Road To The Olympic Games

Nathan Chen leads Yuzuru Hanyu after men's short program in Russia

American figure skater Nathan Chen leads favourite Yuzuru Hanyu by six points after the men's short program at the first Grand Prix of Figure Skating event of the season.

Canada's Nam Nguyen 7th; Shibutani siblings lead ice dance

American figure skater Nathan Chen leads after the men's short program at the Rostelecom Cup in Moscow. (CBC Sports)

Nathan Chen of the United States landed two quads to take a strong lead after the men's short program of the Rostelecom Cup, the first of the six-leg figure skating Grand Prix.

The American champion outpointed Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan by nearly six points on Friday, with 100.54.

Chen landed two quads and leads Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu by nearly six points following the short program at the ISU 2017 Rostelecom Cup Grand Prix in Moscow 6:25

Dmitri Aliev of Russia, in his first season on the senior circuit, was in third place, another six points behind. Canada's Nam Nguyen sits in seventh with 80.74.

"I didn't have a very good warm-up so I'm happy with how I recovered from that," said Nguyen, 19, ranked third in Canada. "Obviously the performance could have been better but I'm excited about my free skate which has been going well in practice."

Chen followed his opening quad lutz with a triple toe loop that he landed awkwardly, but landed a quad flip confidently and late enough in the program to earn a bonus.

"I'm very happy with today," Chen said. "The ice was great."

He also said he liked the event's newly instituted sale of tickets to practice sessions, saying he thought having an audience added energy.

Hanyu stepped out of his opening quad loop and fell on his quad-triple toeloop combination.

"Tomorrow I wish to show a better result. For me this is the second Olympic season and I plan to work as much as before," Hanyu said.

Shibutani siblings edge Russians in ice dance

American siblings Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani lead Russia's Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev by less than a point after the ice dance short program.

The Russian leads Italy's Carolina Kostar by over six points after the short skate at the ISU 2017 Rostelecom Cup Grand Prix in Moscow 6:49

Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin, another Russian duo, round out the top three. Canada's Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier sit in fourth.

"This first half of the season we want to improve our performance levels,'' said Poirier. "And I feel that is getting better despite some glitches today."

"We definitely got some fire in our belly for the free skate," added Gilles. "Lots can change."

Strong showing on home ice

Russia's strong performance carried over to the pairs. Russia's Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov led after a short program highlighted by a high triple twist lift and her light landing of a triple loop throw. Compatriots Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov, the 2014 Olympic silver winners, were five points behind after she fell on the side-by-side triple toeloop.

Italy's Valentina Marchei and Ondrej Hotarek were in third while Canada's Julianne Seguin and Charlie Bilodeau sit in fifth place.

The Americans lead Russia's Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev by less than a point after the ice dance short program at the ISU 2017 Rostelecom Cup Grand Prix in Moscow 6:25

Two-time Russian world champion Evgenia Medvedeva holds top spot in the women's competition after the short skate, followed by Italy's Carolina Kostner and Japan's Wakaba Higuchi.

Russia occupies first, second and fourth place following the pairs short program at the ISU 2017 Rostelecom Cup Grand Prix in Moscow 6:30

CBC Sports will broadcast all the action from Moscow, continuing on Saturday at 6:30 a.m. ET.

With files from CBC Sports

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