NAGOYA, Japan -- Japan's Shizuka Arakawa won the women's short program at the NHK Trophy on Friday.
Arakawa, the reigning world figure skating champion, received 64.20 points from the judges to top Russia's Elena Sokolova, who was second with 52.98 points. Japan's Miki Ando, the 2004 world junior champion, was third at 50.90.
Russia's Maria Petrova and Alexei Tikhonov, the 2000 world
champions, won the pairs event after a first-place finish in the
Skating to "Madame Butterfly," Arakawa landed all her elements cleanly. She opened with a triple lutz-triple toe loop combination and finished with a spin that brought the crowd to its feet at Rainbow Ice Arena.
"My elements were all good but my skating was not smooth
enough," Arakawa said. "I was nervous, but since it's my first
competition of the season I'm satisfied with the way things went."
Arakawa changed her skates earlier this week and wasn't sure if she could get used to them in time.
"My coach told me to pull out if I wasn't used to the skates,"
she said. "But they felt fine in the morning practice and that's
when I decided to go ahead."
Sokolova, the 2003 world silver medalist, has had skate issues, as well. In August, her car was stolen with her favorite pair of
"You never know when something like that is going to happen," Sokolova said. "The person actually did me a big favor because I got a new pair of skates after using the same ones for four
Japan's Yoshie Onda, who won a sliver medal last week at Skate Canada, fell on her opening triple lutz-double toe loop combination and finished in sixth place.
American Amber Corwin fell as she went into a step sequence and finished ninth.
Skating to "The Circus Princess," Petrova and Tikhonov
recovered from a poor opening jump to win their third NHK title
with a total of 187.56 points.
"We're very happy," Tikhonov said. "We missed our first jump in the free program and a combination spin wasn't good but we had a very good short program and are happy with the result."
The Chinese duo of Pang Qing and Jian Tong were third in the
free skate but finished second overall with 179.62 points. Dorota
Zagorska and Mariusz Siudek of Poland were third with 177.24
In ice dancing, world silver medalists Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski of Bulgaria finished first in the original dance with
Reigning world champions Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov of Russia were second with 99.60, while the French pair of Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder were third with 97.05 points.
Navka and Kostomarov placed first in the compulsory dance on Thursday.
The NHK Trophy is the third of six events on the Grand Prix
The women's free skate program is Saturday. The men's short
program is also on Saturday and will feature the three top American
men: current national champion Johnny Weir, three-time U.S.
champion Michael Weiss and 2002 Olympic bronze medalist Timothy