Russia may be banned from fielding a national team in international competition, but its athletes remain dominant in the figure skating world.
Anna Shcherbakova leads the ladies and Dmitrii Kozlovskii and Aleksandra Boikova sit atop the leaderboard in the pairs competition following the short programs of their respective competitions at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships.
Shcherbakova posted a score of 81.00 in her short program, giving her a slight lead over Japan's Rika Kihira (79.08). Russian Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (78.86) is in third place, while American Karen Chen (74.40) and South Korea's Kim Ye-lim (73.63) round out the top five.
"I was nervous, controlled every movement and I am happy that all elements were successful," Shcherbakova said after her run. "Most of all I am satisfied with the jump combination, because it was the most difficult and most important element of the program. The support from the audience is very important. I know, that there's a big support now, a lot of people write that they support me from their homes. It is also very important for me. But I miss full stands of people supporting you before the start and during the performance."
A Russian has won every world championship in ladies' figure skating since 2014.
Kozlovskii and Boikova posted a score of 80.16 in their opening program, carrying a lead over China's Sui Wenjing and Han Cong (77.62). The Russian duos of Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov (75.79) and Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov (71.46) are in third and fourth, respectively. Peng Cheng and Jin Yang of China (71.32) round out the top five.
Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy Leduc (64.94) were the top-ranked American pair in sixth place.