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U.S. leads figure skating’s world team trophy after first day

Madison Chock, Evan Bates

TOKYO, JAPAN - APRIL 13: Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the United States compete in the Ice Dance Rhythm Dance during the World Team Trophy at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on April 13, 2023 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Toru Hanai - International Skating Union/International Skating Union via Getty Images)

International Skating Union via

The U.S. leads the world team trophy, a biennial figure skating season-ending event, after the first of three days of competition in Tokyo.

World champions Madison Chock and Evan Bates and world bronze medalist Ilia Malinin won the rhythm dance and men’s short program, respectively, giving the U.S. a large 11-point lead over South Korea.

Japan, a pre-event favorite, saw its singles skaters, traditionally the nation’s strength, all have a jumping error.

South Korea’s Lee Hae-In, the world silver medalist, had the top score in the women’s short. Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto, a two-time reigning world champion, and Mai Mihara, the Grand Prix Final champion, each erred on her combination jump and placed second and fifth, respectively. Americans Isabeau Levito and Amber Glenn were third and sixth in the 12-skater field.

Malinin topped the men’s short that lacked world champion Shoma Uno of Japan, who withdrew earlier this week with an ankle injury. Japan’s Kazuki Tomono (seventh) and Shun Sato (11th) each fell on a quadruple jump attempt in the short.

WORLD TEAM TROPHY: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

Japan could close the gap on Friday with world champions Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara starting the pairs’ event, plus Sakamoto favored in the women’s free skate. The free dance is also on Friday. World team trophy streams live on Peacock.

Competition concludes Saturday with the pairs’ and men’s free skates.

World team trophy, which debuted in 2009 and has always been in Japan, pits the top six figure skating nations in a format similar to the Olympic team event that debuted in 2014. Nations earn points based on their skaters placements in short and long programs.

This year’s event includes, in order of ranking, Japan, the U.S., Canada, South Korea, Italy and France. Each nation has two men’s singles skaters, two women’s singles skaters, one pair and one ice dance couple.

Russia, which won the last world team trophy in 2021, is not entered due to its suspension for the war in Ukraine.

The U.S. took silver at the last edition and before that won in 2019. The U.S., Russia and Japan made up the podium at each of the last four editions dating to 2015.

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