A full house at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium inspired the skaters who did make it on to the ice to compete at NHK Trophy in Tokyo, Japan this weekend. Here are five highlights from the event.
1. Numero Uno
Almost two years after teaming up with coach Stephane Lambiel, Shoma Uno (JPN) began his competition at NHK Trophy as he meant to go on with his first short programme score over 100 points at an international competition in over three years. He backed that up with a free skating routine that included four quadruple jumps and captured his first Grand Prix win since the 2018 NHK Trophy.
2. Last Woman Standing
Kaori Sakamoto (JPN) had only finished fourth at Skate America last month and the three women who finished ahead of her in Las Vegas were all slated to compete with her again at NHK Trophy. However, the withdrawals of Alexandra Trusova (RUS) before the event and Daria Usacheva (RUS) during the short programme warm-up considerably eased Sakamoto’s path to retain the title she won last year.
3. We Are The Champions (Again)
Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov (RUS) got their Grand Prix campaign off to a winning start with a convincing victory over compatriots Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov (RUS). The 2021 World champions look set to be well on a path to challenge for gold as well in Beijing next February.
4. Sinitsina and Katsalapov Bag First NHK Victory
In their three previous appearances at NHK Trophy, Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov had failed to even medal. This time round they rectified that situation, although they were run very close by Madison Chock and Evan Bates (USA) in the rhythm dance. Remarkably, this was only the Russians fourth Grand Prix title of their careers.
5. Muramoto and Takahashi Edge Ahead in Olympic Race
2010 Olympic men’s singles bronze medallist Daisuke Takahashi announced in 2019 he was returning to international competition in an ice dance partnership with Kana Muramoto and a mere two years later the duo became the top Japanese team at this weekend’s NHK Trophy.