Kim Yu-na is not infallible, but she's still a winner.
The world champion from South Korea won her second straight Skate America title despite losing the free skate Sunday to American Rachael Flatt in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Kim made two major mistakes, including a fall on the triple flip, the one element on which she has struggled at times.
That left enough of an opening for Flatt, the U.S. runner-up last January, to take the free program 116.11 points to 111.70.
But Kim had such a large lead after her brilliant short program that she took the gold medal by more than 13 points.
"I missed one of my first elements, the flip," said Kim, who heads to the Grand Prix Final next month in Tokyo, where she again will be the favourite. "I learned a lot today."
Flatt wasn't spectacular, either, and received no points for one of her spin sequences, when she almost seemed to lose her way on the ice.
But she hit seven triple jumps and broke out in a huge smile after nailing a triple flip-triple toe loop on her second element.
Flatt is thinking ahead to January's national championships, where the two-woman Olympic squad will be chosen.
"This was a great performance for me and it gave me a lot of confidence heading into nationals," the 17-year-old Flatt said.
Kim, meanwhile, landed only three triples cleanly.
"It's pretty exciting, I certainly skated like I train," Flatt said. "Personally, this was incredibly inspiring and a little exhausting at the end."
Flatt skated immediately before Kim, then watched the world champion struggle.
"She's a wonderful competitor and it's an honour to win the free skate," Flatt said. "It shows that everyone makes mistakes … though we're all perfectionists."
Flatt could also be at the Grand Prix final, depending on what happens at Skate Canada next week; she is not competing there.
Julia Sebestyen of Hungary finished third.
Belbin, Agosto win ice dance
Americans Ben Agosto and Tanith Belbin, who was born in Kingston, Ont., swept all three portions of the ice dance.
Belbin and Agosto skated to "Ave Maria" and "Amen." The 2006 Olympic silver medallists and current world runners-up staged a fast, energetic free skate that earned them 95.62 points Sunday.
Their overall score of 195.85 was best by nearly 24 points over Italy's Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte.
Belbin and Agosto also won compulsories and the original dance. They are headed to next month's Grand Prix Final, too.
"Once again, we felt able to execute all three segments of the competition," Agosto said. "Today was hard. We put a lot of energy into yesterday and this was not our very best.
"There's a long way to go to the end of the season and a lot of room to grow."