American ladies in medal position after short

Zawadzki, Wagner could reach podium in Moscow

Ashley Wagner is one of two American ladies who could reach the podium in Moscow.
Ashley Wagner is one of two American ladies who could reach the podium in Moscow. (Getty Images)


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By Lynn Rutherford, special to
(11/19/2010) - Japan's Akiko Suzuki is locked in a tight battle with two U.S. skaters, Agnes Zawadzki and Ashley Wagner, after the short program at the Rostelecom Cup, the fifth stop on this fall Grand Prix series.

Skating to one of this season's many Tango programs, the Japanese silver medalist, who won Finlandia Trophy and placed second at Cup of China earlier this season, gained 57.43 points, just under her season's best score of 57.97. She opened with a triple flip, double toe combination, but stuggled with the Biellmann position in one of her spins and may have gained a deduction on her triple Lutz.

Zawadzki, the U.S. junior champion, had a season's-best outing to her Latin medley, scoring 56.84. The 16-year-old Colorado Springs-based skater launched a solid triple toe, triple toe combination. Although she struggled a bit with the landing of her triple Lutz, her score here is slightly above what she earned at Skate Canada.

Wagner, the U.S. bronze medalist, included a challenging triple flip, triple toe combination in her short, but the triple toe looked under-rotated and a bit two-footed. The rest of the program was solid, and she notched 56.17, a new season's best.

Former world champion Miki Ando of Japan opened her short with a powerful triple Lutz, double loop combination, but judging by her relatively low technical score, may have gained deductions on her triple flip or another element. She placed fifth with 54 points, some 3.43 off the lead.