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Mirai Nagasu Upsets Favorites in Ladies Short

America’s Mirai Nagasu was on a high after claiming top spot in the ladies short program yesterday. Olympic silver medalist Mao Asada of Japan placed second ahead of Finland’s Laura Lepistö.

Nagasu landed a triple-triple combination but the second jump was deemed cheated and received a downgrade. The 16-year-old earned a season high score of 70.40 points for her program to “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

“I’m really happy about the way I skated and I’m really happy I was able to do a triple-triple here,” she said. “It was really important for me to do that jump. At the Olympics I was so disappointed, because I couldn’t do it, and I think that took me out of medal contention.”

Asada attempted the triple Axel-double toe loop combination, but under-rotated the Axel. The 2008 World champion received solid marks for her spins, spirals and footwork and scored 68.08 points. “Of course I’m very disappointed because of the downgraded Axel, but I think I was able to perform all relatively well. And I think I picked up the momentum for going into tomorrow’s long program,” Asada said.

Skating to “Imagined Oceans,” Lepistö nailed the triple toe-triple toe combination, stumbled on the triple flip and earned 64.30 points. “I’m quite satisfied with my skating today. The double Axel was quite difficult today," she said. “Maybe I am little bit surprised about being in third place but I just worked to concentrate on my performance and skating, not on the placement.”

Italy’s Carolina Kostner placed fourth with 62.20 and Ksenia Makarova from Russia is sitting in fifth with 62.06 points. Rachael Flatt finished sixth (60.88 points).

The biggest upset of the competition was the placement of Korea’s Yu-Na Kim, the newly minted Olympic champion and heavy favourite for the gold. Kim, who admitted it was hard to get motivated after the pressure of the Olympic Games, made some uncharacteristic errors, missing the layback spin, making a mistake during the spiral sequence and under-rotating the triple flip. She is currently in seventh with 60.30 points.