The first day of competition at the 2019 ISU World Figure Skating Championships got underway Wednesday at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan with the ladies and pairs short programs.
In the ladies competition, Mariah Bell and Bradie Tennell sit sixth and tenth, respectively.
Bell scored a personal best 71.26 points and is in sixth place headed into Friday’s free skate. Her program was highlighted by a triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination, and three Level 4 spins.
“Everything I have done this season has prepared me for this moment,” Bell said. “I thought ‘I’ve done this so many times, it’s just one more time.’ I knew I could do it so I’m happy I got through it.”
Tennell scored 69.50 points and is in tenth place. After a mistake on the opening combination, the Illinois native skated a solid program, earning three Level 4 spins and landing both her double Axel and triple flip.
Both ladies are competing at their second consecutive World Championships.
Haeding into the free skate, Russia's Alina Zagitova is first, followed by Kaori Sakamoto of Japan and Elizabet Tursynbaeva of Kazakhstan.
In the pairs competition, Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc scored 66.93 points in their short program and are in ninth place headed into Thursday’s free skate. Cain fell on the team’s opening side-by-side triple loop, but otherwise the program was solid.
“We’ve trained really consistently coming into this competition and this was just a fluke mistake where I was too far forward,” Cain said. “I was happy with how I recovered, but as an athlete I was upset with myself and want to do better tomorrow.
A top ten finish by Cain and LeDuc would secure two pairs spots for the United States at next year’s World Championships.
Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov of Russia lead, followed by the Chinese tandems of Wenjing Sui and Cong Han, and Cheng Peng and Yang Jin.
On Thursday, the pairs competition will conclude and the men will take the ice for the short program.
NBC will broadcast coverage of the ladies and men’s free skate from 8-10 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 23, followed by a recap show from 3-6 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 14. There will be an additional 12 hours of competition coverage on NBCSN. Additionally, the Figure Skating Pass on NBC Sports Gold will stream live coverage of the World Championships to subscribers. A full television is available here.