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Japan’s Skating Champion Mao Asada wins Four Continents

Two-time world champion Mao Asada won figure skating’s Four Continents on Sunday, leading a Japanese sweep.

After reintroducing her trademark triple axel in Saturday’s short program, Asada was downgraded on the jump in Sunday’s free skate but was solid in her other elements to finish with 205.45 points. Akiko Suzuki was second with 190.08 points while Kanako Murakami finished third with 181.03.

Christina Gao of the United States finished fourth while Li Zijun of China was fifth.

”The short program exceeded expectations and the free met my expectations,” said Asada, who skated to Tchaikovsky’s ”Swan Lake.” ”I am happy I was able to challenge the triple axel and that has given me confidence.”

Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford won the pairs event, with U.S. champions Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir third.

In the ice dance final, world silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the U.S. won the gold medal. Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates were third.

Asada had been struggling with the triple axel since the Vancouver Olympics but was able to win four events this season without it. She pulled it off to perfection Saturday when she finished first in the short program. Despite being downgraded on the jump Sunday, Asada plans to attempt it at the world championships in London, Ontario, next month, hoping to ”build on the success I’ve had here.”

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