. Her season’s best routine included two triple jumps and three Level 4 spins. With 67.21 points, the 2017 U.S. champion is in third place heading into the free skate.
Also in the ladies competition, Starr Andrews placed ninth in the short program with 58.92 points while Megan Wessenberg finished 12th with 44.78 points.
Russia’s Alena Kostornaia is in first place with 85.04 points, while reigning Grand Prix Final champion Rika Kihira of Japan sits in second with 79.89 points.
In the pairs competition, Alexa Knierim and Chris Knierim lead Team USA with 63.63 points. Their program opened with a strong triple twist and included a clean throw triple flip and Level 4 Axel lift. They are currently in fifth place.
Tarah Kayne and Danny O’Shea finished seventh in the short program with 58.70 points. Their program closed with a strong Level 4 reverse lasso lift.
Reigning World champions Wenjing Sui and Cong Han of China are in first place (81.27), Canada’s Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro are in second (71.21), and Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov of Russia sit in third place (69.00).
Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko lead the U.S. ice dancers after day one in Sapporo. The Novi-based team is in fifth place after the rhythm dance with 75.25 points. The tandem completed Level 4 twizzles and closed with a Level 4 rotational lift. They also received GOE over 2.00 for two elements.
In eighth place, Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter scored 68.80 points for their rhythm dance to music by Liza Minelli. Recently back from injury, the team closed their program with Level 4 twizzles and a Level 4 curve lift.
Reigning World champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France are in first with 90.03 points, Russian’s Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin sit in second with 84.07 points, and Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri of Italy are in third with 82.13.
In the men’s competition, Jason Brown and Tomoki Hiwatashi are in eighth and 12th place, respectively. Brown received Level 4 marks for his four non-jumping elements to score 73.73 points for his short program. Hiwatashi notched 64.54 points.
Two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan leads the men’s competition with 109.34 points, France’s Kevin Aymoz sits in second with 91.47 points and Sergei Voronov of Russia is in third with 88.63 points.
Competition continues with the free skates and free dance in Japan, opening with the free dance at 10:15 p.m. ET tonight. Competition is available live and on-demand on NBC Sports Gold’s Figure Skating Pass.
Wins also for Surrey Storm, Saracens Mavericks and team bath
photo Dan Vernon
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