Flawless Medvedeva leads worlds after women’s short program

Source: mainichi.jp

HELSINKI (Kyodo) — Russia’s Evgenia Medvedeva won the women’s short program as figure skating’s world championships got under way on Wednesday.

The 17-year-old defending world champion earned 79.01 points, leaving Canadians Kaetlyn Osmond (75.98) and Gabrielle Daleman (72.19) in second and third heading into Friday’s free skate.

“I think it was a good performance,” Medvedeva said. “My goal was to avoid mistakes, and I accomplished that. A score of 79 is something to be satisfied with.”

With the number of berths at next year’s Pyeongchang Olympics to be finalized here based on the skaters’ final placings, Japan got off to a decent start with Wakaba Higuchi ninth, Rika Hongo 12th and Mai Mihara 15th.

Higuchi skated a solid short program, neatly executing all four of her jumps and only getting marked down on one of her spins before exiting to a standing ovation at Helsinki’s Hartwall Arena.

“I nailed all of my jumps, so I’m extremely relieved,” said Higuchi, who is coming off a ninth-place finish at the Four Continents Championships. “After the Four Continents I went back to the drawing board in training and the practices were perfect.”

“I think I prepared well to compete in a big competition. Although I got marked down on my spin, it was a performance I could be proud of.”

Hongo, who skated in the final group, under rotated the final part of a triple-toe loop combination, but was satisfied with her performance.

“I rushed the jumps a little, but my steps and my presentation were really there,” she said. “My coach told me to have fun out there, and I began to get into it with the crowd.”

Mihara, the Four Continents Champion, flubbed her final jump and chalked it down to nerves from her first time at the worlds.

“I felt nervous like never before,” she said. “I rushed my final flip. This is a big competition and will decide the slots for the Olympics so it’s important.”

“I began thinking too much and that was that.”

The men’s short program will be skated Thursday afternoon.

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