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Figure Skating

Canada's Moore-Towers, Marinaro in silver-medal position at Grand Prix of Japan

Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro are poised for their second medal of the figure skating Grand Prix season. The pairs skaters, who captured silver at Skate Canada International last month, were second after Friday's short program at the NHK Trophy, scoring 71.21.

Canadian pairs skaters looking for podium finish to qualify for Grand Prix finals

Canada's Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro will likely earn a spot at the Grand Prix Final with a podium finish in Japan. (Junko Kimura-Matsumoto AFP via Getty Images)

Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro are poised for their second medal of the figure skating Grand Prix season.

The pairs skaters, who captured silver at Skate Canada International last month, were second after Friday's short program at the NHK Trophy, scoring 71.21.

"We love skating in front of such a knowledgeable crowd," said Moore-Towers, a St. Catharines, Ont., native. "We're fairly pleased with our position heading into the long program."

China's Wenjing Sui and Cong Han were the leaders, taking 81.27 points into Saturday's long program. Anastasia Michina and Aleksandr Galliamov of Russia were third (69.00).

WATCH | Canada's Moore-Towers, Marinaro sit 2nd overall in Japan:

The Canadian duo of Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro sit 2nd overall after the pairs short program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating's NHK Trophy in Sapporo, Japan 6:40

A medal should clinch Moore-Towers and Marinaro a berth in the Grand Prix Final next month in Turin, Italy.

Roman Sadovsky of Vaughan, Ont., was fourth after the men's singles short program, opening with a quad Salchow en route to scoring 78.51 points.

Two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan was the leader with 109.34, Kevin Aymoz of France was second (91.47), and Sergei Voronov of Russia third (88.63).

WATCH |  Hanyu leads at NHK Trophy on home ice:

Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu scored a whopping 109.34 in men's short program at the NHK Trophy in Sapporo, Japan. 7:17

Russian teenager Alena Kostornaia took the lead Friday in the women's short program at the NHK Trophy, the final of the event of the Grand Prix Series.

Kostornaia opened her perfromance in Sapporo, Japan, with a triple axel and landed all her remaining jumps cleanly to score a personal-best 85.04 points.

The 16-year-old Kostornaia won the Internationaux de France this month in her Grand Prix debut. She can secure a spot in next month's Grand Prix Final with a second win in Sapporo.

WATCH | Kostornaia sits 1st at NHK Trophy in Japan:

Alena Kostornaia of Russia skated her way to an 85.04 in the women's short program in Sapporo, Japan. 6:29

Rika Kihira of Japan was in second place with 78.89 points. Karen Chen of the United States was third with 67.21 points, followed by Olympic champion Alina Zagitova of Russia in fourth with 66.84.

Four-time world champion ice dancers Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France were first after the rhythm dance event after setting a world record score in the event.

WATCH | Papadakis and Cizeron claim a world record in Japan:

France's Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron set a rhythm dance world record with a score of 90.03 points to sit in first at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating's NHK Trophy in Sapporo, Japan. 7:11

The Grand Prix Final is from Dec. 5-8 in Turin, Italy.

That Figure Skating Show

If you're looking for more figure skating coverage, CBC Sports has put a fresh new twizzle on the Grand Prix Season with That Figure Skating Show, hosted by former Canadian national team members Asher Hill and Olympian Dylan Moscovitch.

The two analyze each event with a fun, tongue-and-cheek approach that will make you LOL. New episodes are posted each Grand Prix Sunday on the CBC Sports YouTube channel. If you haven't already, watch the latest episode on the Grand Prix of Russia: 

With files from The Associated Press and CBC Sports

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