The 2012 ISU World Team Trophy in Figure Skating continued with the Ladies Short Program. Carolina Kostner of Italy skated to the lead in the Ladies short program ahead of Japan’s Akiko Suzuki and Kanako Murakami.
Kostner delivered a clean performance to Allegretto that was highlighted by a triple toe-triple toe, triple loop, and difficult spins and footwork. The World Champion improved her performance from Nice (where she had doubled the loop) and scored a new personal best of 69.48 points.
“On the one hand, I was asking myself if I would be more nervous because I came here as the World Champion,” offered Kostner. “On the other hand, we can be happy to be here at all as we are the fifth team.”
“Before the six-minute warm up, Ashley (Wagner) said this is the last short program of the season,” continued the 25-year-old. “For me it was a chance to improve it and it is great to say farewell to this program in this way.”
Suzuki gave a solid performance to Hungarian Rhapsody, completing a triple toe-triple toe and a triple Lutz, as well as three level-four elements. The World bronze medalist earned 67.51 points—a new personal best.
“As I didn’t want to repeat the same mistake I did at Worlds, I was so cautious after I landed the triple toe-triple toe,” said the 27-year-old. “Anyway, I was able to perform my best short program without major mistakes at the end of the season.”
Murakami excited the crowd at Yoyogi Stadium with her Violin Muse program, reeling off a triple toe-triple toe, triple flip, and double Axel. She scored a new personal best of 63.78 points.
“I was very nervous,” admitted the 17-year-old, “but all team members and the audience helped me to be relaxed. I had a little stumble before going into the triple-triple toe, but I was so confident about the combination that I was able to do it. I am so happy to have performed without a mistake today. I actually enjoyed this short program.”
USA’s Gracie Gold, 16, celebrated a successful debut at a senior-level event with her fourth place finish. The World Junior silver medalist landed a triple flip-triple toe combo, but stepped out of the triple Lutz to score 59.07 points.
“It was fun,” said the teenager. “I really enjoyed myself and I skated really nicely. That is all I was hoping for. I didn’t feel too much pressure, I was here to skate. It went well for my first time senior. I have never been to Japan before and I’ve never skated in a senior world-level competition. It looks like I was judged where I was expecting.”
USA’s Ashley Wagner fell on an underrotated double Axel to place fifth at 57.52 points.
“That performance was a nice mixture of ups and downs, literally,” said Wagner. “The triple flip-triple toe combination got full credit and was pretty decent. The double Axel was a silly mistake.”
“This is a fun competition, end of the season,” added the 2012 Four Continents Champion. “It was the last chance to do a nice short program. I got something out of it, and I’m not worried about the Axel, but it’s one of those things that happen every now and then.”
Adelina Sotnikova of Russia finished in sixth place with 56.12 points. She underrotated the back end of her triple toe-triple toe combination and stumbled on the triple flip.
“This wasn’t very good,” noted the Russian Champion. “I didn’t show what I can do. The team event is more fun, but you still don’t want to let your team down and I think I did let them down today. I had a couple of mistakes.”
“For the free skating I want to pull myself together and want to skate clean,” summed up the 15-year-old. “This is my goal, but I still have to achieve it.”
Yretha Silete of France sits in seventh after a clean program which included a triple toe-triple toe. She scored 54.83 points.
“I felt totally relaxed in my program,” said the 17-year-old. “I had nothing to lose. My coach told me, ‘go and attack’ and that’s what I did.”
“After the World Championships, I thought the season would be over because we weren’t sure that we would qualify for this event,” explained the two-time French Champion. “I was ready for Worlds and I just had to keep the shape I was in.”
Russia’s Alena Leonova faded to ninth (50.92), however, she has been fighting a cold with fever and a sore throat. The 2012 World silver medalist singled the flip and underrotated her triple toe-triple toe combination. She left the ice in tears.
At the end of the day, Team Japan needed a tie breaker to edge out Team USA. Both teams collected 45 points each in the first three events: short dance, Men’s and Ladies short programs, however, the the higher sum of the two best individual placements broke the tie in favor of Japan.