Road To The Olympic Games


Rochette finishes 2nd at Four Continents

Yu-Na Kim of South Korea won the Four Continents ladies figure skating competition in Vancouver with room to spare despite falling, beating Canadian Joannie Rochette.

Yu-Na Kim of South Korea won the Four Continents ladies figure skating competition in Vancouver with room to spare despite falling on Friday night, beating Canadian Joannie Rochette.

Kim, coached by Canadian Brian Orser, finished with 189.07 points after the free skate to retain the lead she held after Wednesday's short program at the Pacific Coliseum.

Rochette of Ile-Dupas, Que., settled for silver for the second consecutive year at the ISU event with a score of 183.01 points in front of an electric crowd.

"It was very loud, I was very impressed," said Rochette. ""Usually in Canada it's a bit more quiet, but it was a very international audience tonight, so a lot of people came from Asia too, and I think it showed, it had the same Olympic feeling."

Mao Asada of Japan had the top free skate on Friday, but had too much ground to make up after a disappointing sixth in the short program. Asada moved all the way up to third with 176.52 points.

Canadian Cynthia Phaneuf was fifth. The Contrecoeur, Que., native was third after the short program but missed points after doubling a planned triple early in Friday's free skate.

Former Canadian national junior champion Amelie Lacoste of Delson, Que., had an impressive free skate but remained in 10th.

Kim opened strongly with a triple flip and triple toe combination but around the one-minute mark fell a triple loop attempt. She rebounded with a strong triple Lutz followed by a double toe and double loop in quick succession and ended with intricate footwork.

"I was of course surprised there were a lot of Koreans in Vancouver and I was really happy that I could see my countrypeople from overseas," Kim said. "It's good to be all done and in good condition and with a good score."

Skating to Concierto de Aranjuez, Rochette hit a triple Lutz-double toe comb to begin and and later got good height on a triple loop jump before plummeting into a death drop spin. Rochette had an extra step in between her triple toe and triple Salchow.

"I'm a bit mad at myself because one of my better elements, the triple-triple sequence, it only counted as 3.5, and usually whe n it's done well it's worth seven or eight points, so I missed a lot of points there," she said. "But overall it was a pretty good performance.

"My goal is to be perfect at worlds, not here."

Rochette has enjoyed a strong season, winning the national championships, Skate Canada and the Trophée Eric Bompard in Paris.

Asada singled out of a planned triple Axel to open but was flawless after that. She converted on a triple Axel and performed a combination that included a triple loop, triple flip and double loop. She continued with a series of elegant spins and spirals.

American Caroline Zhang, still just 15 years old, finished fourth. Zhang connected on several jumps, setting the program up with a triple toe followed by double toe and double loop.

Phaneuf, the 2004 Canadian champion who has battled injuries in recent years, was pleased to be back in the thick of it in an international meet with a strong field. She finished seventh at the NHK in Japan earlier this season.

"It was very good performance, six triples, my goal was to do five and I did six, so I was very happy," she said. "I was a bit disappointed with missing a medal."

Lacoste came out strongly with a triple loop followed by successive double loops. She then hit a triple Salchow-double toe combination but her energy level waned later in the program with stumbles on a triple Salchow double Axel.

Japanese veteran Fumie Suguri was sixth. Suguri started strongly with her triple attempts but later came to a complete stop after under-rotating on a triple flip, landing hard on the ice.

Rachael Flatt, last year's world junior champ, was steady in her first Four Continents appearance to finish seventh. The American, 16, was particularly impressive on a triple flip-double loop competition.

U.S. national champion Alissa Czisny was a disappointing ninth, falling on the landing edge in the opening jump of a combination, and she later two-footed a landing.

The men's competition will conclude on Saturday. Canada's Patrick Chan leads after the short program. and CBC Bold will present the competition beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET, with the CBC main network picking up the marquee skaters beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

The world championships begin March 23 in Los Angeles.

With files from the Canadian Press

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