Japan leads at World Team Trophy

Updated: April 19, 2012, 1:23 PM ET
Associated Press

TOKYO -- Daisuke Takahashi earned a world-record score of 94.00 points in the short program on Thursday and Akiko Suzuki was second in the women's event on Thursday, giving Japan the lead after the opening day of the World Team Trophy.

Takahashi, a silver medalist at the world championships, took a massive lead over world champion Patrick Chan of Canada, who had 89.81 points. Jeremy Abbott of the United States was third with 86.98 points.

"I was surprised to see the score, which was much higher than I expected," Takahashi said. "I did well on my jumps but was a little off balance on my step sequence."

Chan set the previous world record of 93.02 points in Moscow at last year's world championships. Takahashi earned a score of 96.05 at the Japanese national championships in December, but the International Skating Union does not recognize results at domestic events.

Takahashi opened his routine with a quadruple jump and landed all his remaining jumps cleanly.

"The quad wasn't that good in today's practice so I was relieved to pull it off without problems," Takahashi said. "I got a huge boost from the fans today."

Japan and the United States are tied with 45 points but the host nation placed first by virtue of its higher finishes in the individual disciplines.

Chan also opened his routine with a quad but fell on his second element, the triple axel.

"I was very happy with the quad, it was the best all season," Chan said. "There is always one event where I have trouble with the triple axel and it was today."

Suzuki, a bronze medalist at the worlds, had 67.51 points to finish behind world champion Carolina Kostner of Italy, who won the short program with 69.48 points. Japan's Kanako Murakami was third with 63.78 points.

"I was very pleased with my skate," Suzuki said. "I got a huge boost from the fans. I was just trying to enjoy this as this is the last event of the season."

World silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the United States finished first in the ice dancing short dance with 72.81 points, ahead of world champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada, who had 69.93 points. Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France were third with 66.57 points.

"We try to use every competition as a stepping stone to improve," White said. "We felt we skated well at the worlds but obviously second wasn't the result we wanted so it's nice to have another chance to come out and prove ourselves."

The United States won the inaugural World Team Trophy in 2009 in Tokyo. Figure skating's team event will make its Olympic debut in 2014 in Sochi, Russia.

Each team consists of two women, two men, one pair and one ice dancing couple.


Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press