Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov stood atop the podium as the first medals were handed out in the 2021 World Figure Skating Championships in Stockholm.
Mishina and Galliamov narrowly edged out two-time champions Sui Wenjing and Han Cong on Thursday in the pairs competition.
Mishina and Galliamov certainly made an excellent first impression. Neither skater had performed in the Worlds before, with Olympic Channel's Nick McCarvel noting they're the first duo since Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov in 1986 to prevail in their debut.
"After every element we were less nervous and it was closer to the end," Mishina said, per McCarvel. "Every element we were more happy."
Sui and Han had to settle for their third silver medal in the World Championships, and the pair of Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii collected the bronze. Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier (192.10) were the highest-finishing American team, placing seventh.
Thursday also saw the start of the men's competition as Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu set the pace after the short program.
The 26-year-old started off strong with a quadruple salchow followed by a quadruple toeloop and a triple toeloop. That helped collect a score of 106.98.
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🎸 "Let meeee ENTERTAIN you!" And Yuzuru Hanyu most certainly lives up to the words of his program music as he takes first place in the Men's Short Program at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships! Full results: https://t.co/DlINVJaRfi #WorldFigure #FigureSkating https://t.co/xdxu0yw22y
Two-time reigning champion Nathan Chen has some work to do in Saturday's free skate, but capturing a third straight gold medal isn't out of the question.
Chen fell on his opening element, a quadruple lutz, so his 98.85 isn't too bad all things considered. He anchored his routine with a quadruple flip and a triple toeloop, which earned 19.86 points on its own.
"I made a big mistake right off of the bat," he told reporters of his performance. "I had to figure out how to regroup. Mistakes happen. I'm glad I had this opportunity to learn from and move forward."