Just like old times. It was Olympic champion Yuna Kim at the top after the short program today at the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships. She was clean and steady as her competitors made errors, and now she finds herself halfway to a possible second career World title.
Ladies' short: Videos/Play-by-play
Kim, skating early in the lineup of 35 skaters, was clean in her short program, delivering the jumps that made her so dominant when she won the gold in Vancouver three years ago. She hit at triple lutz-triple toe but had execution deductions on her triple flip, which took off on an outside edge instead of an inside edge. Nevertheless, it was more than good enough for the lead as her closest rivals made mistake after mistake. And she takes a three-point advantage over the rest of the field going into the free skate.
Last year's champion, Carolina Kostner, started her title defense solidly with a strong triple loop but fell on her triple toe-triple toe combination. The mistake kept her from challenging Kim for the top spot, and she finds herself in second with a 66.86.
Right behind Kostner is Japanese silver medalist Kanako Murakami, who skated a clean program to once again put herself in contention for a medal. She backloaded her program with the hardest elements, earning bonus points that made the difference between her and fourth place.
Home favorite Kaetlyn Osmond made a fiery debut with a clean short program that included a triple toe-triple toe. The judges rewarded her with a personal best 64.73, and she's currently in fourth going into the free skate.
She is in front of U.S. champion Ashley Wagner, who played it safe and did not attempt a triple-triple in her short program. But her clean effort helped put her in a solid position with others making mistakes. She sits in fifth with a 63.98 going into the free skate, just ahead of two-time World champion Mao Asada. Asada two-footed her opening triple axel, underrotated a triple flip, and singled her solo loop jump.
U.S. silver medalist Gracie Gold fought through her short program but had mistakes - an underrotated triple toe on the end of her triple lutz combination and a botched flying camel that cost her in base value. She is currently in ninth going into the free skate. Gold and Wagner's final placements on Saturday will need to add up to lower than 13 in order for the U.S. to send three ladies to the Olympics next season. Gold and Wagner's number is currently 14.
Competition at the championships continues this evening with the short dance.
LADIES (after the short program)
1. Yuna Kim KOR - 69.97
2. Carolina Kostner ITA - 66.86
3. Kanako Murakami JPN - 66.64
4. Kaetlyn Osmond CAN - 64.73
5. Ashley Wagner USA - 63.98
6. Mao Asada JPN - 62.10
7. Akiko Suzuki JPN - 61.17
8. Adelina Sotnikova RUS - 59.62
9. Gracie Gold USA - 58.85
10. Viktoria Helgesson SWE - 58.36
11. Mae Berenice Meite FRA - 56.90
12. Zijun Li CHN - 56.31
13. Alena Leonova RUS - 56.30
14. Elizaveta Tuktamisheva RUS - 54.72
15. Elena Glebova EST - 54.59
16. Sonia Lafuente ESP - 52.44
17. Natalia Popova UKR - 51.67
18. Jenna McCorkell GBR - 51.23
19. Monika Simancikova SVK - 51.18
20. Brooklee Han AUS - 50.62
21. Valentina Marchei ITA - 50.41
22. Kerstin Frank AUT - 49.66
23. Kexin Zhang CHN - 48.80
24. Nathalie Weinzierl GER - 48.14
25. Isadora Williams BRA - 46.63
26. Anita Madsen DEN - 46.16
27. Carol Bressanutti ITA - 44.51
28. Kaat Van Daele BEL - 42.51
29. Elene Gedevanishvili GEO - 42.40
30. Tina Stuerzinger SUI - 42.36
31. Juulia Turkkila FIN - 40.70
32. Anne Line Gjersem NOR - 38.53
33. Inga Januleviciute LTU - 36.79
34. Patricia Glescic SLO - 36.66
35. Alina Fjodorova LAT - 36.44