The United States took the lead in the pairs and ice dance on the first day of the Four Continents figure skating championships on Thursday, and Japan’s Mai Mihara led the women’s event.
U.S. skaters Audrey Lu and Misha Mitrofanov placed first in the pairs short program with 68.35 points, three points ahead of Canada’s Evelyn Walsh and Trennt Michaud. Emily Chan and Spencer Akira Howe are third for the U.S., a point further back.
The 35-year-old former world champion singles skater Daisuke Takahashi is on track to win a medal for Japan in ice dance with his partner Kana Muramato.
Mihara is chasing her second career Four Continents title after landing a triple lutz-triple toeloop combination on her way to scoring 72.62 in the women’s short program ahead of a trio of South Korean skaters. Lee Hae-in is second on 69.97, ahead of Kim Ye-lim on 68.93 and You Young on 67.86.
Mihara was the 2017 Four Continents title and missed out on a place on Japan’s squad for the Beijing Olympics next month after placing fourth at nationals.
WATCH | Women’s short program at Four Continents figure skating championships:
Many of the leading skaters from North America and Asia have opted to stay away because of the upcoming Olympics and the coronavirus pandemic. China has not sent a team to the championships and the U.S. and Canada have sent skaters who are not heading to the Olympics.
Canada also had multiple teams finish just outside of the top three in short dance, with Carolane Soucisse and Shane Firus in fourth with a score of 69.15, and Marie-Jade Lauriault and Romain Le Gac just behind with a score of 68.66.
With that, Evelyn Walsh and Trent Michaud have set the standard and are in the lead<br><br>Two more Canadians up next, watch Deanna Stellato-Dudek & Maxime Deschamps: <a href=” <a href=”https://t.co/TposnmP8gX”>pic.twitter.com/TposnmP8gX</a>
The top Canadian in singles was Gabrielle Daleman in ninth with a score of 59.01.
Live coverage of the Four Continents continues Friday at 5:13 a.m. ET with the men’s short program on CBCSports.ca, the free CBC Sports app and CBC Gem.