Olympic champion Zagitova leads Helsinki Grand Prix despite flub

Olympic champion Alina Zagitova took the lead after the women's short program in the Helsinki stage of the Grand Prix figure skating series on Friday despite a failure in her opening jump combination.

The Russian skater had intended a triple lutz-triple loop, but turned the second jump into a single. She recovered her flair and assurance for the rest of the program, including a double axel that she entered from a Charlotte spiral and a hands-up triple flip late in the program.

Yuna Shiraiwa of Japan was in second place more than five points behind Zagitova, landing her jumps cleanly but far behind on program components. Loena Hendrickx of Belgium was only 0.6 points further behind in third. That leaves them both in strong positions to win their first Grand Prix medals.

Watch Alina Zagitova take short lead:

The Russian and reigning Olympic champion Alina Zagitova is in first place heading into the women's free program, with 68.90 points, at the ISU Grand Prix in Helsinki. 6:29

Watch the complete women's short program:

ISU Helsinki Grand Prix 2018 from Helsinki, Finland. 1:26:44

Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise led the pairs after the short program. Skating to Joe Cocker's gravely singing, the Italian pair showed notable speed in completing a triple salchow, triple twist lift and throw triple loop cleanly, but got out of synchronization on some spins.

Watch Monica, Guarise's short program: 

The Italian duo of Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise scored 68.18 points to lead after the pairs short program at the ISU Grand Prix in Helsinki. 6:33

Watch the complete pairs program:

ISU Helsinki Grand Prix 2018 from Helsinki, Finland. 1:11:20

Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert were 0.6 points behind. The Russians outpointed their opponents on program components for their dramatic interpretation of Prokofiev's Alexander Nevski, but Enbert's fall on a triple toe loop put them behind technically.

Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin, also from Russia, were in third after a short program marked by a soaring triple twist.

Russian ice dancers Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin led after the rhythm dance.

Highlights of rhythm dance:

The Russian duo of Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin lead with 78.18 points, heading into Saturday's free dance at the ISU Grand Prix in Helsinki. 6:39

Watch the complete dance program:

ISU Helsinki Grand Prix 2018 from Helsinki, Finland. 1:28:47

Italy's Charlene Guignard were half a point behind, seeming unfazed by a music foul-up at the start that played Debussy's languid "Claire de Lune" instead of the intended intense tango.

Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter of the United States placed third.

Unusually for a Grand Prix stage, the men's competition begins on Saturday. It will feature Olympic gold medallist Yuzuru Hanyu.

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