BOSTON >> Gracie Gold leads after the short program as she seeks to become the first American woman to win a world championship in a decade.
No U.S. woman has even finished on the podium since Kimmie Meissner took gold and Sasha Cohen bronze in 2006. But at a home world championships, the Americans now have a chance at two medals with Ashley Wagner in fourth after Thursday's short program.
"We're only halfway through, but I can kind of see the light at the end of the tunnel that maybe the drought is ending," Gold said, "and that would be amazing."
Gold scored 76.43 points, followed by Russian teens Anna Pogorilaya (73.98) and Evgenia Medvedeva (73.76) and Wagner (73.16).
Starting with Wagner, the last seven skaters were all sharp Thursday, making for a bunched leaderboard going into Saturday's long program. The third Russian teen, Elena Radionova, was fifth with 71.70 points, followed by two Japanese women: Satoko Miyahara (70.72) and Rika Hongo (69.89).
Gold, who was born in the Boston area, won her first U.S. title here at TD Garden two years ago. In the days leading up to Thursday's short program, she said, she felt welcomed wherever she went.
Pogorilaya, 17, was the least accomplished of the three Russians coming in, finishing third behind her two countrywomen at both the national championships and European Championships.