Japanese Women Rule Four Continents Event

Associated Press
Sunday, February 17, 2008

Japan's Mao Asada took the women's gold medal at the Four Continents championships yesterday in Goyang, South Korea, by recording a season-best total score of 193.25, defeating world champion compatriot Miko Ando.

Canada's Joannie Rochette finished second with 179.54 while Ando (177.66) collected bronze.

The top three were separated by less than a point after the short program two days ago, but Asada outperformed the rest of the field in the free skate, with local favorite and main rival Kim Yu-Na absent with a hip injury.

Asada performed to Chopin's "Fantasie Impromptu" with a triple flip and triple loop that delighted the crowd.

"My performance was better than I expected," Asada said. "It was easily my best performance of the season so far."

Ashley Wagner (West Potomac High), 12th after the short program, finished fifth in the long program and jumped to eight overall. Katrina Hacker was sixth and Beatrisa Liang 11th.

¿ NORDIC COMBINED: American Bill Demong remained second in the overall standings after finishing sixth in a World Cup event in Liberec, Czech Republic. Demong had the fastest time in the cross-country portion, but was 14th in ski jumping.

Petter Tande of Norway won the event. Ronny Ackerman, who leads the overall standings, was third.

¿ SPEEDSKATING: American Shani Davis holds the lead in the season standings after winning the 1,000 meters at a World Cup event in Inzell, Germany.

Japan's Joji Kato handed Jeremy Wotherspoon his first defeat this season at 500 meters. Kato, the former world record holder, timed 35.48 seconds in poor weather to beat Wotherspoon's 35.61, snapping the Canadian's streak of six World Cup wins this season.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2008 The Washington Post Company