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Osmond soars past field on Day 1 at Skate Canada

Uno delivers superb short program; Virtue, Moir set new world record
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Kaetlyn Osmond set the Brandt Centre ablaze with her squeaky-clean rendition of her Édith Piaf short, which she is skating for the second year in a row. The world silver medalist posted a personal-best score of 76.06, and she will take a seven-point lead into the free skate. -Getty Images

Reigning world silver medalist Kaetlyn Osmond dazzled the home crowd Friday on the opening day of competition at 2017 Skate Canada in Regina, Saskatchewan, with Japan's Shoma Uno earning top honor in the men's short program. In the pairs division, Germany's Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot hold the lead over Canada's Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, while hometown favorites Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir set a new world-record score on their way to taking first place in the short dance.


Performing to "Sous le ciel de Paris" and "Milord," Osmond delivered powerful jumps, including a big triple flip-triple toe combination, a sound triple lutz and a double axel. The 21-year-old also collected Level 4 grading for her spins, all while setting a new personal-best mark of 76.06 points for her short program.

"There are definitely a few things that I want to improve," Osmond said. "But today, I was happy that I was able to do what I do in practice, which is to focus on one element at a time. I felt confident on the ice and it all went very well today."

Russia's Anna Pogorilaya secured the second slot in the segment by displaying a solid rendition of her Flamenco short. The 2014 Skate Canada champion featured a triple lutz-triple toe combination, as well as a triple loop and double axel, but her two spins and footwork were rated Level 3. Despite the minor hiccups, her segment score of 69.05 points was still good enough to place her behind only Osmond entering the free skate.

"I did everything I wanted to do quite calmly and with confidence," Pogorilaya said. "Obviously, I realize it is not enough, but for today I am pleased. After worlds, I worked a lot on myself and I had to overcome many things in my training and inside myself. But nobody says that life is easy. You have get up and move on."

Skating to 'Swan Lake', Pogorilaya's country mate, Maria Sotskova, produced a triple lutz-triple toe combination to go along with a triple flip. Though she'd go on to under-rotate her double axel, the talented Russian still accrued 66.10 points, placing her third in the standings.

"There was an error on the double axel that cost some points, but overall, I am quite pleased," the 17-year-old said. "I showed the emotions in my program to the crowd and that is the most important thing for me right now. You work on the elements in practice, but in competition, you want to show the beauty of skating."

Team USA's Courtney Hicks landed a shaky triple flip-triple loop combination during her routine, but finds herself fourth with 64.06 points, while reigning U.S. champion Karen Chen sits in fifth with 61.77 points.

2015 Skate Canada champion Ashley Wagner under-rotated two of her jumps and currently stands in seventh with 61.57 points.


Uno produced his trademark quadruple flip, a quadruple toe-double toe loop combination and a triple axel during his "Winter" from The Four Seasons short program, engulfing the emotion of the crowd from start to finish. By receiving Level 4 grading for his three spins as well, the 19-year-old vaulted into the lead with 103.62 points.

"I am quite satisfied with how I skated today," Uno said after his performance. "I was able to move well after the six-minute warm up, but at the same time, I was able to control everything and that led to (a good) skate."

Though he missed his flight and lost luggage, nothing could stop six-time Skate Canada champion Patrick Chan from delivering another solid performance in front of the hometown fans. Skating to "Dust in the Wind," the Canadian champion hit a quadruple toe-triple toe combination and a triple lutz, all while picking up a Level 4 for his spins and a Level 3 for his footwork. Though he'd touch down with his hand during his triple axel, the 26-year-old still earned 94.43 points, which was more than enough for second in the segment.

"This week has been a little crazy with trying to get organized and settled," Chan said. "I actually didn't really feel comfortable until the six-minute warm-up today. I'm really happy with the performance, with the situation I've been given, first event of the year. I actually enjoyed it and it was nice to stay on my feet."

Fan favorite Jason Brown's performance to the upbeat song "The Room Where It Happens" from the musical Hamilton included a triple axel, triple lutz, and a triple flip-triple toe combination as well as difficult spins and footwork. The 2015 U.S. champion picked up a new season's-best mark of 90.71 points, which enabled him to head into the free skate in third place.

"It was a lot of fun tonight," Brown said. "My goal was definitely to get out there and to be as clean and precise as possible. A few things weren't as clean as I would have liked them to be, but I'm super excited with the performance and to take this experience for the rest of the season."

Russia's Alexander Samarin (84.02 points) secured fourth place in the segment, with Canadian Keegan Messing (82.17 points) and Belgium's Jorik Hendrickx (82.08 points) finishing fifth and sixth, respectively.


Savchenko and Massot delivered a crisp flamenco routine to "Ameksa-Fuego" by The Taalbi Brothers, one that featured a huge triple twist, a side-by-side triple salchow and a spectacular Level 4 lift. Though they were forced to overcome a stumble by Savchenko on the landing of the throw triple axel, the reigning European silver medalists still managed to achieved a season's-best mark of 77.34.

"It is still the beginning of the season, so there were small mistakes," Massot said. "But, I think it is a good start. We just have to work more. This season we have worked a lot on the throw triple axel and it was very good already."

Skating to U2's "With Or Without You," Duhamel and Radford produced a triple twist and throw triple lutz during their routine, but Duhamel doubled their side-by-side solo lutz jump. Despite the rare mistake, the three-time defending Skate Canada champions are still in position to reach the podium once again after finishing second in the segment with 73.53 points.

"We felt really good out there, we love this short program," Duhamel said. "I'm really disappointed in my stupid mistake, but I will do a beautiful triple lutz tomorrow. Ninety-percent of the focus in our training before this competition has been on our long program, after our disastrous skate at the Autumn Classic. Our main focus for this competition was to deliver a strong long program, so that's what we're going for tomorrow."

The French team of Vanessa James and Morgan Ciprès showcased a sultry blues program to Ed Sheeran's "Make It Rain," landing a triple twist, side-by-side triple salchow and throw triple lutz on their way to earning 73.04 points, which was good for third in the segment.

"It is the first big competition, so we made some little mistakes, but we are happy with it," Ciprès said shortly after leaving the ice. "It is everybody's goal to do a clean program, whether you are five points behind or 0.5. Everybody wants to win."

Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert of Russia placed fourth with 69.00 points, while Canadians Liubov Iliushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch wound up fifth in the segment with 64.06 points.

Team USA's Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier are sixth in the standings with 63.26 points.


Virtue and Moir continued their winning ways by taking the short dance, setting a world record score of 82.68 in ther process. Their teammates, Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, came in second, edging Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue by a little more than a point.

Virtue and Moir put out a precise and exciting performance to a medley of classic rock songs that was highlighted by fast twizzles, a smooth rumba pattern section and a rotational lift. The six-time Skate Canada champions earned a Level 4 for all five of their elements on their way to taking a lead of more than five points over the field.

"We had great summer and fall training, and we were very confident, but to come here and execute is kind of a different story," Moir said. "A great offseason and a great start to the season creates some pressure, so it was nice for us to go out and execute very similar to the way we have been training. There are things we're looking to improve, but for me and Tessa, we are all smiles today."

Weaver and Poje also looked sharp during their dance, collecting a Level 4 for the pattern dance step sequence, rumba pattern, twizzles and curve lift. With a segment score of 77.47, the two-time Skate Canada champions also recorded a personal best for themselves.

"We've undergone so many changes since our first event, and from this summer in general, that we almost were not able to get the short dance as much time as we would have liked," Weaver said. "We had a lot of pressure (on us) to make sure that this program lived up to our belief that it could be a great program, and so we're very happy to skate today with joy and energy, and feel the incredible reception from the crowd."

Hubbell and Donohue, who skated last out of the 10 couples, garnered the same levels as Weaver and Poje, but they lost a point for a time violation. The U.S. bronze medalists scored 76.08 points.

"Zach and I were very happy with our skate today," Hubbell said. "We felt like we were getting more and more comfortable as the music was going and getting more into the program and enjoying skating together. It was a great start to our Grand Prix season."

Olivia Smart and Adrià Díaz of Spain came in fourth with 64.34 points, followed by Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker of the U.S. in fifth (63.10 points).

Debuting on the Grand Prix circuit with a solid short dance, world junior silver medalists Alla Loboda and Pavel Drozd are in sixth with 62.60 points.