Mao Asada wins gold in Sochi

Mao Asada performing free skating at Grand Prix event

Mao Asada of Japan won her third Grand Prix Final title after her main rival, American Ashley Wagner, foundered with two falls in free skate.

Mao Asada performed a graceful free skating to Swan Lake that was reminiscent of the double world champion at her peak in her last finals appearance, a gold-medal performance in South Korea in 2009.

Asada’s score was a season-best 196.80 to win by a vast margin of almost 15 points.

“I wanted to make sure I had all the elements right without any mistakes, to have a solid program.” Asada told the press. “There were no major mistakes so that’s a great takeaway from today.” she added.

Ashley Wagner‘s wins at the Four Continents championships and two Grand Prix events this year have gone some way to freeing her of the self-applied tag of “almost girl,” but she failed to round out 2012 in style, falling twice and scoring well short of her best.

The Californian tumbled on a triple loop before a big fall on a triple loop-double Axel combination put her in danger of losing second place, which she held thanks to errors from other skaters. Her total score is 181.93 points.

“Today was definitely not my best performance, but overall I’m happy that I was able to keep it together.” Wagner said. “The axel was a bit of a freak fall, but to have such a hard fall and then go and do a triple flip of that quality is definitely something that I can take away from this competition.” U.S. champion continued.

Japan’s Akiko Suzuki would have overtaken Wagner but a fall on a triple flip left her 1.16 points off the American’s score. Japanese skater got 180.77 points.

“The first two jumps were high quality,” she said. “Things started to fall apart a little bit, and I couldn’t make the adjustments that I needed to make.” Suzuki added.

Photo: Zimbio

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