Golden Skate

Asada leads ladies in Paris

Japan's Mao Asada placed first in the Ladies Short Program with her routine to Fantasia for Violin and Orchestra.

Japan’s Mao Asada won the Ladies Short Program event by a small margin over USA’s Kimmie Meissner and Estonia’s Elena Glebova, who placed second and third respectively.

Asada captivated the audience with her ethereal routine to Fantasia for Violin and Orchestra by Jean-Claude Petit, but failed to win over the more discriminating technical panel. Her triple Lutz was penalized for using the wrong take-off edge which cost the 2007 World silver medalist one point from the total elements score.

The Japanese champion also singled a triple loop and her spiral sequence was awarded only a level one. Asada only received 27.50 points for technical elements, but combined with her program component score of 29.40 points, earned a total of 56.90 points.

“I made a mistake on a jump in the short program,” acknowledged the 17-year-old, who as visibly upset after her program. “Now I hope to do better tomorrow.”

Meissner made the same mistake on her combination jump, receiving a deduction for using the wrong take-off edge on her solo triple flip, but the U.S. champion managed to outscore the Japanese slightly on the technical score (27.94 points) due to the better levels on her spins and one of her spirals. Combined with a program component score of 28.04 points, she is currently in second place with 55.98 points.

“I think it was pretty good,” said Meissner. “[In] the past years, I’ve always made a mistake on my Lutz, so I was pretty excited about that. Now I need to get the next jump (flip).”

“A lot of my levels were what I wanted,” continued the the 17-year-old. “My layback spin got a three! That was huge. I am not a fan of the layback. In between Skate America and Paris, I changed it and it actually got a level three because I don’t do the Biellmann (spin). It’s hard.”

Glebova, who earned the highest technical score (32.40 points) of the evening, landed a triple loop, a triple toeloop-triple toeloop combination, and a double Axel. The student of Anna Kondrashova-Levandi is currently in third place with a total score of 55.24 points for her performance to Concerto de Aranjuez. It is by far her best achievement internationally.

“I didn’t expect that I would be in third place after the short,” conceded Glebova, “but I just did my best. Now I will keep trying to do my best again tomorrow.”

Switzerland’s Sarah Meier is currently in the fourth place with 53.98 (27.14/26.84) points. The current European silver medalist presented a lovely and enchanting program to music from the Patch Adams soundtrack, but her flying sit spin received no grade (presumably because she wasn’t sitting low enough), and her triple flip was executed from the wrong take-off edge. The Swiss champion also experienced problems on her final combination spin which was graded a level one.

USA’s Ashley Wagner attacked her Henry VIII routine with lots of energy, but the 2007 Junior World bronze medalist was penalized for using the wrong take-off edge on a triple Lutz (in combination with a double loop), and her spiral and footwork sequence received only a level one. She is currently fourth with 50.48 points.

Hungary’s Viktoria Pavuk landed a triple Lutz-double toeloop combination, a triple flip, and a double Axel, however the execution of the Lutz was flawed and the landings of all jumps were rather tight. She placed sixth with 44.56 points.

Mira Leung of Canada is currently seventh, followed by Italy’s Valentina Marchei.

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