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.”
Read the rest of the story: Japan’s Mao Asada wins Four Continents skating.
Akiko Suzuki of Japan won the NHK Trophy on Saturday and Brandon Mroz of the United States made skating history by becoming the first to land a quadruple lutz in international competition.
Suzuki held off Mao Asada in the free skate to earn her first Grand Prix title in two seasons. Suzuki, who had an eight-point lead over Asada after the short program, made several mistakes in the final but scored 119.43 points for a total of 185.98, just 1.79 points ahead of Asada.
“I’m very happy to have won my first NHK Trophy, but I’m not at all satisfied with my free skate,” Suzuki said. “I will reflect on my mistakes and try to improve them.”
Read the rest of the story: Japans Suzuki beats Asada for NHK Trophy.
In a unique addition to Mao Asada’s 2010 accomplishes, Japan’s top figure skater now has the honor of holding a Guinness Book world record. On April 11th, at the Stars on Ice tour in Tokyo, Mao Asada was officially award the Guinness Record for the most triple axels performed by a women in one competition; she had completed three at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, one in her short program and two in her free. The Guinness record tops off her strong 2009-2010 season where she took Silver in the Olympics, won at the World Championships for the second time, as well as took first in the Four Continents tournament and Japan National Championships.
Mao Asada finally dethroned Olympic champion Kim Yu-Na to put Japan on top of the medals table on the final day of the 100th world figure skating championships on Saturday.
Olympic runner-up Asada claimed her second world title after Gothenburg in 2008, as teammate Daisuke Takahashi became the first Asian to win the men’s gold earlier in the week.
Asia claimed an unprecedented three of the four titles on offer as, for the first time, Europe failed to take at least one gold.
Asada finished second behind Kim in the free program but it was enough to seal her first victory over her long-time rival since the Grand Prix Final in December 2008.
Read the rest of the story: Asada beats Kim to seal golden skating worlds for Japan
Less than two months before the 2006 Olympics, Mao Asada of Japan became the first woman to land two triple-axel jumps in the same program.
And Asada wasn’t a two-trick pony then.
She was, at age 15, the best women’s figure skater in the world, winner of the 2006 Grand Prix Final, the one about whom everyone said: “Mao — Wow!”
But she had to watch the last Olympics on television.
Asada had the bad luck of having been born 87 days too late to meet the International Skating Union’s minimum age requirement – 15 years old by July 1 of the preceding year — for the Winter Olympics.
Read the rest of the story: At 19, Japan’s Mao Asada already skating on thin ice