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Originally published October 19, 2012 at 10:18 PM | Page modified October 20, 2012 at 5:55 PM

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Skate America gets started in Kent with short programs

Despite random moments of raggedness, the opening night of the three-day Skate America competition yielded results that aligned with expectations...

Special to The Seattle Times

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KENT — Despite random moments of raggedness, the opening night of the three-day Skate America competition yielded results that aligned with expectations as men's singles and pairs performed short programs Friday night at the ShoWare Center.

Yuzuru Hanyu, a 17-year-old phenom from Japan, dominated the men's competition with a score of 95.07 for his execution of seven required elements, including a gravity-defying quadruple jump that seemed almost effortless.

Russia's Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov, silver medalists in pairs at the past two World Championships, topped the pairs field with a score of 65.78. They will try to hold their lead in the free skate (long program) Saturday at 7 p.m.

U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott placed third in the short program, falling on his attempted quad but looking sharp in every other element, posting a score of 77.71. Takahiko Kozuka of Japan placed second with a successful quad and a total of 85.32.

Despite his early fall, Abbott was pleased with his routine, performed with slicked-back hair in the guise of a vintage spy, with a shoulder holster and lots of pistol fingers.

"We kind of totally reworked the quad," said Abbott, 27. "It's been a process and it's starting to come along.

"It hasn't been consistent in training, but I wanted to put it out in the short and long (programs) from the very beginning of the season no matter what, and then make sure I did everything else: got my levels, did my other jumps and make sure everything else was really consistent so that one mistake wouldn't completely topple the whole program.

"Today I took the first step."

In pairs, U.S. champions Caydee Denney and John Coughlin skated a clean, upbeat program and came in third with 60.75.

Denney, 19, competed at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games with a different partner (now retired) and is in her second year competing with Coughlin, 26. This is her second Grand Prix — a series of six weekly international competitions — with Coughlin as her partner.

Despite leading, Trankov conceded he was puzzled by the uneven, sometimes unsynchronized showing they delivered in their short program.

"We have to think about this because we had the same problem at the World Championships last year," he said. "We're scared of our short program. We're very nervous.

"We never feel this way about our free skate. We had a hard time today because of the very strange schedule here. We don't know when to eat or when to rest. We also have an 11-hour time difference from Russia.

"We have to find out why we skate such bad short programs. It was a very bad skate for us."


• Saturday's schedule opens with short programs for ladies and ice dancing at 12:30 p.m.

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