Mao Asada earns career-high marks for dazzling free skate

 


Japan’s Mao Asada competes during Thursday’s free skate. (Alexander Demianchuk/Reuters)

SOCHI, Russia — Two-time figure skating world champion Mao Asada, the 2010 Olympic silver medalist, was hopelessly out of medal contention after Wednesday’s disastrous short program, in which she fell on one jump and omitted a mandatory combination, explaining afterward that her mind seemed somehow disengaged from her body.

With nothing at stake but the performance itself, the 23-year-old Asada returned to the ice and staged a powerhouse of a free skate, nailing her opening triple Axel and thrilling the crowd with three more triples in the first 67 seconds. From one corner of the ice to the other, Asada displayed the range of her jumping prowess, delivering a full range of triples—a flip, a loop, a lutz, toe and a salchow—as well as triple flip, double loop, double loop combination late in the program.

Skating to a Rachmaninov piano concerto, Asada wept with joy as she finished the program, which earned her a career-high 142.71 points, bringing her total score to 198.22.

That’s a terrific number, but won’t likely be good enough for the podium, given the nearly 20 points Asada gave up in the short program, which placed her 16th. Asada, 23, has said this will be her last Olympic Games.

The first U.S. skater to compete will be 15-year-old Polina Edmunds, who enters the free skate in seventh (61.04 points).

Americans Gracie Gold and Ashley Wagner will skate 22nd and 23rd, with front-running Kim Yu-na closing the competition immediately after them.

 

More Olympics news

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Predicting a surprise gold-medal winner in women’s figure skating

If you love curling, shout it from the rooftops!

Jenkins: A burden too large to bear for 15-year-old Lipnitskaia

Wise: For the hosts, it’s over and out in men’s hockey

Kim Yu-na is a cut above after the women’s short program

U.S. women lose bobsled lead but still claim silver and bronze

Hockey: United States and Canada win and will meet in semifinals

Alex Ovechkin, Russia eliminated from Sochi Olympics by Finland

Analyzing why Russia went out with a whimper

How did American Vic Wild win a medal for Russia?

Photos from Day 13 | Daily TV schedule | U.S. medal winners

Liz Clarke currently covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post, she has also covered five Olympic Games, two World Cups and written extensively about college sports, tennis and auto racing.
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Rick Maese · February 20