Osmond in top form

GRENOBLE, France – Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond took the lead in the France grand prix with a crowd-pleasing but flawed short program yesterday as Spain’s Javier Fernandez returned to winning ways with a season-best performance.

Skating to Edith Piaf’s “Sous le ciel de Paris” and “Milord” at the Internationaux de France in Grenoble, Osmond had the crowd clapping along despite landing awkwardly on her double toeloop and putting her hand on the ice to regain balance after her triple lutz. Osmond, the world silver medallist who won the Skate Canada event last month, still secured first place with 69.05 points in the penultimate qualifying event for next month’s grand prix final.

“Definitely not my best short programme,” Osmond wrote on Twitter. “But I’m proud I fought through and made being here worth it.”

Osmond was closely followed by Russia’s Maria Sotskova, who ranked second with 67.79 points. Sotskova cleanly executed a triple lutz-triple toeloop combination but made a two-footed landing on her triple flip.

Japan’s Yuna Shiraiwa, 15, came in third with a graceful performance devoid of any major mistakes, earning the highest technical elements score.

After winning her first grand prix event this month, world junior champion Alina Zagitova struggled to find her rhythm, falling on her triple lutz triple toe combination before taking another tumble on her triple flip.

The 15-year-old Russian ranked fifth with 62.46 points.

Fernandez, twice world champion, landed two quads in a dazzling performance that earned him first place with 107.86 points.

The Spaniard led the group by a large margin, finishing almost 14 points ahead of second-place finisher Shoma Uno of Japan, who fell on his quad flip at the start of his programme.

Fernandez’s inspired skate showed he was back on track after a disastrous performance at the China grand prix event this month where he faltered on three jumps in his free programme.

Russia’s Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, the bronze medallists at this year’s world championships, finished first in the pairs with 77.84 points despite being out of sync in the step sequence at the end of their short program. An energetic performance by France’s Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres saw them take second place, finishing nearly five points behind the Russian pair.

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