Vancouver, Canada

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Kamila Valieva of Russia took the lead in a battle of triple Axels in the Women’s Short Program at the ISU Grand Prix Skate Canada International in Vancouver on Friday. Valieva’s teammates Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and Alena Kostornaia came second and third on the first day of competition.

Kamila Valieva RUS GettyImages 1350135109

Kamila Valieva (RUS) © International Skating Union (ISU)

Valieva opened her performance to “In Memoriam” by Kirill Richter with a triple Axel with both arms raised above her head and followed up with a triple flip, triple Lutz-triple toe and level-four spins and footwork. The 2020 ISU World Junior Champion improved her personal best score by almost 10 points with 84.19 points.

“I am happy that I did 100 percent today. I skated calmer and for tomorrow I want to have the same mindset,” the 15-year-old said. “It was hard to be in the room for 24 hours (in quarantine). We tried to train a bit in the room, which was difficult, but possible.”

Tuktamysheva nailed a triple Axel, triple Lutz-triple toe and triple flip in her sensual program to “Oblivion” (“J’oublie”). She collected a level four for her spins and step sequence to score a season’s best of 81.24, just short of her personal best.

“I am not in the best condition and I learn to skate under different circumstances. My body was not happy to do something today, I felt the jetlag,” said the 2021 ISU World silver medalist. “Tomorrow I want to skate with more energy.”

Kostornaia hit a triple Axel in her program to “New York, New York” as well, but she slightly underrotated the jump (q). The 2020 European Champion went on to complete a triple Lutz and triple flip-triple toe to score 75.58 points.

“I am pleased that I was able to do my content at least partially. Tomorrow I’ll focus again on each element and on showing my program,” said Kostornaia during the post-event press conference.

Alysa Liu (USA) went for a triple Axel, but underrotated. She came fourth on 73.63 points. 2018 World silver medalist Wakaba Higuchi (JPN) is currently ranked fifth (69.41 points) while Karen Chen (USA) finished sixth (68.74 points).

For full results, click here.