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Kozuka comes up big at Trophee Bompard

Amodio wins silver; Mroz takes bronze

Takahiko Kozuka bested the men's field at the Trophee Eric Bompard.
Takahiko Kozuka bested the men's field at the Trophee Eric Bompard. (Getty Images)

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By icenetwork.com
(11/27/2010) - With a near-perfect free skate, Takahiko Kozuka posted the second-highest score ever to win his second Grand Prix gold of the season in Paris.

Florent Amodio skated a dynamic program to win silver. Brandon Mroz had another strong performance to take the bronze medal, his second Grand Prix medal this fall.

Kozuka, the Japanese bronze medalist, opened his program to a Liszt piano concerto with a quadruple toe loop that was slightly two-footed on the landing. From there on the 21-year-old from Nagoya put on a clinic of fluid skating and clean jumps, including two triple Axels -- the second as part of a three-jump combination -- and a triple Lutz, triple toe. Five of his jump elements were done in the second half of the program, and he skated with as much energy at the close as he had at the start.

Kozuka was awarded 170.43 points, second only to Daisuke Takahashi's free skate score at the 2008 Four Continents Championship, although ever-changing program requirements make comparisons difficult.

With this win, Kozuka joins countrymen Takahashi and Nobunari Oda at next month's Grand Prix Final in Beijing.

Amodio also had one of his finest-ever performances. Skating to a Michael Jackson medley, the French champion opened with two triple Axels, although the second -- done in combination with a double toe -- was slightly two-footed. Like Kozuka, five of his jump elements, including a triple Salchow, triple toe combination, where completed in the second half of the program, earning bonus points.

Amodio earned 153.76, some ten points over his previous season best, and finished with 229.38, more than 18 points behind Kozuka.

The point totals of this silver, and Amodio's bronze at NHK Trophy, qualify the 20-year-old for the Grand Prix Final. In addition to the three Japanese, Canadian Patrick Chan and Czech Tomas Verner also qualified.

Competing in such stellar company, Mroz was a worthy bronze medalist. The Colorado Springs-based skater opened his On the Waterfront program with a quad toe, followed by a strong triple Axel, triple toe combination and a triple Lutz. He left a few points on the table when he turned out of his second triple Axel and gained just Level 1 on his closing combination spin, earning 141.85, a bit under the mark he posted at Cup of China, where he won silver. He finished with 214.31.

Canadian Kevin Reynolds landed a quad Salchow and triple Axel, triple toe combination in his free to climb from seventh after the short to fourth overall.

Former world champion Brian Joubert's troubles this season continue. After placing fifth in the short, the world bronze medalist withdrew from the free skate, reportedly citing stomach flu.