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Yu-Na Kim Continues to Shine; Lands in First Place After Cup of China Short Program

Yu-Na Kim of South Korea continues to shine on the ISU Grand Prix circuit. The teenage phenom won the ladies short program at Cup of China in Beijing's Capital Gymnasium Thursday. Japan’s Miki Ando and Laura Lepistö from Finland came in second and third, respectively.

Kim, the two-time World bronze medalist, scored 63.64 points (34.48 element score/29.16 program component score). “I was more nervous than at Skate America, and I made an error on my triple Lutz,” Kim admitted. “I’m still in first place, and I want to give my best in the free skating.”

Performing to “Danse Macabre” by Camille Saint-Saens, Kim landed a superb triple flip-triple toe loop combination, a double Axel and showed exquisite spins, two of which were graded a level four. However, the 18-year-old two-footed and underrotated the triple Lutz.

Ando scored a season best of 59.30 points (32.26/27.04). “My score was higher than at Skate America, and I’m happy about this, " Ando said.

Ando opened her program to “The Chairman’s Waltz” from the “Memoirs of a Geisha” with a big triple Lutz-triple loop combination, but she stumbled on her triple flip and landed it forward. The 2007 World champion went on to complete a double Axel and a level-three step sequence. Her combination spin received a level four, while her layback and the flying sit spin were a level two.

"[Overall] I’m not so happy with my performance. I’m a little disappointed,” Ando said. “I changed my steps into the triple flip, because I got some minus (grade of execution) for it at Skate America, but I knew that there was not enough time for practicing it, so I missed it today.”

Lepistö, the 2008 European bronze medalist, earned 58.60 points (33.60/25.00). “My performance was pretty good today. A couple of levels could have been higher, but the jumps were good. Otherwise I felt comfortable on the ice,” the 20-year-old said.

Lepistö's routine set to “Imagined Oceans” by Karl Jenkins featured a triple toe loop-triple toe loop combination, a triple loop, a double Axel as well as a level-four flying sit spin. The combination spin and spiral sequence were graded a level three.

Ashley Wagner (USA) is currently standing in fourth place with 55.40 points. She missed her triple Lutz and had no combination, but she landed a triple flip and got high levels for her spins and steps. Katrina Hacker (USA) was fifth at 50.80 points. She executed a triple toe-double toe combination and a triple loop.

Pairs Short Program

China’s Dan Zhang and Hao Zhang captured the pairs short program. Tatiana Volosozhar and Stanislav Morozov of the Ukraine edged out China’s Qing Pang and Jian Tong for second place.

Zhang and Zhang delivered a strong performance to “Riding on the Wings of Songs” by Felix Mendelssohn.
The reigning World silver medalists earned 67.12 points (38.56 element score/28.56 program component score).

“We are happy with our performance today. It was quite challenging, but the elements were well done,” Dan Zhang said. "We don’t care much about the score; we just want to skate our best. We are training to receive the highest levels for our elements, but sometimes in competition a little thing might be lacking. We just have to execute each element cleanly so that the technical specialists give us the highest level.”

The Chinese duo completed a big triple twist, throw triple loop and side-by-side triple Salchows. Their difficult hand-to-hip lift with change of direction, tdeath spiral and pair combination spin were all graded a level four, but their spiral sequence only earned a level two.

Volosozhar and Morozovscored 60.34 points (35.94/24.40). “It was quite good, and we only had one small mistake on the throw," Morozov said. “This was more of a psychological than technical error as the throw works usually very well for us.”

The Ukrainians landedside-by-side triple toe loops and a high triple twist, but Volosozhar two-footed the throw triple loop. The Ukrainian champions were awarded a level four for the one-armed lift, the death spiral and pair spin as well as a level three for their side-by-side spins and the spiral sequence.

Pang and Tong scored 59.36 points (33.72/27.64). “We are not so happy. We were tense and we hope to skate better tomorrow,” Pang said. The pair reeled off a triple toe loop and a triple twist, but Pang fell on the throw triple loop. The couple recovered to execute a level-four death spiral, spiral sequence, lift and pair spin. The 2006 World champions received a deduction for the fall and for a timing violation.

“Since the World Championships, we were afraid of mistakes in our solo jumps and we’ve worked very hard to solve this problem," Tong said. "We need to gain more confidence and the free skating will be a challenge for us. We will try to do our best.”

Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig (USA) came in fourth at 51.48 points. She stepped out of the side-by-side triple Salchow and the jump was downgraded, but they completed a triple twist and a nice throw triple loop.

Compulsory Dance

The Compulsory Dance at the Cup of China was the Viennese Waltz. Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin of Russia took the lead with Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto (USA) and Jana Khokhlova and Sergei Novitski (RUS) following in second and third, respectively.