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ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2008 Day Four
Ladies, Free Skating
In what was an exciting Ladies Final, Mao Asada of Japan skated to victory with Canadian Joannie Rochette and Miki Ando (JPN) coming in second and third.
Rochette skated first of the top contenders. The Canadian Champion opened her expressive routine to “Don Juan” by Felix Gray with a solid triple Lutz-double toe-double loop combination a triple flip and a triple loop. Another triple Lutz and a triple Salchow followed, before she went for the triple toe-triple Salchow sequence, but the 22-year-old underrotated the second jump and stumbled out of it, but recovered to hit a double Axel-double Axel sequence. Rochette earned a level four for two of her spins and a level three for the other two and the straight line step sequence. The Canadian earned a new seasons best of 119.50 points (63.40 element score/56.10 program component score) and moved up from third to second with at total of 179.54 points to take her second consecutive medal at Four Continents. She had won the bronze last year. “The first two jumps were very important. I was glad I could stand up strong. I landed too forward, and I knew I wouldn’t do the Sal (Salchow) right. I am glad that I went for it. For Worlds, I’ll have to get the sequence”, Rochette said. “This competition gives me confidence, but on the other hand, each competition is different. But I know I can do the triple-triple sequence.”
Overnight leader Mao Asada was up next. Skating to “Fantaisie Impromptu” by Frederic Chopin, she nailed a beautiful triple Axel, a triple Lutz, triple loop, a triple flip-triple loop combination as well as a two more double Axels. She also went for the triple flip-triple toeloop combination, but the second jump was cheated and downgraded. The 17-year-old produced a level-four spiral sequence, flying sit and flying combination spin in her and was awarded a level three for the footwork and two other combination spins. The performance was smooth and effortless. The Japanese scored 132.31 points (71.91/60.40) and racked up a total score of 193.25 points to claim the gold. She achieved a new seasons best score. “Before my program, I was very nervous, but when I started to skate I felt stronger. And so I am very happy about how I skated today. I am especially pleased to have landed the triple Axel and I will try my best for the World Championships”, the skater told the press.
Ando had drawn to skate last. The first element in her “Carmen” program was planned as a triple Lutz-triple loop combination, but she doubled the second jump and had a wobbly landing on it. The reigning World Champion then popped her quadruple Salchow into a single and stumbled out of it, but then she rallied back to complete four clean triples as well as a double Axel-double loop combination and difficult spins three of which got a level four. When she finished her performance she knew it wouldn’t be enough this time. Ando earned 117.59 points (60.85/56.74), setting a new seasonal best for herself. Overall she slipped from second to third at 177.66 points.
“I am sad about popping the quad Salchow and missing the triple-triple combination. I was thinking too much about the quad, that’s why I just popped it”, Ando commented. “But everything is ok. I
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was skating well in practice in the second part (of the program), but I didn’t practice enough the first part.”
Na-Young Kim (KOR) was fourth with a solid performance that included four clean triples and three level-four spins. She only stepped out of an underrotated triple toe at the end (158.49 points). Mira Leung (CAN) finished fifth (157.36 points). She had a seasons best performance with four triples. Katrina Hacker (USA) came in sixth at 153.06 points. The American made no error and landed five triple jumps.
For full results please see: www.isu.org. The 2008 ISU Four Continents Championships conclude Sunday with the Exhibition Gala.