Takahashi’s title hopes dashed during free skate

Compiled From Kyodo, AP

GOTEBORG, Sweden Daisuke Takahashi missed out on making history after finishing fourth in the men’s event at the World Figure Skating Championships on Saturday.

Takahashi, who was placed third after the short program, came up short in his bid to become the first Japanese man to capture a world title and complete a golden double for Japan following Mao Asada’s triumph in the women’s event.

Turin Olympic bronze medalist Jeffrey Buttle of Canada won the men’s gold medal.

Takahashi, silver medalist at last year’s world meet in Tokyo, was aiming to become the sixth Japanese world champion overall. Five Japanese women have accomplished the feat — Midori Ito (1989), Yuka Sato (1995), Shizuka Arakawa (2004), Miki Ando (2007) and Asada.

“I am disappointed that I made mistakes on two jumps,” said Takahashi. “I was tense and my body wouldn’t move well.”

“I couldn’t show my best and I am not satisfied with any aspect of my performance,” added Takahashi, who finished with 220.11 points.

Earlier this season, Takahashi, 22, had won two Grand Prix events and set a world-record score in claiming the Four Continents title.

Takahiko Kozuka placed eighth and compatriot Yasuharu Nanri was 19th.

Takahashi nailed a quadruple toeloop and four clean triple jumps, but he fell on his second quad toe attempt and stumbled on a triple Axel and loop.

A triple lutz-double toeloop did not count as it was considered as a fourth, not allowed combination after the second quad, second Axel and a triple flip-triple toe.

Buttle, however, won the world title and set off a debate.

No, this isn’t skating’s latest controversial victory. Buttle was brilliant in adding the men’s title at worlds to the Olympic bronze medal he already owns, with a program that was the perfect blend of artistry and athleticism. His footwork was whimsical and his spins thrilling.

But he had no quadruple jump — while all the other top contenders at least tried.

Buttle’s gold disproves — this time, at least — the notion that a man has to do a quad to win the big titles.

“I started skating because I watched Kurt Browning and Brian Orser and it was about the program. And the most memorable programs in skating, you remember the program and you don’t remember what elements they did,” said Buttle, the first Canadian since Elvis Stojko in 1997 to win the world title.

“I went out there and left everything on the ice. I had my heart on my sleeve.”

Now he has a gold medal around his neck.

Buttle’s score of 245.17 put him well ahead of defending champion Brian Joubert (231.22) and American Johnny Weir (221.84), who won his first world medal and kept the Americans from going home empty for the first time since 1994.

“That makes me feel incredible,” Weir said. “I feel great. I am happy to give the United States its only medal.”

Weir’s finish means the U.S. will be able to send three men to next year’s world championships.