Gold sparkles in Russia

Showing again the elan and confidence that made her the revelation of U.S. figure skating last season, Gracie Gold took the lead after Friday’s short program at the Rostelecom Cup Grand Prix event in Moscow.

Gold, 17, who trains in the Chicago suburbs, wound up with 62.16 points for a small lead over Kiira Korpi of Finland (61.55) going into Saturday’s free skate.

Agnes Zawadzki of Des Plaines, who trains in Colorado Springs, was third at 60.18, more than three points better than her previous personal best.

Gold’s score was not only third highest for a senior woman skater this season but a dramatic improvement over the disappointing performance at her Grand Prix debut last month in Canada.  There, three big mistakes in the short program left her with just 52.19 points.

Friday, she was in command from the first combination, a triple flip-triple toe, the most difficult element undertaken by any of the 10 women, even if it was penalized for a wrong edge takeoff.

(For video, click here.)

Both Gold and Zawadzki, who had the highest technical scores, were given relatively low component scores, as the judges used those marks to prop up mediocre skating by Russians Alena Leonova and Adelina Sotnikova.

Gold’s component score ranked sixth, Zawadzki’s seventh.

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