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Pairs’ world champions out of Grand Prix figure skating series

Riku Miura, Ryuichi Kihara

TURIN, ITALY - DECEMBER 08: Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara of Japan compete in the Pairs Short Program during the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final (Senior & Junior) at Palavela on December 08, 2022 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Claudia Greco/Getty Images)

International Skating Union via Getty Images

World pairs’ champions Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara withdrew from the Grand Prix figure skating series due to injury, becoming the latest standout team to miss the fall competition.

Kihara’s back injury, which forced them to miss Skate America two weeks ago, also forced the team to withdraw from their other Grand Prix event, next month’s NHK Trophy, according to the Japan Skating Federation.

Miura and Kihara are not expected to compete before the Japanese Championships in late December.

None of the top 13 pairs from the 2022 Olympics are competing in this fall’s Grand Prix Series, which has its third of six events this week in France (broadcast schedule here).

The top six pairs over the course of the six events qualify for December’s Grand Prix Final, which is often a preview of March’s world championships.

Last year, Miura and Kihara won the Final and worlds, becoming the first Japanese pair to win each event.

Americans Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier, who took silver at both events, said throughout last season that it would likely be their last. They did not enter the Grand Prix Series, though they have not publicly announced a retirement.

The top pairs from last season competing on the Grand Prix Series are Italians Sara Conti and Niccolò Macii, the world bronze medalists, and Canadians Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps, who were fourth at worlds.