Golden Skate

Kostner edges out Nagasu for lead at Cup of China

Carolina Kostner

Italy's Carolina Kostner performs to Allegretto from Trio No. 2 by Dmitri Shostakovich.

Italy’s Carolina Kostner took the lead in the Ladies short program at Cup of China on Friday, however, USA’s Mirai Nagasu is trailing her by a mere 0.92 points. Russian wunderkind Adelina Sotnikova follows in third place after a fall.

Kostner opened her exquisite program to the Allegretto from Trio No. 2 by Dmitri Shostakovich with a big triple toe-triple toe combination, but then struggled with her triple loop and put both hands down on the ice. The World bronze medalist didn’t give up and produced a double Axel and two level-four spins to collect a new seasons best of 61.88 points.

“I am not completely satisfied with what I did today,” said Kostner. “At Skate America I got really low levels on the spins, so I was concentrating a lot on the spins this week. I probably was more focused on the spins today than on the jumps and I made a mistake on the loop .I am pleased with my points, but the competition is not over yet.”

Nagasu had a much better outing than last week at Skate Canada. Skating to a playful Tango, she completed a triple loop, triple Lutz-double toe combination (edge call on the Lutz), a double Axel, and all three spins merited a level four. She improved her season best with 60.96 points.

“Since I just competed last week I was determined coming into this competition,” said the 18-year-old, “but there were a couple of setbacks this morning with my boots. I am glad that everything got fixed and I skated the best I could for where I am at right now. My only wish is I’d skated that last week at Skate Canada.”

The scare this morning in practice was about a cracked heel on her skating boot.

“Last year, I noticed that a lot of skaters’ heels cracked, but I never thought it would happen to me,” said Nagasu. “When it cracked and was moving a bit, I freaked out to be honest. For this to happen in the morning of my competition was a little bit stressful, but it gave me time to fix the boots.”

Coach Frank Carroll and the team leader made sure to secure the heel with extra long screws.

Sotnikova missed the opening triple Lutz that she had planned in combination with a triple loop, but she tacked a double toe to the triple flip instead. The World Junior Champion got a level four for all spins to score 53.74 points.

“I am not pleased because I didn’t do the big triple- triple combination I had planned, but I did another combination,” the 15-year-old commented. “Hopefully I’ll be able to show everything I can tomorrow. When I fell, I pulled myself together, because I know there are other elements left and if I don’t do them I will have nothing.”

Sotnikova also revealed that she suffered from an injury due to over training earlier this fall, but said that she is recovered now.

Kanako Murakami of Japan lost points when she underrotated the triple toe in her combination with a triple flip, and also cheated the loop that she two-footed. The 2010 World Junior Champion came fourth with 53.09 points. She was in tears when she came off the ice.

To the delight of the home crowd, China’s Kexin Zhang put out a solid program with a triple toe-triple toe to place fifth with 52.85 points.

Teammage Bingwa Geng  also skated well, completing a triple Lutz-double toe and a triple toe (52.61 points).

Valentina Marchei of Italy improved her performance from Skate America and made no major mistakes, completing a triple Lutz-double toe, triple Salchow, and double Axel (52.42 points).

USA’s Christina Gao hit her triple flip-triple toe combo, but crashed on the double Axel and also received an edge call for the Lutz. She is currently ranked eighth with 51.99 points.

“I am upset about the Axel, but I’m happy with my combo and the Lutz because I was injured all summer,” Gao explained. “I had an injury to my hip and was off the ice for about a month. I started really training about a month ago, so I didn’t have so much time.”

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