Mistakes costly for Meissner

Bel Air teen struggles with jumps, finishes fifth at NHK Trophy

Figure Skating


OSAKA, Japan -- Kimmie Meissner learned something in her first year on the senior international figure skating circuit: "You have to skate clean."

Under-rotated jumps caused some point losses that dropped Meissner from third to fifth at the NHK Trophy yesterday.

"I think we are learning what things are about," said her coach, Pam Gregory. "Now we know some things."

After a good short program Friday, the Bel Air 16-year-old made some mistakes that paved the way to another fifth-place finish after one at the Trophee Bompard in Paris.

In Paris, it was the other way around. A good long program followed a poor short.

She was given credit for seven triple jumps and had a three-jump combination in the final 10 seconds in Paris. Here she was given full points for just three and only did two jumps at the end.

Under the new scoring system, under-rotated jumps are treated harshly.

She looked like she did a triple Lutz-triple toe loop in her long program, almost identical to the one she did in the short program Friday.

On the detailed scoring sheet given out afterward she was credited with just a triple Lutz-double toe, a difference of more than three points on that one jump along from the previous day - 10.0 to 6.7.

Two other triple jumps were downgraded. They were scored without a penalty in Paris. This time, they were considered doubles.

"When I did it, I thought it was pretty good," Meissner said. "A little shaky, but I still think it was pretty good."

"The long here was nothing to be ashamed of," Gregory said. "Fifth is still good."

But they were hoping for better.

Japan took first and second in the final results with Yukari Nakano and Fumie Suguri, respectively.

Nakano fell on a triple axel in her opening jump. Meissner tried a triple axel in the warm-up and fell, so she shied away from it in the long program.

"After I fell on the triple axel, I hoped it would not affect my performance, so I tried to forget about it," Nakano said. "It frustrates me that I didn't do the triple axel, and that is one thing I have to work on."

Suguri had miss almost two months because of a groin injury.

Third went to Elena Liashenko of Ukraine. Suguri scored the highest in the free skating with 105.88 points. For comparison, Meissner scored more than 110 points in her Paris routine.

Here she had just 96.08 and 152.18 overall. Nakano's winning total was 158.66.

Now Meissner and Gregory head home to train in Delaware in preparation for the U.S. nationals.

"We have five weeks, and she is going to be ready," Gregory said.

Meissner knows what is ahead for her.

"Go back home and work hard."

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