Monday, May 2, 2011

Kyodo news, The Associated Press: Ando overtakes Kim to claim world crown

 Moscow — Miki Ando wrapped up the best season of her career with a come-from-behind victory over Olympic champion Kim Yu Na of South Korea at the world championships Saturday.

 On top of the world: Miki Ando performs her free skate program at the world championships on Saturday in Moscow. Ando posted the best score of the night and passed Kim Yu Na to win the world title.

 Ando received 130.21 points in the free skate to finish with a total of 195.79 for her first world title in four years and second overall, while Mao Asada moved up only one spot from Friday's short program to finish in sixth place.
 Ando, second in the short program, under-rotated one of her triple jumps in an otherwise flawless performance.
 "I had a strong determination on the rink," the 23-year-old said. "I was hoping to finish anywhere on the podium this time, but I'm thrilled I ended up with the gold medal."
 Ando won five of her six events in the 2010-11 season while earning the highest score in the free skate in all six events.
 "I skated for my country," Ando said, referring to the March 11 earthquake that devastated northeastern Japan and forced the relocation of the championships from Tokyo to Moscow.
 "I hope my performance here encourages people back home and helps bring back their smiles. It wasn't a perfect performance, but I came close to my season-best score."
 Kim made mistakes on her jumps early on and finished 1.79 points behind Ando.
 Carolina Kostner of Italy claimed the bronze with 184.68.
 In ice dance, Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White won the first world gold for their country in the discipline, outpointing 2010 champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada. The American sister-brother team of Maia and Alex Shibutani won bronze.
 The free programs of Ando and Kim contained languid moves interspersed with moments of power and steely control. They were within less than half a point of each other going into the free skate.
 Ando, skating to Grieg's "Piano Concerto in A Minor," in the final group of six, opened with a triple lutz-double toe loop. She didn't falter until the middle of the program, when she stepped out of a double axel and reduced the planned combination triple toe to a double.
 But she regained her poise, had three more solid triples and a double axel-double loop-double loop cascade so surprising that it drew gasps from the crowd.
 "My practice was perfect here, and I was going to do the same," Kim said. "But I hadn't competed for so long. That's why. I've been training such a long time. I spent the hardest time in my life mentally. I'm just glad I finished."
 Mao was never in contention.
 She under-rotated her signature triple axel during her skate and finished with 172.79.
 "It wasn't my 100 percent, but I did the best I could," Mao said. "I've been working on my triple axel for a long time, so I wanted to nail it, though."
 Sixteen-year-old Kanako Murakami (167.10), the other Japanese in the competition, was eighth in her first world championships.


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