Kims wins second consecutive Grand Prix Final gold

Yu-Na Kim of South Korea won her second consecutive Grand Prix Final, while Japan’s Mao Asada rose from sixth place after the short to win her second consecutive silver. Carolina Kostner of Italy maintained third overall to win the bronze.

Asada, who stood in sixth after the short, opened her routine with a triple Axel and a triple flip-triple toeloop combination. The World silver medalist was penalized for using the wrong take-off edge on a triple Lutz, but otherwise produced three more triple jumps, a double Axel-double loop-double loop combination, and three level four spins.

The Japanese champion earned 132.55 (73.35/59.20) points for a first place finish in the long, and with a total score of 191.59 points, rose to second place overall.

“Yesterday in the Short Program I made two big mistakes,” said the 17-year-old. “That was shocking. I never had left out the triple Lutz in my Short Program before. Today I was able to do all my jumps. When I finished my clean performance I felt so emotional and pleased that the tears flowed.”

Kim fell on a triple loop early in her Miss Saigon routine, but otherwise landed six solid triple jumps. The defending champion was also awarded a level four on all four spins and delivered a very god level three straightline footwork sequence.

The 2007 World bronze medalist earned 132.21 (72.25/60.96) points for a second place finish in the long, but with a total score of 196.83, placed first overall to win the event.

“I was the last skater and I was nervous,” said the 17-year-old. “My score was close to my personal best, so I’m pleased with that. Last year (at the Final), I didn’t do a perfect performance and I wasn’t too happy with it, and I had an injury. But this year my body is healthy. I can do a clean program and I’ll try my best for the next competition.”

Kostner placed third in the long with a a new personal best of 119.07 (60.35/58.72) points, and with a total score of 178.93, edged out USA’s Caroline Zhang for the bronze.

“I have many, many emotions when skating in front of my home crowd,” said the 20-year-old. This is a special place for me. It is historical for me just to participate in the Final, and to win a medal means even more.”

The current European champion singled a flip early in her routine and at the end, stepped out of the landing of a double Axel. She otherwise produced a total of six good triple jumps, two level four spins, and a very good level three straightline footwork sequence.

“The level of this competition is very high,” said Kostner, “and there are the six best women skaters of the World in this event. I’m very satisfied because I have been able to do what I wanted. The huge applause meant that the audience had fun and I felt the energy during my performance.”

Zhang, who stood in second after the short, was penalized for using the wrong take-off edge on both triple Lutzes – one of which she underrotated and fell on. Despite the errors, the 14-year-old otherwise produced four more triple jumps, two double Axels, and three level four spins including a unique layback spin which she has coined the “pearl”.

The U.S. junior silver medalist scored a new personal best of new personal best of 114.66 (62.22/53/44) points for a fourth place finish, but with a total score of 176.48 points, slipped to fourth overall.

Yukari Nakano of Japan, who stood in fourth after the short, slipped to fifth overall (172.96 points) after placing fifth in the long with 113.18 (59.06/55.12) points.

The 22-year-old was penalized for using the wrong take-off edge on a triple flip in combination with a double toeloop. She also later fell on a triple toeloop, but otherwise landed five triple jumps including a triple Axel.

USA’s Kimmie Meissner fell from fourth to sixth overall (154.22 points) after placing sixth in the long with 95.14 (43.66/54.48) points. The U.S. champion fell on both triple Lutzes as well as her opening triple flip, which was also penalized for use of the wrong take-off edge.

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