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Maggie Hendricks

Figure skaters Asada, Kim, Rochette rise to the occasion

Maggie Hendricks
Fourth-Place Medal

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Did you watch women's figure skating Tuesday night? Good. Because if you missed it, you missed out on record-breaking and emotional short programs. Yu-Na Kim, Mao Asada, and Joannie Rochette brought their best to the ice and landed at the top of the standings.

Asada struck first. The Japanese skater landed a triple axel/double toe loop combo. Asada is the only woman in the competition who has landed the triple axel, and she did it deftly Tuesday evening. Asada, the world champion in 2008, finished her routine with beautiful footwork and spins. Asada's skate earned her a 73.78, giving her first place for the moment.

Immediately after Asada, it was Kim's turn. The South Korean is the reigning world and Grand Prix champion, and has had a long rivalry with Asada. Skating to the James Bond theme, Kim completed a triple/triple combination that actually garnered a higher score than Asada's triple axel/double toe loop combo. Kim moved across the ice with grace and confidence, truly embodying her chosen music.

When she finished her routine that was filled with fluid footwork and spins, Kim had not only leaped into first place, but she had broken the world record for a short-program score: 78.50, putting her in excellent position for Thursday's free skate.

In third place is Canada's Joannie Rochette, who also rose to the occasion. She earned a personal-best short-program score just days after her mother's death.

These three women have set up a showdown for Thursday night by skating beautifully. Considering the competitiveness already shown in the short program, the free skate is truly must-see-TV.

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