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Mao Asada finds redemption, setting new world record

Some of the top ladies in the world brought their best performances in the short program today, March 27, at the 2014 World Figure Skating Championships. Of the thirty-three ladies that competed, fourteen of them received a personal best score. It was a power-packed field, even without Olympic Champions Adelina Sotnikova and Yuna Kim.

Carolina Kostner of Italy competes in the Ladies Short Program during ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena on March 27, 2014 in Saitama, Japan.
Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images

After a devastating short program in Sochi, putting Mao Asada in sixteenth place after the short program and completely out of medal contention, Mao had an incredible free skate at the Olympic Games where she finished in sixth place. It was quite a comeback, nonetheless a heartbreak for her personally, but there were no tears of disappointment shed today.

Mao Asada is the only lady in the world performing the triple axel in competition, and though she has struggled with it in times past, she did not struggle with it in this performance. It was beautiful. Mao Asada showed herself and the world just what she was capable of. She not only received a personal best score, she set the new world record with a whopping score of 78.66. It was an outstanding performance. It is difficult to imagine her performing this short program any better than she did today.

Receiving the highest program component score and currently in second place, is Italy’s Olympic bronze medalist, Carolina Kostner, who is only behind Asada by 1.4 points. Carolina has such an amazing artistic ability, she was truly at her best, capturing the attention of all who saw her with her brilliant interpretation to Ave Maria. Not only did she perform a beautiful triple-triple, she did it while skating with joy and ease.

Trying to keep up with the veterans is youngster, Julia Lipnitskaia, who also set a personal best score. After a disappointing Olympic Games, Julia came back strong. She looked steady and prepared, but seemed a bit surprised at her marks that put her in third place. She is about four points behind Asada, so it could be possible for her to gain on Asada and Kostner in the free skate, but after their amazing short programs, they would both have to falter in order for Julia to gain the lead.

American, Gracie Gold also had a seasons best performance, putting her currently in fifth. Looking poised and ready, she took to the ice, solidly landing each of her jumps.

“I was really happy with how I skated and I did just what I trained to do,” Gracie said in a U.S. Figure Skating statement, “I really enjoyed the performance and did a solid job. There were little points I left on the table. I think I could be a little higher in the placements and in my score. But breaking 70 for the first time is exciting."

Ashley Wagner struggled with her triple flip-triple toe combination where she landed the second jump forward and as a result, was downgraded. The rest of her program was solid, but she seemed frustrated with her marks, which put her currently into seventh place.

It’s been a long season and I’m exhausted,” Ashley said in the U.S. Figure Skating statement, “Mentally, it’s tough to go out and compete after I’ve given all I could this season. There were some little mistakes, the same as usual. I’m happy with that program. I’m ready to wrap this season, go home and start working on some stuff next season when I want to come back stronger than ever."

Making her World Championships debut, American Polina Edmunds is currently in twelfth place.

The ladies will take to the ice for the free skate on March 29, where hopefully more records will be broken and a new world champion will be crowned.

Ladies short program: Current standings

Q1. Mao Asada JPN - 78.66
Q2. Carolina Kostner ITA - 77.24
Q3. Julia Lipnitskaia RUS - 74.54
Q4. Akiko Suzuki JPN - 71.02
Q5. Gracie Gold USA - 70.31
Q6. Anna Pogorilaya RUS - 66.26
Q7. Ashley Wagner USA - 63.64
Q8. Kaetlyn Osmond CAN - 62.92
Q9. Mae Berenice Meite FRA - 61.62
Q10. Kanako Murakami JPN - 60.86
Q11. Nathalie Weinzierl GER - 60.82
Q12. Polina Edmunds USA - 60.59
Q13. So Youn Park KOR - 57.22
Q14. Gabrielle Daleman CAN - 55.72
Q15. Joshi Helgesson SWE - 54.96
Q16. Zijun Li CHN - 54.37
Q17. Anna Ovcharova SUI - 54.19
Q18. Brooklee Han AUS - 53.20
Q19. Hae Jin Kim KOR - 51.83
Q20. Jenna McCorkell GBR - 50.56
Q21. Natalia Popova UKR - 50.32
Q22. Valentina Marchei ITA - 50.27
Q23. Anne Line Gjersem NOR - 49.48
Q24. Eliska Brezinova CZE - 49.34
25. Nicole Rajicova SVK - 49.24
26. Elena Glebova EST - 48.09
27. Inga Janulevicuite LTU - 47.20
28. Kaat Van Daele BEL - 46.05
29. Juulia Turkkila FIN - 45.57
30. Anita Madsen DEN - 44.15
31. Kerstin Frank AUT - 44.11
32. Sonia Lafuente ESP - 43.94
33. Netta Scheiber ISR - 43.39

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