Source: Agencies | 2013-2-10 | ONLINE EDITION
TWO-TIME world champion Mao Asada won the figure skating Four Continents on today, leading a Japanese sweep of the podium.
After re-introducing her trademark triple axel in Saturday's short program, Asada was downgraded on the jump in today's free skate but was solid in her other elements to finish with 205.45 points. Akiko Suzuki was second with 190.08 points while Kanako Murakami finished third with 181.03.
"The short program exceeded expectations and the free met my expectations," Asada said. "It's great win here in front of the home fans."
Asada had been struggling with the triple axel since the Vancouver Olympics but was able to win four events this season without it. She pulled it off to perfection on Saturday when she finished first in the short program. Despite being downgraded on the jump Sunday, Asada said she plans to attempt it at the world championships in London, Canada, next month.
"I plan to include it at the worlds and hope to build on the success I've had today," Asada said.
The Four Continents is the last major event before the March 11-17 worlds.
Suzuki, who was second after the short program, turned in a strong performance to music from Cirque du Soleil. She under-rotated a double axel on her second element and was deducted points on a triple lutz but was solid otherwise to hold on to second place ahead of Murakami.
Christina Gao of the United States finished fourth while China's Li Zijun was fifth.
Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford won the pairs event with a total of 199.18 points, edging compatriots Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch who finished with 196.78.
Moore-Towers and Moscovitch won Sunday's free skate but couldn't overtake Duhamel and Radford, who built up a lead in winning the short program.
U.S. champions Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir were third with 170.10 points.