Figure skating: Miura and Kihara win first Japanese GP pair medal


LAS VEGAS, Nevada (Kyodo) – Riku Miura and partner Ryuichi Kihara became the first pairs skaters from Japan to step onto the podium in the Grand Prix of figure skating by winning silver at Skate America on Saturday, while his compatriot Shoma Uno also won silver in the men’s.

Miura and Kihara were third after Friday’s short program at the Orleans Arena, and third in their free skate. Russians Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov won both to finish with 222.50 points.

Miura and Kihara totaled 208.20 to overtake Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii in the free skate. The world bronze medalists of Russians finished second in the short program, but fell to fourth in the free program.

“It was quite difficult, but I’m glad we never gave up,” said Kihara after competing in the first medal event on the Grand Prix circuit. “We still have a lot to do, but I want to do my best as we prepare for our next event.”

Miura said they gave it their all.

“Even taking into account our mistakes, I think we did the best we could,” she said. “The best thing was my ability to do two jumps together. Our skating has improved by leaps and bounds.

Later that day, four-time Grand Prix Final medalist Uno finished second in the short program and third in the free skate, but edged out three-time reigning world champion Nathan Chen of the United States for second place.

American Vincent Zhou led both programs to finish first at 295.56, Uno for 270.68 and Chen 269.37.

Alexandra Trusova of Russia posted 77.69 points to win the women’s short program, while Kaori Sakamoto of Japan was fourth. Two other Russians making their senior Grand Prix debuts, Daria Usacheva and Kseniia Sinitsyna, joined Trusova ahead of Sakamoto.

Sakamoto under-rotated on his triple flip-triple toeloop combination but held on with 71.16 points.

“That (triple) flip that turned into a double was a costly mistake. I was prepared for a score under 70 so 71 gives me hope. I will stay positive and do my best,” Sakamoto said as she considered Sunday’s free. skate.

Skate America is the first of six events in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series. Skaters earn points throughout the series to advance to the Grand Prix final to be held in Osaka in December.


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