Grenoble, France

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America's Jason Brown set a season’s best of 96.41 points © International Skating Union

Jason Brown (USA) upset the favorites to skate into the lead in the Men’s Short Program as the Internationaux de France Grand Prix opened Friday in Grenoble. Russia’s Alexander Samarin sits in second while World Champion Nathan Chen (USA) had to settle for third place on the first day of competition. 

Performing to “Love is a Bitch” by Two Feet, Brown completed a triple flip, triple Axel, triple Lutz-triple toe as well as excellent spins and footwork to set a season’s best of 96.41 points.

“Today I just tried my best to be as calm, confident and focused as I possibly could be and I did that throughout the whole program,” Brown said.

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Russia’s Alexander Samarin sits in second place in Grenoble © International Skating Union

Samarin’s routine to “Cold Blood” by Dave Not Dave featured a quadruple Lutz with a three-turn on the landing, a triple Axel and quadruple toe-double toe combination as well as level-four spins and steps. The 2017 World Junior bronze medalist picked up a season’s best of 90.86 points.

“I am satisfied with the short program today, but there were some mistakes and there is room for improvement,” Samarin said.

“It’s still the beginning of the season and we are improving from one competition to the next to reach the top.”

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World Champion Nathan Chen scored 86.94 points © International Skating Union

Chen opened his program to Duke Ellington’s “Caravan” with a triple Axel, but then fell on an underrotated quad flip. The reigning World Champion recovered to land a quad toe-triple toe combination and scored 86.94 points.

“The short program didn’t go exactly as well as I wanted it to go. However, I’m glad with what I did technically today and I was very pleased with what I did at (Skate) America,” Chen said.

Romain Ponsart (FRA) came fourth with a clean performance to score 84.97 points. Deniss Vasiljevs (LAT) finished fifth (82.30 points), followed by Kevin Aymoz (FRA) on 81.00 points. Two-time World bronze medalist Boyang JIN (CHN) sits in seventh after missing his quadruple Lutz (79.41 points).

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