Road To The Olympic Games

Recap

An American leads at the Grand Prix of France - but it's not Nathan Chen

Without attempting a quad jump, Jason Brown built a solid lead at the French round of the Grand Prix figure skating series on Friday. The American skater scored 96.41 points, rewarded for his crisp technique and flowing ease in landing four triple jumps at the Internationaux de France.

Jason Brown leads over his reigning world champion teammate; Canadian ice dance pair sit 3rd

Jason Brown competes in the men's short program in Grenoble, French Alps, during the French round of the Grand Prix figure skating series on Friday. (Francois Mori/The Associated Press)
Without attempting a quad jump, Jason Brown built a solid lead at the French round of the Grand Prix figure skating series on Friday.

The American skater was rewarded for his crisp technique and flowing ease in landing four triple jumps at the Internationaux de France.

Watch Jason Brown's short program:

Brown leads the men's short program at the ISU Grand Prix of France after delivering a season best score of 96.41 points. 6:51

His rivals, meanwhile, were penalized for failing to cleanly execute more difficult quads.

Alexander Samarin of Russia goes into the free skate on Saturday trailing Brown, who scored 96.41, by nearly six points. Samarin fluffed the landing of his opening quad lutz but quickly recovered and scored 90.86.

World champion Nathan Chen fell on his second jump, a quad flip, and was third with 86.94.

Close race after women's short

In the women's short program, less than half a point separated the top three, led by Mai Mihara. The 19-year-old from Japan scored 67.95, a whisker ahead of 16-year-old compatriot Rika Kihira.

Kihira, ethereal in a light-blue dress, scored 67.64 but would have done better had she not chronically under-rotated what was meant to be a triple axel at the start of her skate to Claude Debussy's "Clair de Lune."

Evgenia Medvedeva, the Olympic silver medallist from Russia, was clearly unhappy with her ho-hum routine that lacked spark and crisp execution, placing third on 67.55 points to jazz from Natalie Cole.

Canadians 3rd in ice dance

In ice dance, the French pairing of Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron outclassed the field in the rhythm dance. The three-time world champions and Olympic silver medallists scored 84.13 with their sultry and intense crowd-pleasing short dance to "Tango: Oblivion" and "Primavera Porteno" by Astor Piazzolla.

The Russian pair of Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov was second with 77.91, followed by third-placed Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto , who scored 74.25.

Watch the French duo's rhythm dance:

Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron are in top spot heading into the free dance at the ISU Grand Prix of France. 6:30

The Canadian pair placed third at Skate Canada earlier this month.

"After having an error at Skate Canada we really wanted to make sure we skated the program clean here," Poirier said. "We didn't put too much pressure on ourselves. We were really good about managing our energy output. We paced the program really well and felt really in the moment with the performance."

Gilles says the rhythm dance still isn't where they want it to be.

See how the Canadians put themselves in podium position:

Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier are in third place heading into the dance free program at the ISU Grand Prix of France. 6:27

"We still need to work on our levels," she said. "We always feel a little bit inconsistent it seems but we have to sit with our coaches and see where we can improve our scores."

The sixth and last event of the Grand Prix series offers skaters a final chance to qualify for next month's final in Vancouver.

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