Lysacek edged in short program at Grand Prix final; U.S. wins ice dance

  • By JIM ARMSTRONG AP Sports Writer
  • Friday, December 4, 2009 8:42am
  • Sports

TOKYO — World champion Evan Lysacek was edged out by Daisuke Takahashi for first place in the men’s short program at the Grand Prix final on Friday night.

Miki Ando of Japan finished first in the women’s short program, taking advantage of a rare mistake by world champion Kim Yu-na.

Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White won the ice dance event after finishing first in the free dance with 169.44 points.

Takahashi, making a comeback from a right knee injury, opened with a triple-flip, triple-toeloop combination and completed all his jumps en route to a season’s best score of 89.95, one tenth of a point better than the American. Nobunari Oda of Japan was third with 87.65 points.

“I’m pleased to get such a high score,” Takahashi said. “But I’m not completely satisfied as the steps and the spins were a bit rough.”

Lysacek was equally impressive, hitting four triple jumps to open his routine to Stravinsky’s “The Firebird.”

“This was a good warmup for me,” Lysacek said. “I’ve been working hard to overcome the barrier of 85 in the short program and was pleased I could do that tonight.”

Johnny Weir of the United States was fourth with 84.60 points followed by fellow American Jeremy Abbott with 76.65. Tomas Verner of the Czech Republic was sixth with 70.17 points.

The men’s event concludes with the free skate on Saturday.

Takahashi qualified for the GP final with a silver medal from Skate Canada and a fourth-place finish from the NHK Trophy. Lysacek won Skate America and finished second at the Cup of China to qualify for Tokyo.

The top six skaters in the regular season Grand Prix standings qualify for the Grand Prix final.

Takahashi was No. 1 when he injured his right knee in practice just over a year ago. With damage to the anterior cruciate ligament and cartilage, he had to forego the 2008-09 season to have major surgery.

Takahashi skated in a tuneup event in Finland in October, but his first major event was the NHK last month in Nagano.

“After the NHK and Skate Canada, I realized I needed to skate with more emotion and I was able to do that tonight,” Takahashi said.

In the women’s program, Ando opted for a triple-lutz, double-loop combination instead of a planned triple-triple on her opening element. She successfully completed the rest of her program to finish with 66.20 points.

“I wanted to do the triple-triple but the first landing of the triple didn’t feel right,” Ando said. “So I changed it to a double and everything was fine after that.”

Kim opened her James Bond medley with a triple-lutz, triple-toeloop combination but singled a triple flip on her second element and finished with 65.64 points.

“I fell in practice and that affected me,” Kim said. “I was nervous and wasn’t able to do the triple flip, but other than that I was pleased with my routine and I look forward to tomorrow.”

Kim, who had gold medals at the Trophee Bompard and Skate America to finish first overall in the women’s standings, wasn’t overly concerned with the mistake heading into Saturday’s free skate.

“You can’t be 100 percent all of the time,” Kim said. “Sometimes I can’t do the triple flip in practice and sometimes I can’t do it in competition. I’m going to treat the free skate tomorrow as a completely different competition.”

Russia’s Alena Leonova was third Friday with 61.60 points followed by Canadian Joannie Rochette with 60.94. Ashley Wagner of the United States was sixth with 54.26 points.

In ice dance, Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were second with 168.22 points and Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France were third.

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