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Five For Friday: Figure Skating

By Paul D. Bowker | April 17, 2015, 12:01 a.m. (ET)

Gracie Gold competes in the ladies free skate during the 2014 Hilton HHonors Skate America competition at the Sears Centre Arena on Oct. 26, 2014 in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

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2014 Olympic team bronze medalist Gracie Gold started the first day of the season-ending World Team Trophy in Tokyo with a bang when she won the ladies short program. Gold beat 2015 world champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, 2015 world silver medalist Satoko Miyahara and 2015 world bronze medalist Elena Radionova with a score of 71.26.

Gold's win combined with Madison Chock and Evan Bates' second-place finish in the short dance, as well as top performances from Ashley Wagner, Jason Brown and Max Aaron, put Team USA in first place with two days to go.

The United States has medaled in all three World Team Trophy events, which began in 2009 and is held every other year. Team USA also won a bronze medal in the first Olympic team event at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

The United States is competing against Russia, Canada, China, France and host Japan in the competition.

Also on the U.S. team are pairs skaters Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim.

Bates is the U.S. team captain.

The format includes skaters being scored in short and free programs. Points are combined across all four disciplines for team totals.

“No matter how you skate, Japanese fans make you feel like you are the best,” Scimeca said. “It’s exciting to perform in a country that loves the sport so much.”

The final two events, the pairs and women’s free programs, will be conducted Saturday (morning, ET).

Webcast: 3 a.m. ET Friday and 2:15 a.m. Saturday, icenetwork.com

Paul D. Bowker is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.