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Star Andrews had the best free skate of her international career, moving from fifth to second place at Skate Canada, tying the best full-fledged Grand Prix result for an American in six years.

Andrews, 21, landed six triple jumps in the free skate in Mississauga, Ont., to finish 6.33 points behind the winner Rinka Watanabe from Japan.

It’s Andrews’ best finish in seven career senior Grand Prix starts, displacing a fifth-place finish from 2019. It’s one of, if not the best, Grand Prix finish for a black skater in simple. France Surya Bonaly won several events that became Grands Prix before the start of the Grand Prix series in 1995, then placed third in two Grand Prix series events late in her career.

“It’s a huge deal for me,” Andrews said, according to the International Skating Union. “I’m one of the few people of color in sport, and bringing home a medal is even more special.”

Andrews caused a stir at age 9 when a video of her skating to “Whip My Hair” gone viral. She had another moment at the 2018 U.S. Championships, earning a standing ovation for her free skate on her own cover of “One Moment in Time” and finishing sixth overall.

SKATE CANADA: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Andrews finished second in a row at the U.S. Women’s Grand Prix after Isabelle Levitomade his senior Grand Prix debut at Skate America last week. Andrews’ total ranks third among American women at the start of the season behind Levito and Amber Glennwho finished third at Skate America.

The United States is in the midst of its longest drought of women’s victories in a Grand Prix in its own right – the top international circuit in figure skating – not counting Mariah Bellduring a 2020 Skate America that was largely a national domain due to COVID-19. Ashley Wagner won the last international Grand Prix title for an American in 2016.

Andrews will likely qualify for December’s six-skater Grand Prix final with a podium at her final Grand Prix in Japan in three weeks.

The United States has three women’s spots for the March world championships, which will be distributed after the January nationals. None of last season’s three Olympians are competing, with Alysa Liu and Bell have both retired.

Watanabe landed a triple Axel in his free skate, improving from sixth place after the court and totaling 197.59 points. Watanabe, a 20-year-old who finished sixth at the Japan Nationals last season, won on her senior Grand Prix debut.

Later Saturday, world champion Shoma Uno improved from second after the short program to win the men’s event. He landed five quadruple jumps – one underturned and three others with negative execution ratings – en route to 273.15 points overall. Uno beat his Japanese compatriot Kao Miura by 7.86. Miura moved from first after the court to second overall for a second consecutive week.

American Ilia Malinin, who won Skate America against Miura last week, has the best total score in the world this season at 280.37. Malinin and Uno could face off for the first time this season in December’s Grand Prix Final, which will take the top six per discipline across the six events of the Grand Prix series.

World silver medalists Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara won the biggest title for a Japanese pair team in history, edging out the Americans Emily Chan and spencer howe of 25.54 points. Miura and Kihara’s total score – 212.02 – ranks them first in the world this season, 10.63 points ahead of the world champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier the United States

Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier, the 2021 Worlds bronze medalists, won their third straight Skate Canada ice dance title. Their total score – 215.70 – ranks them first in the world this season. That’s 12.9 points better than the 2022 world bronze medalists Madison Chock and Evan Bates‘ total for winning Skate America last week.

The figure skating season continues with the French Grand Prix next week, featuring the world silver medalist Loena Hendrickx from Belgium, live on the peacock.

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