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Mao Asada triumphs capturing third world title

Today, March 29, the final competitive event of the season took place as the ladies took to the ice for the free skate at the 2014 World Figure Skating Championships.

(L to R) Julia Lipnitskaia (Silver) of Russia, Mao Asada (Gold) of Japan and Carolina Kostner (Bronze) of Italy pose with medal in the victory ceremony during ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena on March 29, 2014 in Saitama, Japa
Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

All eyes were on Mao Asada to see if she could repeat her incredible free skate from Sochi and win back the world title, and Mao did not disappoint. Performing a near perfect triple axel that was barely under-rotated, she skated beautifully.

Though some of her triple jumps were judged under-rotated and she stepped out of the landing of the double axel, her performance was still strong and captivating. It was not the same type of perfection that was displayed in Sochi, but it was enough for Asada to not only win the gold, but finish with a nine point lead, which is quite an accomplishment.

This is Mao’s third world title, having won back in 2008 and 2010, with a bronze medal finish last year. She is quite the decorated skater, who despite not medaling in Sochi, has truly left her mark on the sport. This will likely be the final skate in her competitive career, and what a way to end this journey, with a gold medal around her neck in her home country. It was a beautiful moment for her.

Claiming the silver was Russian Julia Lipnitskaia who had a solid skate, despite a fall on the triple salchow. Julia has an incredible athletic ability that makes her jumping passes look effortless. Going in as the favorite Russian lady at the Olympic Games, Julia crumbled under the pressure, yet the world championships proved to be a bit of redemption for her.

Carolina Kostner was one of the favorites to win as she had an incredible performance in Sochi, yet she struggled in the free skate. Carolina completed a nice triple lutz and went directly into the second part of the combination, the triple toe loop, where she fell. She then proceeded to single a loop and single a flip. She received high marks for her gorgeous interpretation to Bolero and with the help of her strong short program score, Carolina captured the bronze medal.

The American Ladies

Gracie Gold came into the free skate in fifth, but her double axels gave her some serious trouble in the free skate. Gracie singled the first double axel and fell on the second double axel, but otherwise had a strong skate. She has improved so dramatically this season and finished in fifth place.

“I don’t really know what happened,” Gracie said in a U.S. Figure Skating statement, “I’m sorry I wasn’t able to put out my best performance for the U.S. and for my team. I’ll have to refocus and try again next season.”

Having a season's best performance in the free skate, Ashley Wagner skated with passion and gumption and received a standing ovation.

“I’m very stoked about this performance tonight,” Ashley said in the same statement, “It was so great for me to feel like I was back as a competitor. The past season has been very tough for me. Full of ups and downs and highs and lows. Everything that could have gone wrong this season went wrong.”

Polina Edmunds had a great World Championships debut, finishing in eighth place. This season has been all about gaining experience for her and she has done so well under pressure. Polina has revealed strength and consistency and she will be one to keep an eye on in the coming season.

With Gracie Gold's fifth place finish, Ashley's seventh place finish and Polina coming in eighth, it was enough to earn the U.S. another three spots for the ladies at the 2015 World Figure Skating Championships. Though no Americans medaled at these World Championships three spots were earned for the ladies, mens and in ice dance and two spots in pairs for next year's worlds. The U.S. is in prime position going into next season; it will be exciting to see what will happen next.

Ladies: Final standings

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