ST. JOHN’S, Canada – Japan’s Yukari Nakano and Nobunari Oda both finished third at Skate Canada on Saturday but injury-hit compatriot Fumie Suguri faltered in the free skate.
Nakano, fourth after Friday’s short program, collected a total of 149.54 points for her first medal in the Grand Prix series while Oda improved on his seventh-place showing after the men’s short program to clinch a spot on the podium in his Grand Prix debut with 193.08.
American Alissa Czisny won the women’s event with 168.32, finishing ahead of Canada’s Joanne Rochette who earned 158.30.
“I hope this will be a great stepping stone for my skating career,” said Nakano, a 20-year-old Waseda University student.
“I had to hang on there,” she said of her off-balance landing on her triple axel in the free skate. “In real competition, it is hard to perform like I do in practice. But today, I was able to show what I normally do in practice.”
Fumie Suguri, who took second in the short program, finished eighth with 132.00 after a lingering groin injury resulted in her failing in nearly all of her attempted jumps in the free skate.
In the men’s free skate, Oda cleanly landed a triple axel-triple toe loop-double sequence early in his routine and kept his momentum going on his way to finishing behind Canadians Emanuel Sandhu and Jeffrey Buttle.
Sandhu earned a winning total of 201.85, to Buttle’s 201.19.
“If I had done better in the short program, the color of my medal might have been different,” said Oda. The Kansai University student did not risk a triple axel in the short program.
Japanese Olympic skater Takeshi Honda, who said Thursday he will retire after this season, ended up in fourth with 191.80, 1.28 points behind Oda.
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