KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani never missed a beat in an elegant routine that earned them a record score of 82.42 points and an early lead in the short ice dance competition at the U.S. figure skating championships.
The Shibutanis were the clear front-runners, especially after their bronze medal at the Grand Prix final. They won the gold medal at the U.S. championships last season and could go back-to-back with another sensational effort Sunday.
They zipped around the Sprint Center ice on Friday and the brother-sister pair had the crowd going wild in an uninhibited performance. Last year at the championships, the Shibutanis had to rally after the short dance to win the gold medal. But the mistakes were minuscule and their flawless twizzle series - a series of continuous turns across the ice - put them atop of what is considered a wide-open field.
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