Tokyo /JPN

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2021 ISU World Ice Dance Champions Victoria Sinitsina/Nikita Katsalapov of Russia edged two-time World medalists Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) to take a narrow lead in the Rhythm Dance at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating NHK Trophy in Tokyo (JPN) on Friday. Great Britain’s Lilah Fear/Lewis Gibson are in third place.

Sinitsina Katsalapov NHK Trophy Day One

Victoria Sinitsina/Nikita Katsalapov (RUS) © International Skating Union (ISU)

Sinitsina/Katsalapov delivered a fun dance to “You Can Leave Your Head On” and “Brick House”, completing intricate footwork. The 2020 ISU European Champions collected a level three for the Midnight Blues pattern, the rotational lift and the midline step sequence while the twizzles merited a level four for him and level three for her. The Muscovites netted 86.33 points. 

“It was one of our best run-throughs we did. The Japanese crowd was amazing and there was a standing ovation for us and the others,” Katsalapov said.

“We are so happy we did a good job today. We missed the people around us so much,” Sinitsina noted.

Performing to songs by Billie Eilish, Chock/Bates earned a level four for the pattern dance step sequence and the curve lift while the midline step sequence and the Blues Pattern garnered a level three. The two-time ISU Four Continents Champions achieved a season's best with 86.02 points.

Chock Bates NHK Trophy Day One

Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) © International Skating Union (ISU)

“We had so much fun skating today, the crowd was incredible,” Chock told the press. “Just arriving at the rink before the event was fun. I just stopped and stood and looked at the crowd, because it was so amazing to see all the skating fans back in one place. It was our best one (performance) yet of the season, so we’re really pleased with how we skated.”

Fear/Gibson’s dynamic Disco medley was highlighted by fast twizzles and a whirling rotational lift. The multiple British Champions earned 76.43 points, a season's best. 

Fear Gibson NHK Trophy Day One

Lilah Fear/Lewis Gibson (GBR) © International Skating Union (ISU)

“It was a lot of fun and having a crowd is something we’ve missed so much. Just being out there on warm up and have them there cheering for us was such an honor and privilege,” Fear shared. “We just had the best time, a little technical error on the Blues, other than that we’re really happy with the performance. We felt it was a step up from Skate Canada."

Sara Hurtado/Kirill Khaliavin (ESP) remain close to the podium in fourth place (76.40 points), followed by Majorie Lajoie/Zachary Lagha (CAN) on 74.45 points. Kana Muramoto and Daisuke Takahashi (JPN), the 2010 ISU World Champion turned Ice Dancer, placed sixth on 70.74 points.

For full results, click here