TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) Satoko Miyahara of Japan led after the women's short program at the Four Continents figure skating championships on Thursday.
Bidding for her first international title, Miyahara opened with a flawless triple lutz, triple toe loop combination and also cleanly landed a triple flip and a double axel for a personal-best 72.48 points.
''It's very satisfying to get such a high score in an international competition,'' Miyahara said. ''I feel like I've cleared the first hurdle with this result in the short program.''
Kanako Murakami, also of Japan, was second with 68.51 points followed by Mirai Nagasu of the United States with 66.06.
''Internationally, it was the first time I landed a (clean) triple-triple,'' Nagasu said, ''so that was very exciting. I'm so proud of myself for being able to deliver as well as I did today. I feel that it's been a couple of years since I've been able to challenge myself in this manner, so to deliver this strong performance is a boost to my confidence, and I hope to take it into the long program.''
Gracie Gold of the United States fell on her opening triple lutz and a triple flip to finish ninth with 57.26 points.
''I've been having a lot of trouble with my short program in practice and in my events this year,'' the U.S. champion said. ''That was reflected today.''
The Four Continents championships are sanctioned by the International Skating Union and feature skaters from the Americas, Asia, Africa and Oceania.
Maia and Alex Shibutani of the United States led after the ice dance short program with 72.86 points. Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Canada were second with 72.42, followed by Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of the United States with 69.36.
''That was our strongest performance of the season so far for our short dance,'' Maia Shibutani said. ''After the national championships we all had a few weeks, but we really put in some focused time to improve various parts of our program. We're really happy with how it went today.''
The men's short program is on Friday. Defending champion Denis Ten of Kazakstan, the Sochi Olympics bronze medalist, withdrew due to a knee injury. Three-time world champion Patrick Chan of Canada is competing along with Skate America champion Max Aaron.