Triple axels not enough for Mao on difficult night

Compiled From Kyodo, AP

Mao Asada could not raise the bar in the free skate against world champion Kim Yu Na on Thursday night, settling for the silver medal against her chief rival at the Vancouver Olympics.

Mao, who tallied 205.50 points, was more than 23 points behind Kim, and failed to follow in the footsteps of Shizuka Arakawa, who won the gold at the Turin Games.

“It was over in the blink of an eye. I am glad that I was able to land two triple axels but I had mistakes in other areas. So I am not satisfied with that part. I am not at all satisfied with my performance,” Mao said.

American Mirai Nagasu (190.15), whose parents are both Japanese, finished fourth while Miki Ando (188.86), the 2007 world champion, placed fifth. Akiko Suzuki (181.44) was eighth.

“I completed my program without any major mistakes. I felt a lot of appreciation toward everyone. Four years ago, I was a wreck and ended self-content. I think I have grown,” Ando said.

Trying to drown out the deafening roar of the crowd with headphones before taking to the ice after Kim’s stellar performance, 19-year-old Mao landed both triple axels cleanly, only to under-rotate a triple flip and stumbled before stepping into her triple toe loop.

Finishing up her routine to Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Bells of Moscow,” Mao was inconsolable as she broke down into tears in the interview area.

“I am disappointed but this was the best I could do today,” she said.