Alena Kostornaia leads early Russian threat to sweep podium at figure skating Grand Prix Finals
France's Papadakis, Cizeron take lead in ice dance heading into Saturday's free
Alena Kostornaia led a Russian sweep of the top three positions in the women's short program at the figure skating Grand Prix Finals on Friday, with Olympic champion Alina Zagitova second.
Zagitova scored 79.60 for second after a clean program, though she doesn't have the triple axel in her repertoire.
Anna Shcherbakova was third on 78.27.
WATCH | Alena Kostornaia lead Russian threat to sweep podium:
Kostornaia and Shcherbakova have stepped up to the senior level this season, along with Alexandra Trusova, who placed fifth after a fall, finishing just behind fourth-placed Bradie Tennell of the United States.
All four of the Russians in the Grand Prix Finals share the same coach, Eteri Tutberidze.
Sui Wenjing, Han Cong land historic pairs gold
Sui Wenjing and Han Cong became the first Chinese duo in a decade to win the pairs gold medal at the Grand Prix Finals, beating compatriots Peng Cheng and Jin Yang.
Two-time world champions Sui and Han scored a total of 221.69 to win, keeping up a winning streak in competitions going back to the start of last season.
WATCH | Sui and Han capture 1st Grand Prix final title:
Peng and Jin were second on 204.27 after posting the best score in the free skate to recover from a disappointing fifth in Thursday's short program.
Anastasia Mishina and Alexander Galliamov placed third for Russia on 203.13.
Kirsten Moore-Towers of St. Catharines, Ont., and Michael Marinaro of Sarnia, Ont., were fourth in the free skate and fifth overall with a combined score of 197.99.
"We were happy to have a step up after a disappointing short program," Moore-Towers said. "Sometimes it doesn't seem fair when you do all the training and do good work at home. It happens to everybody and we kept a good attitude so we could turn our day around today."
WATCH | Moore-Towers, Marinaro land top-5 finish:
Papadakis, Cizeron lead ice dance
Earlier, French ice dancers Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron took the lead in the rhythm dance.
Skating a program with a 1980s retro theme, the Olympic silver medallists scored 83.83 as they aim to remain unbeaten this season.
WATCH | Papadakis, Cizeron lead following the Rhythm Dance:
Canada's Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier are parked last, having scored 79.53 in their rhythm dance.
WATCH | Canada's Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier are 6th heading into free dance:
"It was the best skate we've had energy-wise but we're disappointed overall," Gilles said.
Last year's Grand Prix Finals winner, the U.S. pair of Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, was second on 82.72 after their Marilyn Monroe-themed skate.
The other American pair of Madison Chock and Evan Bates were third with less than a one-point advantage over two Russian pairs.
CBCSports.ca will have live coverage as the Grand Prix Finals conclude on Saturday beginning at 7 a.m. ET.