Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov lead the pairs short program at Skate America

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LAS VEGAS – Two Russian pairs teams led the way on Friday night at Skate America.

Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov got the best score in the pairs short program with 80.36 points, followed by compatriots Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitriy Kozlovskiy with 75.43. Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara of Japan were third at 72.63.

“The most important goal of the season is the Olympics,” said Kozlovskiy. “Step by step, we must move forward. This is our first step on our path.”

The top three teams kicked off the first Grand Prix of the Olympic figure skating season with clean skates except for the final element for the two Russian pairs. Tarasova set foot on a triple throw loop while Boikova and Kozlovskiy’s “Swan Lake” performance had a shaky triple flip throw.

With reigning world champions Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov unassigned to Skate America, the Russians are quickly proving they are favorites to have at least one team on the Olympic podium in Beijing in 3 and a half months.

The US teams placed fourth, fifth and seventh on day one of competition. Olympians Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier, who teamed up last year, were four points off the podium. They won Skate America in 2020 when it was a mostly national competition due to the pandemic.



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