Because of an error by the Associated Press, an article in the Oct. 23 Sports section indicated that figure skater Miki Ando of Japan is the first woman to land a triple jump in competition. Ando is the first woman to land a quadruple jump in competition. (Published 10/26/04)
-- France's Brian Joubert was ready for a win after a second-place finish earlier this year at the world championships.
Despite trouble landing several jumps, Joubert got his victory in the men's free skate Friday at Skate America, finishing with an overall score of 193.46.
American Ryan Jahnke, a surprise bronze medalist at last year's nationals, scored 186.71 for second -- another unexpected finish.
Jahnke had finished fourth in the short program and fell twice during the free skate, but he still edged countryman Michael Weiss, who was third with 179.56 points.
"I was sort of determined to do everything to a level 10 that I could," said Jahnke, who believes he was helped by skating's new scoring system. "I felt super strong."
Under the new system, every technical element in a program -- jumps, spins, footwork -- has a point value. In the end, the skater with the most points wins, removing most of the subjectivity.
Weiss was hurt by a sloppy landing on a quadruple toe-loop.
"I was a little hesitant, obviously," said Weiss, who was skating on one relatively new skate after one broke earlier in the week. "To be hesitant on those jumps was a little disappointing."
Meanwhile, one Skate America title isn't enough for Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto.
After becoming the first American duo to win a Grand Prix title in six years in 2003, Belbin and Agosto held the lead in the ice dancing competition through two rounds with a rousing original dance to "New York, New York" that brought the crowd to its feet Friday.
The "crowd really got into it," said a smiling Agosto, who left the ice waving a teddy bear that was tossed to him from the crowd. "We give it more emotion when the crowd is behind us."
The pair finished the original dance competition with a score of 63.40, and an overall total of 107.11. The free dance is scheduled for Saturday.
"We feel like we've skated it better technically at home, but performance-wise this was really good. We're generally happy with it," Belbin said.
Galit Shait and Sergei Sakhnovski of Israel were second, scoring a 60.48 in the original dance and 101.46 overall.
In the women's short program, Miki Ando of Japan skated first, and maintained the lead the entire evening. The junior world champ, the first woman to do a triple jump in competition, is considered the favorite because last year's winner, American Sasha Cohen, withdrew earlier this week because of a severe back strain.
American Michelle Kwan isn't skating in any Grand Prix events this year.
Ando admitted she was nervous because American crowds tend to react to skaters' expressions.
"Being here, I felt like other people gave me courage, saying they like my smile, and the audience is very nice, and it encouraged me," Ando said.