Figure Skating

Mihara 2nd at Autumn Classic in Canada after short program

Kyodo, Staff Report

Mai Mihara safely landed three jumps and placed second after the women’s short program on the first day of action at the Autumn Classic International on Thursday.

Reigning Four Continents champion Mihara earned 66.18 points to finish behind local favorite and world silver medalist Kaetlyn Osmond, who led the field of 17 women at Sportplexe Pierrefonds with 75.21 points.

American skater Courtney Hicks took third, while Rin Nitaya is in ninth place.

Mihara, who is in her second season on the senior circuit, skated to “Libertango” in her new black dress in her first international competition of the 2017-2018 season.

The 18-year-old from Kobe cleanly landed a triple lutz/triple toe loop combo, a double axel and a triple flip, though she fell a few points short of the 70-point mark.

“My score isn’t bad but it isn’t good, either,” Mihara said.

“I got a little tired in my step sequence (at the end of the program) but I had the confidence because of my practices and I was able to skate well till the end. I want to skate through my free program with no mistakes.”

The women’s free program will be held on Saturday.

Hanyu’s knee hurting

Yuzuru Hanyu’s skating program at the Autumn Classic International will feature jumps other than the quad loop as the reigning Olympic champion has been bothered by an aching knee, his coach Brian Orser said Thursday in Montreal.

According to Orser, Hanyu told him about 10 days ago that he was experiencing pain in his right knee, and the two decided to opt out of the quad loop, a jump that takes off with the right foot, at the ongoing event.

Hanyu is scheduled to start his season on Friday in the men’s short program.

Orser also revealed that they are contemplating adding a quad lutz to Hanyu’s program in the Olympic season, which would be a fourth type of quad that he will execute in competition.

“It’s part of the plan for this season,” Orser told reporters in Montreal before the men’s short program gets underway Friday in Hanyu’s first competition of the season.

During a 40-minute official practice session, Hanyu skated to his free skate program music from the soundtrack of “Onmyoji” (The Yin-Yang Master) at the Sportplexe Pierrefonds on Thursday, but did not attempt a quad lutz.

Though his program includes five quads — two in the first half and three in the second half — at practice Hanyu substituted three triple jumps for quads in the first half.

Hanyu, who said the injury is not serious, is expected to perform two types of quads — a salchow and a toe loop — and see how far his artistic presentation and flawless execution can make up for lack of jump variations.

“There’s a lot that I would like to do but I know what I am capable of doing at this time, so I’ll focus on what I can do. It’s important that I maintain my focus all the way,” Hanyu said.

Araki in 2nd at Belarus JGP

Nana Araki, a 15-year-old from Higashiura, Aichi Prefecture, is in second place after the short program at the Junior Grand Prix in Minsk on Thursday.

Araki posted a score of 62.98 in her JGP debut and trails Russia’s Alexandra Trusova (69.72) going into Friday’s free skate.

Riko Takino, the bronze medalist at the season-opening JGP in Brisbane, Australia, is in sixth place (54.96).