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Figure Skating - 24. March 2007.

U.S. champion Kimmie Meissner finished third in the free skate Saturday

U.S. champion Kimmie Meissner finished third in the free skate Saturday

KIMMIE MEISSNER FINISHES THIRD IN FREE SKATE, FOURTH OVERALL AT 2007 WORLD FIGURE SKATING CHAMPIONSHIPS

TOKYO, Japan (March 24, 2007)U.S. champion Kimmie Meissner finished third in the free skate Saturday at the 2007 World Figure Skating Championships in Tokyo, Japan, to place fourth overall. In first place was Japan’s Miki Ando, followed by Japan’s Mao Asada and South Korea’s Yu-Na Kim. As with the short program, the top four ladies in the free skate all attempted triple-triple combinations.

U.S. silver medalist Emily Hughes finished ninth, and her placement, combined with Meissner’s, secures three spots for the U.S. ladies at the 2008 World Championships. U.S. bronze medalist Alissa Czisny was 12th in the free skate and finished 15th overall.

Meissner, the defending World champion, had a few small errors. She put a hand down on her opening jump, a triple Lutz, which caused her to miss the ensuing planned triple toe combination. She rallied to land all of her remaining jumps, but her triple flip-triple toe was downgraded.

“When I go out in practice I do it (the triple Lutz) all the time and it’s perfect,” she said. “I very rarely miss it. I probably just rushed. I had to skate right after Mao did awesome. It’s hard to come out after such a good performance. I tuned out the scores, but I couldn’t tune out the screaming, so I knew it was really good. I was trying to just take a deep breath myself and calm down. I had to remember, ‘I still have to do my program,’ because I was kind of excited for her!”

Meissner’s fourth-place Worlds finish caps off a season in which she won her first U.S. Championships title, her first Four Continents title and her first two Grand Prix medals. She was asked to reflect on her season:

“On a scale of 1-10, probably seven or eight I think, because at competitions I’d either do a good short and a shaky long or a shaky short and a good long. But this season for me was really about trying out new styles and seeing if they worked for me, because it was the post-Olympic year, so I had time to do this. It could’ve been better, but I still got the national title (and) Four Continents.”

Hughes fell on her second jump, the front half of a planned triple flip-double loop. She regrouped to land the rest of her jumps and had the foresight to add a combination to another jump, but two of her remaining triples were downgraded to doubles.

“It was tough,” Hughes said. “Falling in the beginning is very unexpected and always tough to come back from, but I’m happy I fought back. You never really prepare for a fall in the beginning because you’re not tired and you know you can do the jump, so I just try not to think about it and move on.”

After a disappointing short program, Czisny was looking for the motivation to stay on her feet and express her “Sabrina” free skate to the audience. Her second appearance on the Tokyo Metropolitan ice was better than the first. Olympic champion Brian Boitano spoke with Czisny on the phone and offered advice.

“I talked to Brian Boitano on the phone again, and he told me something that he told me at nationals. He said, ‘Don’t go out and sabotage your jumps. Just say, ‘I’m going to do this’ and think of that one thing that works on every jump.’ And that’s what I did.”

The World Championships conclude Sunday with the exhibition of champions.
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