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Ya-Na Kim Scores Run Away Victory

Asian Ladies Sweep the Podium at Skate America

Yu-Na Kim scored a dominant victory at Skate America in Everett, Wash. this afternoon. The South Korean sensation outscored her nearest opponent by over 20 points. Japan's Yukari Nakano took the silver and Miki Ando claimed the bronze.

Kim gave two superb performances and compiled 193.45 overall points in her golden effort. In her free skate today, Kim performed a lovely program and hit seven triple jumps. Her only mistake came when she popped a plan triple loop to a single.

Skating to “Sheherazade” by Nikolai Rimski-Korsakov, Kim nailed a huge triple flip-triple toe loop combination, a triple Lutz-double toe-double loop, a double Axel-triple toeloop, another triple Lutz and triple Salchow. She also earned a level three for two spins and a level four for the combination spin.

The two-time and reigning World bronze medalist racked up 123.95 points (63.95 element score/60.00 program component score) and claimed victory with a total of 193.45 points.

“I am satisfied with both programs here and I’d like to keep that pace for the season,” said Kim, 18. “I tried to do the program like in practice. I was a bit nervous, but when I regarded it as a practice, I found confidence. There were a lot of Koreans in the audience and I felt like I was in Korea, very comfortable.”

Nakano headed into the free skate in third but rallied to move on to the second step of the podium with an overall score of 172.53 points. She opened her routine to “Giselle” by Adolphe Adam with a double Axel followed by a triple flip-double toe and four more triples. Her flying camel spin was graded a level four, the other two spins a level three.

The 23-year-old scored 115.07 points (58.43/56.64). “I felt a little sorry that I didn’t attempt a triple-triple combination or the triple Axel. After the six minutes warm-up I had a discussion with my coach, and he said that it is too early for the triple-triple combination but that the decision about the triple Axel is entirely up to me. I thought about it, but I didn’t feel so secure and decided not to do it this time,” Nakano said.

Ando also skated to “Giselle.” She attempted a triple toe-triple loop combination, but the second jump was downgraded. Ando went on to land five clean triples. Her camel spin was judged only a level one and the spiral sequence a level two. The remaining steps and spins were awarded a level three. The 20-year-old earned 110.62 points (58.46/52.16) and slipped to third at 168.42 points overall.

“We didn’t know that we both picked 'Giselle.' We found out in July at a press conference in Japan, but our programs were ready and it was too late to change anything. I think everyone can see that we are very different Giselles,” Ando said. “I felt my triple-triple was clean, but the technical panel regarded it as cheated. I’m not disappointed or sad about that, I just have to practice more, because I’m loosing many points due to the downgrades.”

In her international debut at the senior level, American Rachael Flatt, the 2008 World junior champion, finished fourth (155.73 points). Her routine to “La Mer” by Claude Debussy featured four triple jumps and three level-four spins.

U.S. champion Mirai Nagasu was fifth with 142.90 points and 2005 European silver medalist Susanna Pöykiö (FIN) came in sixth (142.14 points).

Last year's champion, Kimmie Meissner struggled and finished in eighth place overall.

FINAL STANDINGS

1 Yu-Na KIM KOR (193.45)
2 Yukari NAKANO JPN (172.53 )
3 Miki ANDO JPN (168.42 )
4 Rachael FLATT USA (155.73)
5 Mirai NAGASU USA (142.90)
6 Susanna PÖYKIÖ FIN (142.14)
7 Mira LEUNG CAN (136.16)
8 Kimmie MEISSNER USA (135.92)
9 Yan LIU CHN (128.12)
10 Annette DYTRT GER (116.83)
11 Tugba KARADEMIR TUR (113.91)
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Valentina MARCHEI ITA

ICE DANCE

In ice dance, reigning World champions Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder were golden in Everett with 187.64 overall points. Americans Tanith Bel bin and Ben Agosto won the free dance and claimed the silver. Sinead Kerr and John Kerr of Great Britian took the bronze.

Delobel and Schoenfelder free skate to Pink Floyd music was flat. Their program was highlighted by several beautiful lifts, including a curve lift in a low position and a rotational lift with him holding his partner first up than lowering her while turning. Their timing was off on the final lift of their routine correctly and they received a one-point deduction. Yet they manages to hang on for a victory of 1.11 point over the American team. "We have to improve the technique," Schoenfelder said. "Some lifts and steps aren't ready."

Belbin and Agosto perfotmed a dramatic program set to the music “Tosca.” It featured a serpentine lift with changes of position for both partners, fast twizzles and intricate footwork. The lifts, the twizzles and the spin were all graded a level four, the diagonal steps were a level three and the circular steps a level two.

The 2006 Olympic silver medalists picked up 91.43 points (46.00/45.43) to win the Free Dance segment but finished second overall just behind the French with 186.53 points. “We are so pleased with the progress that we made under the tutelage of our new coaches with our renewed energy and confidence,” Belbin said.

Kerr and Kerr chose a haunting song “Ruled by Secrecy” by Muse for their free dance and produced interesting lifts like one with her in a handstand position and a level-four circular step sequence. Sinead Kerr was off balance on a twizzle, and a rotational lift got only a level one.

The brother-and-sister team scored 88.09 points (43.90/44.19). They finished fourth in the free dance but remained in third place overall with 180.20 points to capture the first Grand Prix medal of their career.

“I think we probably skated a little bit better at our first event of the season in Finland,” John Kerr admitted. “Obviously this was a much higher level competition so we probably felt under a little more pressure to perform well. We were ever so slightly behind the music tonight so that was a little disappointing. For us coming into this event our aim was to try to get in the top three and we achieved that."

Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates of the United States were solid in their senior debut at the international level. They placed fourth.

They put out a technically demanding free dance to “Amazonic,” earning a level four for all elements but for the midline step sequence that was a level three and were ranked third in the free dance (175.66 points).

Pernelle Carron and Mathieu Jost (FRA) were ranked fifth (166.92 points). They danced to “Hurricanes and Butterflies” by Muse. Ekaterina Rubleva and Ivan Shefer (RUS) were sixth with a Flamenco Medley (159.03 points).

FINAL STANDINGS

1 Isabelle DELOBEL / Olivier SCHOENFELDER FRA (187.64)
2 Tanith BELBIN / Benjamin AGOSTO USA (186.53)
3 Sinead KERR / John KERR GBR (180.20)
4 Emily SAMUELSON / Evan BATES USA (175.66)
5 Pernelle CARRON / Mathieu JOST FRA (166.92)
6 Ekaterina RUBLEVA / Ivan SHEFER RUS (159.03)
7 Jane SUMMERSETT / Todd GILLES USA (156.62)
8 Katherine COPELY / Deividas STAGNIUNAS LTU (156.28)
9 Allie HANN-McCURDY / Michael CORENO CAN (142.95)


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