Meissner skates to redemption with third in short program

Triple lutz is key among eight elements

camel spin concludes

Figure Skating


KITCHENER, Ontario - The meltdown appears over.

With snow swirling outside, Kimmie Meissner gave a glowing performance last night at the Junior World Figure Skating Championships, obliterating the memory of her tepid qualifying round.

Skating to Debussy's Reverie, the defending silver medalist executed everything on her eight- element short program, including the triple lutz that had vexed her, to finish in third place.

"I wasn't as nervous as I was at qualifiers. I was excited." she said. "Everything felt really good."

Meissner (Bel Air) received a technical score of 28.15 and a performance score of 24.52 for a total of 52.67 points.

After her opening triple lutz, double toe loop combination, Meissner cruised through her triple loop and a series of spins and spirals before launching into a double axel. She concluded with a flying camel spin that wasn't her best, but was good enough.

Meissner was nervous Monday night and skated what her coach, Pam Gregory, said was perhaps her worst performance, ever. Last night, they had a little strategy session.

"The thing we talked about right before was that in the grand scheme she's going to do hundreds and possibly thousands of competitions and this is just another one, just another steppingstone." said Gregory. 'She was beautiful tonight."

Mao Asada, 14, of Japan had ruby-slipper magic in her skates as she earned first place with a flawless performance to music from The Wizard of Oz.

Although she broke a lace in the middle of her opening triple lutz, double toe combination, Asada resumed her routine after a brief repair without any loss of composure.

She received a technical score of 33.26 and a performance score of 26.85 for a total of 60.11.

The skaters will perform their long programs tomorrow.

Redemption was the name of the game for the other two U.S. skaters, who also suffered through a mistake-filled qualifying round.

Alissa Czisney, 17, of Bowling Green, Ohio, made a tremendous comeback punctuated by a crisp double axel that made both of her coaches leap in the air and had the skater practically bursting with joy.

Judges gave her a technical score of 30.05 and a performance score of 28.86 for a total of 52.91 and second place.

"Sometimes I just need to fight." said Czisney. "This gave me something to fight for."

Emily Hughes skated three back from her teammate and continued the string with a technical score of 28.01 and a performance score of 23.41 for a fifth-place total of 51.42.

The 17-year-old sister of 2002 Olympic gold medalist Sarah Hughes said she had worked hard to raise the level of difficulty in the elements in her program.

"I really wanted to do well coming into this competition because it is my first international and first junior worlds. I was really excited to be here and I wanted to make the best of it." Hughes said.

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