Senior-level action at the 2015-16 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final kicked off Dec. 10 in Barcelona as the seven pairs and six individual men who earned the right to compete for the prestigious titles hit the ice to perform during the short program round. By the close of the day's competition, two Russian pairs sat in gold and silver medal position, and Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu held a sizable lead in the men's field.

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A clean skate (74.84) set to I Put a Spell on You made 2014 Olympic silver medalists Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov the couple to beat heading into the long program. They edged fellow Russians Yuka Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov for the top spot in the standings by less than two points (73.64), while Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, who entered the event riding a winning streak that's lasted for over a year, are third with a 72.74.

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The duo would have scored higher had Duhamel not suffered an uncharacteristic fall while trying to land a throw triple lutz near the close of their Your Song program.

Pairs standings after Grand Prix Final short

  • 1. Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov, Russia, 74.84
  • 2. Yuka Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov, Russia, 73.64
  • 3. Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, Canada, 72.74
  • 4. Julianne Seguin and Charlie Bilodeau, Canada, 71.16
  • 5. Xiaoyu Yu and Yang Jin, China, 68.63
  • 6. Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim, USA, 68.14
  • 7. Cheng Peng and Hao Zhang, China, 65.60

Duhamel and Radford entered the Grand Prix Final as the highest seed after winning gold at both Skate Canada and the NHK Trophy.

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Their Skate Canada score of 216.16 was the best cumulative total turned in during this year's series, though Kavaguti and Smirnov came close to matching the mark after posting a 216.00 at the Cup of China.

On the men's side, Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu jumped out to take a significant lead over the rest of the field with a towering, record-setting 110.95. Reigning world champion Javier Fernandez of Spain placed second (91.52) and China's Boyang Jin (86.95) is in bronze medal position entering the long program. The day's biggest surprise came from Canadian Patrick Chan, who expected to contend for the title but wound up dead last with a disappointing 70.61.

Men's rankings after the short: Grand Prix Final

  • 1. Yuzuru Hanyu, Japan, 110.95
  • 2. Javier Fernandez, Spain, 91.52
  • 3. Boyang Jin, China, 86.75
  • 4. Shoma Uno, Japan, 86.47
  • 5. Daisuke Murakami, Japan, 83.47
  • 6. Patrick Chan, Canada, 70.61

The 2015-16 Grand Prix Final continues Dec. 11 with the women's and ice dance short programs. Gracie Gold and Ashley Wagner will represent the USA in the ladies' competition, while a trio of couples --Madison Chock and Evan Bates, Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani, and Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue-- will skate for the nation in ice dancing.

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