Ladies Event

by Alexandra Stevenson

The Ladies Referee was Gale Tanger. Shin Amano was the Technical Specialist and 1980 Olympic champion Anett Poetzsch-Rauschenbach, the Assistant Technical Specialist. U.S. Judge Tamie K. Campbell was seated for both Short and Long Programs

1.  Mao Asada, Japan; Total Score 197.58; 2.Short Program 68.08 (37.12+30.96); 2.Free Skate 129.50 (67.02+62.48); What a wonderful opportunity to see the worldís top two Ladies, who are both still only 19 and have been battling for years. They could easily continue to the Olympics in Sochi in Russia in 2014. Some of their fans, however, are getting quite over-the-top. They behave more like rabid soccer supporters who trash their opponents. Without first class rivals, the event would be so much poorer. How can a fan be so blind to the value of their favoriteís competitors.

In the Short Program, Asada drew to skate 45th, with ten skaters remaining. Her Waltz Masquerade scored far less than her best because her triple Axel in the combination with the double toe was downgraded. However, her triple flip earned +1.0 GoE and the double Axel +2.0. All her Levels were 4 except for the Level 3 +0.80 Circular Steps.

At that point, although she was in the lead, she was obviously disappointed by the marks. It must have been a nerve wracking wait until she knew, for sure, that she had only been beaten by one competitor, Mirai Nagasu. Since there was an ice resurface before the final six skaters, it was almost an hour and a half until the final competitor, Alena Leonova, finished skating.

Asada said, "I really felt inspired by the performance of my friend Daisuke and I'm confident for tomorrow." In her Free Skate, set to RachmaninovThe Bells of Moscow, Asada performed second of the final group of six skaters. By coincidence, this was again immediately following the great local hope Carolina Kostner, who received a tremendous home crowd reception on both occasions.

Asada received credit for the full rotation for her first element, the triple Axel, but not the second, a triple Axel to double toe loop. Her other jumps, triple flip to double loop, triple loop, triple flip combined with two double loops, triple toe and double Axel all received the base value or better. Her Level moves all earned Level 4 except for the Level 3 straight line steps and their GoEs ranged from a low of +0.40 flying sit spin up to +1.60 for her spirals.

She was obviously much more relaxed as she left the ice after this portion. "For both the Short and the Free Program I was aiming at a perfect program. I accomplished that relatively well and Iím happy with the perfection I achieved today and with the gold medal." Her official coach has been Tatiana Tarasova since the summer of 2008 but the famed teacher has been mostly in Russian and Asada has worked with her assistant in Japan. Asked what will happen in the future, Asada fudged. Tarasova told this reporter in Vancouver that she expected this to be her last season because the travel was too demanding for her.

About coming to Italy, Asada said, "Of course, the Olympic Games were the most important event. After that I was relieved. It took some time and effort to get back into training. I was aiming at perfect performances for both Short and Free Program. To be honest, I didnít think at the beginning of the season (when things went so badly for her that she didnít qualify for the Grand Prix Final) that I would be sitting here (with her second world title). I had to continue to challenge myself and push myself to try the triple Axel. At the end of the season the triple Axel went quite well.

"The spirit of challenge has helped me to get where I was today. We (Yu-Na and Mao) have been competing against each other since we were juniors. It has been a long time that I feel I have to work harder because of her. Thanks to her I grow as a skater and I will be encouraged to work harder even from now on. I was not nervous before this competition. Iím satisfied with this competition and it is a relief after the Olympic Games. Iím so happy to be here (as champion) today. Iíve trained so hard to do the triple Axel perfectly. I wanted to follow Takahashi's success. I think that Europe is a lucky place for me. Next year the World Championships are in Japan and I think this is a good start to the new season."

2.  Yu-Na Kim, South Korea; 190.79; 7.SP 60.30 (30.02+30.28); 1.FS 130.49 (66.45+55.04 -1.0); Kim was stoic about her melt-down and subsequence recovery, saying, "I'm half excited and half frustrated right now. Iíd like to use this silver medal as a steppingstone for the next Olympics in Sochi."

Her lovely James Bond Girl routine was very uncharacteristically full of mistakes. She even messed up one of her spirals, which brought that element down to Level 1 and she got a negative -0.54 off that low base value. No one predicted she would be lying seventh. She had scored 18.20 points more, a world record with this routine in Vancouver. "I didnít expect to perform like that," Kim readily admitted. "My first element (the triple Lutz to triple toe loop combination of jumps) was perfect although I didnít feel at ease on my left foot."

Then she had trouble with the triple flip and the rotation was downgraded. Instead of the base value 5.50 for the triple flip plus whatever GoE the judges chose to award, she ended up with a minimal 1.46 points. Then she completely messed up her layback spin and received no points whatsoever. She said, "Itís the first time that Iíve missed an element other than the jumps. Iím surprised." The base value of a Level 4 layback spin is 2.70 plus GoE.

"One week ago, before I got here, I was a little bit scared. But I was ready. My Short Program and the morning (Free) practice were not very good and I was worried. But in the warm up, the jumps were good and I felt confident about the Free Skating. Iím still very motivated even more so because it will be the last program of the season." Kim had been unbeaten since December 2008 when Asada took the gold in the Grand Prix Final in Kimís own country. Although Kim bounced back from the abysmal Short to win the Free, she had lost much too much ground and was unable to keep the world title she earned in Los Angeles in 2009.

Her Free, which she performed in royal blue 15th of the 24 who qualified for this section to Gershwinís romantic Piano Concerto in F, was judged to be the best Free, 0.99 points better than Asadaís and 8.45 points ahead of the third-ranked Free presented by Miki Ando. But, it was by no means perfect, and the routine deteriorated significantly towards the end.

She began with a magnificent +2.20 triple Lutz to triple toe combination of jumps which was awarded three out of a possible nine maximum +3s Grades of Execution, a +2.00 triple flip and a +1.40 double Axel to double toe loop to double loop, with a variation of hand over head during the rotation of the last jump. Her spins and the spirals were all Level 4 with positive GoEs although the flying sit was awarded only +0.10 GoE over its base value.

Then Kim fell on a triple Salchow. She immediately recovered and executed a very high +1.40 GoE second triple Lutz. But, obviously shaken and doubting herself, she popped her final jumping pass, planned as double Axel into double toe loop, which has a base value of 4.80, and received no points at all for this element.

3.  Laura LepistŲ, Finland; 178.62; 3.SP 64.30 (34.98+29.32); 6.FS 114.32 (54.24+60.08); LepistŲ, 21, the European champion in 2009 and silver medalist this season in Tallinn in January, was eighth in her debut in Worlds in 2008 and sixth last year. She was also sixth in the Olympic Games. She performed her Short Program to Karl Jenkinsí Imagined Oceans.

Skating 48th, LepistŲ nailed her triple combination of two triple toe loops, earning +1.60 over the elementís base value of +1.60, which meant she banked 9.60 points. Her triple loop earned a full point over its base value, so she added another 6.0 to her account. However, her double Axel, which has a base value of 3.5 was flawed and had -2.32 GoE removed. Her only Level 4 was her flying sit spin, which earned an added +0.70 to its base value of 3.0. However, one of the nine judges on this panel gave the maximum +3 GoE and all but one other gave +2 for her beautiful layback spin which only had enough "bullets" to get Level 3. The rest of her Level moves were also Level 3.

LepistŲ said, "The double Axel was quite difficult today, so I was actually surprised after that that error to be third. I donít know why I find the double Axel so hard. I felt very confident about my other jumps. Maybe, I lost concentration. It was very hot in the rink. Otherwise, all the others elements were with a good quality. In general, Iím satisfied. Right before I took my starting position, I was really nervous. But, then, I just believed in myself, and crossed my fingers for the triple-triple, trying not to think about it.

"I was convinced I can do the program just as well, if not better, than what I did at the Olympics. It was really important for me to do that jump combo. At the Olympics I was so disappointed, because I couldnít do it, and I think that took me out of medal contention." She had executed only triple-double in the Olympics and lay 10th after the SP. So she concentrated most of her efforts between Vancouver and Torino on the SP. "And today, I got the small bronze medal for the Short Program and that is very honourable for me."

About her Free Skate in Torino, which she performed to Tangos, Adios Nonino and Fuga y Misterio, dressed in red with silver, 22nd of the 24 allowed into this section, she said, "It felt great. Iíve trained my free skate pretty well since the Olympics, but not as hard as my short program. Iím just happy with how I skated tonight. I hope that I can keep improving next year from here. My goal was to do my triple-triple, and put out the best program I could. I think I did that, and Iím really happy about it. Actually, when I came back from Canada, I was really tired and I didnít feel like running through my programs.

"But Iím glad I stuck with it. I think it was a good way to end my season this year. My coach is Virpi Torttana. He has a very calming way about him. I can always draw the calming energy from him. Heís definitely the right coach for me, and I really appreciate everything he does for me. In the beginning of my Free program, I was able to do the most difficult elements."

She gained one +3 GoE for her combination of two triple toe loops with +1.80 GoE and +1.0 on the triple Lutz. Both double Axels, on which she had a serious problem in the SP, were good +1.0. However, both loops were doubled instead of tripled, as was her planned Salchow which she combined with two double toe loops. Her spirals and two of her three spins were Level 4, but the Layback and the circular steps were Level 3.

"I made a couple of mistakes on the easier elements. But in the end, it was a very long and hard season, so I am very happy. The Olympic Games were a good competition for me. I improved my personal best very much, which was one big step forward for me. I was very tired after that, but I was able to find new motivation quite easily. I was in a good shape, and was looking forward for this competition. To beat Asada and Kim, I think the thing is consistency. Of course they are very good skaters and itís hard to win against them. But there are quite many good skaters in Europe too. Weíre getting there. Itís just about consistency."

4.  Miko Ando, Japan; 177.82; 11.SP 55.78 (28.70+28.08 -1.0); 3.FS 122.04 (63.64+58.40); In the SP, the 22-year-old Ando performed 47th just before LepistŲ and immediately following the other Finn Kiira Korpi. Skating to Mozartís Requiem, Ando fell on her opening element, an under-rotated triple Lutz meant to be combined with a triple loop. That mistake obviously upset her and she messed up the landing of her triple flip which following. Those two errors on the most important elements which gain the most marks of the eight requirements, effectively took her out of contention.

Despite a +1.0 double Axel and Level 4 on two of her three spins and the spirals with Level 3 on the other two elements, which all earned the base value or better, she landed up in 11th position. Ando said, "My goal was to skate two clean programs, so that isnít possible anymore. Iím glad I was going for the triple Lutz-triple loop combination and not the triple-double. I feel better because of that. Iíve been dreaming of including that all season. I wasnít nervous about how I can perform."

She performed her Cleopatra SP 14th, following Elene Gedevanishvili and immediately prior to Kim. This performance was far superior and third place in this section pulled her up to fourth overall behind LepistŲ, only 0.80 away from claiming bronze. Ando said, "I was a little bit disappointed with yesterdayís performance, but today I can say that I came back, thanks to the crowd support. Before getting out of the ice I was quite nervous but I didnít want to be overcome by my feelings and emotions. When I heard the crowdís support and encouragement, I felt relaxed. After my failure at the 2006 Torino Olympic Games (in which she finished 15th after being expected to challenge for a medal), I really wanted leave a good impression here in this city. After the Olympic Games in Vancouver the practice for this championship was very hard, but now Iím happy."

5.  Cynthia Phaneuf, Canada; 177.54; 8.SP 59.50 (33.94+25.56); 4.FS 118.04 (61.48+56.56); Overall, fourth, fifth and sixth were practically tied with only 0.51 between fourth and sixth. Phaneuf, who was Canadian champion in 2004 and second nationally three times, has only competed in Worlds three times, in 2005, when she finished 20th, last year, when she was 15th and this year when she made a major step forward. Skating 30th, to a Debussy Nocturne, she gained the fifth highest technical score but only the 13th best components. The 22-year-old from Quebec said, "I am very happy with my performance, even if I could have done better and skate faster. I made a mistake on the triple Lutz. Being here, instead of at the Olympics (where she finished 12th), is very different. I am less nervous because I am not performing in front of my home crowd."

She lost a minuscule -0.16 on her double Axel, but the triple Lutz to double toe had a significant -1.20 removed from the base value. The triple toe loop, which has the lowest base value of all the triple jumps, only 3.0, had +1.0 added. Two of her spins and the spirals were Level 4. The layback and the straight line steps were only Level 3. Apart from the two jump negatives, all the other elements had positive GoEs from a low of +0.50 for the flying sit up to two +1.0s for spirals and the triple toe.

Her Cleopatra Free Skate contained no flaws at all on the 12 elements. She began with a triple toe loop to double Axel sequence, which earned +1.2 over the base value. Then came a +1.0 triple Lutz, a +0.60 triple loop to double toe loop, a +1.00 second triple loop, a +0.50 Level 4 flying sit spin, a +1.0 triple Salchow timed for when the 10% bonus marks kick in, +0.50 Level 2 spirals, +0.40 double Axel, +0.60 Level 2 straight line steps, a +0.80 on the final jumping pass of triple toe loop to double toe loop to double loop, a Level 2 +0.30 change foot sit spin and a +0.60 Level 4 change foot combination spin.

By co-incidence the two skaters portraying Cleopatra for their Free skated in the same group of six skaters, Ando was 14th and Phaneuf 17th. Phaneuf said, "When I started this program in my head, I had just the same feeling as you do at home, that this was the last time I was going to do this program, and I wanted to do it perfect and thatís just happened. This year, I improved with every competition I did. It feels so good just to be out there. It kind of surprised me, about having two Cleopatras because this theme is not very often used. But Iíve had this program for two years now. I think people like it. Next season, Iíll just try to create this confident feeling again. With this performance, Iím going to have that feeling for sure."

6.  Caroline Kostner, Italy; 177.31; 4.SP 62.20 (33.20+29.00); 5.FS 115.11 (54.87+60.24); Skating 44th, to Chopinís Nocturne No.20 and Tchaikovskyís Violin Concerto, home crowd favourite, three-time and current European champion Carolina Kostner, who was only 16th in the Olympics, gained fourth place despite doubling her loop jump. "It was fantastic to skate with this audience shouting my name. My legs trembled because I heard all the criticism after Vancouver. I was also insecure because of the mistakes I had made in the Games. We (she and her coach Christa Fassi) decided to be smart and to reduce."

Instead of the triple flip to triple toe loop she has attempted in the past, she tried only triple-double which earned +0.80 over its base value of 6.80. After the double loop, which was saddled with -1.0, she earned Level +1.80 over the base value for Level 4 spirals. Then came a +1.0 double Axel, a +0.30 Level 3 layback spin, a +0.10 Level 4 flying sit spin, a great circular step sequence which not only was awarded Level 4 but also +2.20 GoE, a product of three judges punching in the maximum +3 and the rest +2. The final move was a Level 4 base value only change foot combination spin.

For the Free, The 23-year-old Kostner said, "My first goal was to end this long season well. I didnít think about the final result, just about skating the best I could. I had to recover after the failure of Olympics Games and I think I did it. I was less nervous than yesterday, more relaxed, and that allowed me to approach the elements more concentrated on doing them well. I have to thank the crowd that supported and pushed me. They moved me."

7.  Mirai Nagasu, USA; 175.48; 1.SP 70.40 (40.20+30.20); 11.FS 105.08 (49.04+57.04 -1.0); First she was up and then she was down. The 16-year-old American Mirai Nagasu has known ups-and-downs before. The child of Japanese parents won the U.S. title in 2008 before she was old enough for World Seniors but then struggled with a growth spurt and was only fifth nationally in 2009. She rebounded to take the runners-up spot this season. She trains with alongside the Olympic champion Evan Lysacek whoís now taking part in Dancing with the Stars. He sent her a twitter after her win in the Short Program. "Wow!!!! So happy for you!"

Skating 50th to Pirates of the Caribbean, Nagasu went for a triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination but the second jump was downgraded and she accumulated only 6.70. However, the following triple flip was good enough for a whole point to be added to its base value and she banked 6.50 points. Her great spirals earned +1.40 over the base value for Level 4. She got two full points over the base value of 3.50 for her double Axel. Her flying sit spin was Level 4 and +0.60.

Then came her incomparable layback spin, which so impressed the nine judges, they all punched in the maximum +3 GoE, which resulted in +1.50 added to the base value. Her circular steps got a "mere" Level 3 but with +0.80 added, and the final move, her Level 4 change foot combination spin gained six +3s GoEs and three +2s which resulted in the addition of 1.30 to the base value of 3.50. She said, "Iím really happy about the way I skated. I think this is the good start for me."

But the next day was completely different. Coach Carroll said, "She kept telling me, ĎIím scared! Iím scared! I'm scared!í before going out on the ice for the free skate, and thatís obviously something we will have to work on." Skating 23rd of the 24 qualifiers with only the Russian US-based Ksenia Makarova to go, Nagasu performed to music from Carmen.

She began by stepping out of a triple Lutz which was saddled with -2.0 being taken off the base value. But then pulled herself together to fly through a +1.40 double Axel to triple toe loop, a +0.80 triple flip, a +0.50 Level 4 flying sit spin and her amazing Level 4 layback spin which, again as it had in the Short Program, moved all nine judges to punch in the maximum +3 GoE.

However, her spirals were "only" Level 3, although they had +0.80 added. Then, as the bonus marks for jumps clicked in, things started to go wrong. Her second triple Lutz was landed messily on two feet and -0.92 was removed from the base value of a double, so she earned only 0.75 for this jump attempt. However, her triple loop to double Axel sequence earned +1.0 over its base value. Then she fell on a downgraded double Axel, and ended up with only 0.38 points for this move. Caroll said, "All season long, we have been telling her, ĎSkate, skate, skateí when she comes out of the spread eagle and goes into the double Axel, but she still has the tendency to slow down, and this time it really was costly."

The following triple toe loop was also downgraded and earned only 1.13 points. Her straight line steps were only Level 2, although they had 0.50 added. She did pull herself together for her final move, the Level 4 change foot combination spin, for which three judges punched in +3 and all but one of the others awarded +2. (The remaining judge thought it deserved only +1.) As she left the ice, Nagasu told Carroll, "Sorry." Her element score was only 14th best although her components were sixth highest.

Nagasu said of her World Senior debut, "It was an honor to skate here. Iím just really disappointed for not stepping up to the plate today and not doing the best I could have done. Coming out of the Olympics in fourth place, (makes) seventh (here overall) just a really big fall. This isnít how Iíve been practicing my program. I told myself (after last yearís disappointment at Nationals), I wouldnít feel like this anymore. And itís a real bummer to feel like this again! It took a lot to get me out of the pits last year and I sort of feel like Iím there again, now."

While it is certainly true she could have done better, seventh in her first Worlds is nothing to be sneezed at. In 1972, when Carlo Fassi persuaded Julie Holmes to retire after the Olympics and let his new pupil Dorothy Hamill go to her first Worlds in Calgary. Hamill got her toe in the door by placing seventh. Four years later Hamill was Olympic champion. Carroll said, "Of (Nagasuís) last six programs, five of them were great."

There was no crying jag as had occurred earlier in the season, in the Cup of China Grand Prix event, where she was first after the Short Program, sixth in the Free and fifth overall. Nagasu did have a plan to cheer herself up. "Iím going to eat a bunch of ice cream! When I get home, Iím going to go on tour and then go to Canada and ask Lori (Nichol, her choreographer) to make me the best programs she can."

8.  Ksenia Markarova, Russia (via Albany, NY); 169.64; 5.SP 62.06 (36.90+25.16); 8.FS 107.58 (55.14+53.44 -1.0); Makarova, the 17-year-old new Russian champion, was a surprise tenth at the Olympics. Skating her Short Program 42nd to Ladies in Lavender by Nigel Hess, she began with a +0.20 combination of two triple toe loops. Although her triple flip had -0.80 removed, the rest of her elements were very good. She gained a full point over the base value of her double Axel, and all but the Level 3 +0.50 straight line steps earned the maximum Level 4. Her flying sit spin gained an additional +0.40; her spirals got an extra 1.0; her change foot combination spin was awarded an extra 0.70 and her final element, the layback spin, got an extra 1.0.

"This time I wasnít nervous at all. I even was surprised myself about that. But, of course, after the Olympic Games the feeling is completely different. I feel much more confident because I know that if I could show clean skating there, I can do that everywhere. And this time I didnít get tired at all. Usually, by the end of a program, you feel exhausted. But, today, I did one element after another and felt great."

Makarova executed her Free immediately following Nagasu, to 13th Warrior by J. Goldsmith dressed in deepish blue/purple. In contrast to the Short Program, she said, "I was just a little nervous. After all, I skated last in the last group. I closed this Championship and I had to skate well. Obviously there were mistakes (-0.64 off her first double Axel and a bad fall on her second triple Salchow), but Iím glad that this season has ended and that a new season is about to start. I didnít expect this season to go so well. I started out to skate in juniors and in the end I competed at the senior level."

Although she finished just immediately behind Nagasu, Markarovaís overall score was a very significant 5.84 points behind the American. Markarova again began with a combination of two triple toe loops (+0.80 GoE) which gave her a total of 8.80. This time her triple flip gained the base value (5.50). A triple loop earned +0.40 over base value (5.0).

Her second double Axel gained the base value (3.5). Her first triple Salchow, combined with a double toe loop and a double loop, was set after the bonus point and earned a total of 8.23 points. Her spirals, flying sit spin and final change foot combination spin were all Level 4 with, respectively, +1.0, +0.20 and +0.80 GoEs. Her Level 3 layback spin got +1.0 over its base value of 2.40. The straight line steps earned +0.30 over their Level 3 base value of 3.30.

9.  Rachael Flatt, USA; 167.44; 6.SP 60.88 (33.80+27.08); 9.FS 106.56 (53.20+53.36);

The reigning US champion was four places lower than in her debut in this event last year in Los Angeles and two slots lower than in the Olympics. In both those events, she did not have to cope with jet lag. Skating 53rd, to Louis Primaís Sing Sing Sing, she presented a +0.20 triple flip to double toe loop. Then had -0.80 removed from the base value of her triple Lutz. Although her +0.30 Flying Camel, +0.80 Spirals and final +0.50 change foot combination spin were all Level 4, and her Level 3 straight line steps earned a full extra point, her layback spin was only a base value Level 1 (1.50).

Asked when she decided not to try a triple-triple combination, the 17-year old Flatt said, "When I landed my triple flip. It wasnít a great landing. Iíve never shown a triple-double in my short at all this year. So it was a little disappointing. I think triple-triple would have helped improve my score significantly. But things donít always work. It was difficult to get right back into training after the Olympics. But Worlds is such a great competition and I really wanted to compete well here. So I used this as motivation. Thatís what it comes down to."

Flatt skated 21st in the Free, immediately following Mao Asada, to Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. She opened with a +0.80 double Axel. But, on her second element, planned as triple-triple, the flip was downgraded and the second jump, again, was a double toe loop so the total score for this element was only 2.64. Her triple Lutz earned the base value of 6.0. All three spins were Level 4 with the flying camel and the upright gaining their base values of 3.2 and 2.9. Her last element, the flying change foot combination spin, earned +0.40 over its base of 3.5.

Flatt scored a full point over the base value of her triple loop scheduled for after the 10% bonus clicks in. However, the second triple Lutz was singled. Her spirals were +0.30 Level 3. She gained the base value and 10% for both her triple Lutz to double toe to double loop and her triple Salchow to double toe banking 9.68 and 6.38 respectively. Her Level 3 circular steps got an extra 0.40.

Flatt didnít beat about the bush. "It was certainly sub-par. It was mediocre at best. It was not ideal at all. It was hard to push through, but Iím glad I did. But, it was a difficult program to get through for sure. It is hard to get through the pressure, but Iím glad I did some elements well. I was tired going into the program. I feel it wasnít a good performance, or representative of what I had been training. It really is hard to go out on such a mediocre program. But I think I gave some very good performances this year.

"Iím enjoying the idea of taking a break for a year for college. I think I will have to make this decision the next few weeks. Weíll see what happens. Or I may defer for a year from college so I can continue to skate competitively." She has been accepted into Stanford, UCLA and the University of Denver. "Iíve got my Advanced Placement exams when I get back home, and then Iím getting ready for prom and graduation." She graduates from Cheyenne Mountain High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado on May 23.

10.  Viktoria Helgesson, Sweden; 161.79; 9.SP 56.32 (32.68+23.64); 10. FS 105.47 (54.91+50.56); Skating 39th, to Fuori Dal Mondo from This is England, the 21-year-old twice Swedish champion has made a major step forward. Last year she finished 27th in Los Angeles. She began with a base value triple flip, which received an exclamation point, into a double toe, followed by a +0.80 triple loop and a +1.0 double Axel. Her base value spirals and two of her spins, the flying sit and change foot combination got Level 4 but the spins both were with saddles with slight negatives, the sit -0.24 and the combo -0.06. Her Level 3 layback spin got -0.12 off. But the Level 3 straight line steps had 0.40 added.

However, Helgessonís Free, which she skated 16th, to One Moment in Time by Albert Hammond and Canone Inverso by John Bettis, had only one minus. She began with a +0.40 triple flip to double toe to double loop, followed by a base value double flip. Then came a +0.20 triple loop to double toe and a +0.20 Level 4 camel spin. A triple toe loop earned +1.0 over its base value. At the bonus point, she executed a +0.20 triple loop. Her spirals were +0.80 and Level 4. A sequence of two double Axels earned +0.20 over their base value. Then came her sole minus, -1.0 on her triple Salchow. There following a base value Level 3 flying sit spin. Her Level 3 straight line steps got +0.30.

11.  Akiko Suzuki, Japan; 160.04; 20.SP 48.36 (23.32+26.06 -1.0); 7.FS 111.68 (58.96+52.72); Suzuki, skating 52nd, to Andalucia and Fire Dance, both by Bill Whelan, had a disastrous Short Program. Suzuki had done well this season. After winning the bronze medal in the Grand Prix Final, she gained the silver medal in this seasonís Japanese championship. She had never been higher than fourth nationally prior to this season. The Japanese Federation decided to send her to the Olympics, where she finished eighth, and the bronze medalist, Yukari Nakano to Worlds. But Nakano got injured and Suzuki was sent to Italy as the reserve to compete in her first Worlds.

Suzuki fell on her first element, a triple flip, which was meant as her combination and gained only 2.50 points for this move, minus the point deduction for the fall. Then she was forced to execute a double three to hold onto the landing of the triple loop to which she added a double toe loop to make it into a combination. That meant she banked 4.30. Her flying camel spin was Level 3 +0.10. By that time, she was shaking and her spirals were -0.18 Level 1. Her double Axel was -1.60. She recovered to do a Level layback and Level 3 steps which both earned 0.60 over their respective base values. Her final move was a Level 2 +0.40 change foot combination spin.

Suzuki explained, "I really donít know what happened. I was nervous, but as I usually am before any competition. I regret my mistakes. I felt that I was ready but it was not so. Now I feel very sad and sorry. I want to fight and to do the best I can in the Free Skate." Because of her low place, 20th, she had to perform in the first group of six, and drew to skate last, leaving the ice at 1:24. By the peculiar timing adopted for this yearís top ISU events, there was then a long break and the seventh skater did not perform until 2:07pm.

However, Suzuki gave her best, interpreting West Side Story with great pizzazz. She began with a triple flip to double toe loop to double loop which earned +0.40 over its base value. Then she got +1.0 over base for both her sequence of triple toe loop and double Axel and for the triple loop. Both her change foot combination spin and the spirals were the maximum Level 4 with 0.20 and 1.0 added respectively. Then, at the point where the bonus marks for jumps clicks in, she made two mistakes. She singled her second flip and had -1.60 taken off her triple Lutz.

But then, things got back on track. A +0.20 triple loop to double Axel sequence followed, then a +0.40 triple Salchow. Her final three moves were Level 3. The flying camel earned an extra 0.20, the straight line steps got an extra +1.10 and the final move, a flying change foot combination spin earned an extra 0.20. She said, "I did my best, not only for the jump, but also for my skating. I wanted to come back and refocus. Yesterday was not good but I was able to finish strongly." She climbed nine places!

12.  Sarah Hecken, Germany; 153.94; 13.SP 55.20 (33.64+21.56); 13.FS 98.74 (54.14+45.60 -1.0); Skating 33rd to Prokofievís Romeo and Juliet, the 16-year-old Hecken was taking part in her first world (Sr) championship. She got positives for all eight elements including a combination of two triple toe loops and triple Salchow, and Level 4 for two of her three spins and the Spirals. She said, "After having problems with the triple Salchow during this season, it was especially important for me to have landed it so well now at the end of the season. During practices, I have worked so hard on the Salchow. Now I have proved I can do it, I am so happy and relieved.

"There was extra pressure on me, as the man and the dance couple from Germany didnít qualify for the free program. I definitely wanted to make it for myself because I love doing my Free Skate and I wanted to show two good programs here. The most valuable experience for me at the Games was to skate in front of such a huge audience. There is more pressure and the adrenalin goes up. Thanks to the Olympics, I knew how to deal with it."

Hecken skated 7th for the Free, which was first after the long break, to Croatian Rhapsody and Lee Loos Tune. She earned base value or better for all incuding her combination of two triple toe loops, except the triple Lutz on which she fell. She said, "It was important to me to have tried the Lutz, even though I fell. When I make a mistake I donít think about it anymore, I donít allow it to affect the rest of my performance. I focused onto the next jump, the Salchow, and stood up on all the other jumps. I had a good season, and here I skated both programs well. This gives me a lot of motivation for the next season, I am getting closer to the worlds best skaters. Now the work is paying off. The atmosphere, the crowd, the pressure and tension here are impressions and experiences I take home."

13.  Alena Leonova, Russia; 152.86; 14.SP 54.36 (29.40+25.96 -1.0); 14.FS 98.50 (51.50+48.00 -1.0); The 19-year-old who was ninth in the Olympics, skated her Short Program 55th and last to Russian folk music, putting both hands on the ice on her first element the triple flip, which is classed as a fall. That was meant to be her combination. So she tried to tag the double toe loop on her triple Lutz but ended up doing hops on her toe rake to keep from falling. That got -2.40 off along with an exclamation mark for short wrong edge take-off. The rest of her moves all got positives and two of her spins and her Spirals earned Level 4.

Skating eighth, Leonova also fell and had down grades in her Free Skate, set to Chicago. She said, "Honestly, I am really tired. I just didnít have enough strength for this championship. Of course, I wanted to show my best, I tried not to think about yesterdayís performance. In general I am pleased with this season. Iím satisfied with all my competitions, except maybe this one and Europeans. Iíve planned a triple-triple in some competitions and did it at the Olympic Games. I had difficult programs, so Iím satisfied. Now we are looking for the music for next season."

14.  Jenna McCorkell, Britain; 150.90; 15.SP 52.12 (29.92+22.20); 12.FS 98.78 (51.82+46.96); The 23-year-old seven-time British champion skated 37th in the Short Program to Lizstís Totentanz and 10th in the Free to Voice of Violin. She was delighted with her showing which put her in her highest position ever at Worlds.

She said, "It is such a good way to finish the season. I was delighted with my short yesterday and then I was really just afraid that it would go wrong today and there would be disappointment again. I decided to do my first flip in combination, and I replaced the loop with the double Axel-double toe-double toe. It is easier and itís worth more points. I missed the toe, but itís my personal best, Iíve never had 150 (points) before, so Iím happy about that. I just tried to do what I always do, my whole team, my coach, Kevin (van der Perren, husband), my teamleader, they were always there and every time I have a little bit of a moment doubting myself they pick me up and push me to believe in myself. (On future plans) Iíll be back next season. No problem. I hope another four years, but you never know, it depends on health."

15.  Julia Sebestyen, Hungary; 147.66; 10.SP 56.10 (30.06+26.04); 15.FS 91.56 (42.28+49.28); Sebestyen, 28, said, "It was my last competition. I just came here to compete and enjoy it. Yesterday, it was a perfect short program. Today I made some mistakes, but it was great to skate in this arena in front of this crowd. Skating is my life. I wonít compete anymore, but I want to stay close to skating."

16.  Yan Liu, China; 141.29; 18.SP 49.96 (28.52+21.44); 16.FS 91.33 (47.65+43.68);

17.  Cheltzie Lee, Australia; 137.78; 17.SP 51.36 (31.40+19.96); 17.FS 86.42 (43.78+42.64);

18.  Elene Gedevanishvili, Georgia; 137.33; 12.SP 55.26 (30.34+25.92 -1.0); 21.FS 82.07 (35.63+47.44 -1.0); After skating the Free 13th, Gedevanishvili, who is 20, said about making a mistake entering the spin, "I donít know how it happened. Somehow I slipped off my edge. I donít remember when I last missed a spin, but such mistakes can happen." She had changed her Free. "I just got bored with it, and I wanted to show a different Free program here. Now I need to take some time off and then I have to think about what to do. Right now Iím not sure what is going to happen next."

19.  Kiira Korpi, Finland; 134.49; 16.SP 51.72 (26.68+26.04 -1.0); 20.FS 82.77 (35.65+47.12); The 21-year-old Korpi, who was 11th at the Olympics, said, "I donít know what happened. Itís hard to explain even to myself. Somehow I was too nervous and stiff. Iíve skated at high speed, but when I had to jump something went wrong. I fell this morning in practice and got some bruises, but nothing too serious to affect my performance. This wasnít a so pretty season for me, I think now Iím not ready to restart yet. I need more practice and more time to do better."

20.  Sonia LaFuente, Spain; 133.31; 21.SP 47.72 (27.08+21.64 -1.0); 18.FS 85.59 (45.39+41.20 -1.0);

21.  Elena Glebova, Estonia; 132.85; 22.SP 47.72 (26.32+21.40); 19.FS 85.13 (43.65+42.48 -1.0);

22.  Min-Jung Kwak, South Korea; 120.47; 23.SP 47.46 (27.30+21.16 -1.0); 22.FS 73.01 (34.69+38.32);

23.  Anastasia Gimazetdinova, Uzbekistan; 113.89; 19.SP 49.10 (29.34+19.76); 23.FS 64.79 (29.47+36.32 -1.0);

24.  Manouk Gijsman, Netherlands; 111.94; 24.SP 47.44 (30.60+16.84); 24.FS 64.50 (32.70+32.80 -1.0);

The most famous skater who did not qualify was Switzerlandís 25-year-old Sarah Meier, who was ninth in last yearís Wolds. She had a hard fall on the triple Lutz and was 26th in the Short and only 24 go forward.

Meier, who was runner-up for the 2007 and 2008 European title, said about her fall, "I was totally confused. The fall came so unexpectedly. I donít think I ever fell on a triple Lutz in the Short Program these past ten years. I didnít know what to do, if I should stop. But there was no reason for stopping. I just fell. There was nothing else to blame. I wasnít concentrated for the next jump. It was a nightmare skate. It felt good before, but Iím thinking it is not working if Iím too relaxed. I hope I donít qualify for the Free Skating. I donít think I could skate tomorrow."

Nineteen were eliminated after the Short Program; Isabelle Pieman of Belgium withdrew before the Short due to stomach flu. Sonja Mugosa, MNE, also withdrew at that time after aggravating an old injury to her left leg.

2010 Ladies Medalists

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