Italy's Kostner carries lead to win Cup of China

Mozart routine delights Shanghai crowd

Carolina Kostner's 182.14 points were enough to take gold at Cup of China.
Carolina Kostner's 182.14 points were enough to take gold at Cup of China. (AFP)


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(11/05/2011) - Italy's Carolina Kostner finished Saturday's free skate with a solid performance, overcoming American Mirai Nagasu to take home the gold medal.

After finishing second at Skate America last week, Kostner finished her free skate Saturday with 120.26 points, executing a smooth triple loop during her conservative routine, which was similar to previous performances.

She began her routine with a gentle triple loop while skating to music by Mozart and then went on to land a triple flip with a foot down in addition to three triples executed with ease. With a total of 182.14 points after her performance, Kostner beamed in the Shanghai stadium at a roaring crowd.

"I am so relieved to make it to the Grand Prix Final," Kostner said. "Usually I struggle with consistency early in the season. The scores in this competition give me confidence that my programs have been accepted."

She has fared well in China in the past -- she placed second last year at the Grand Prix final in Beijing -- but said she questioned in the past whether to take a break from skating.

American Mirai Nagasu took home silver on Saturday after a strong free-skate performance to music by Aram Khatchaturian that earned 112.26 points. And after a disappointing fifth-place finish at Skate Canada last week, a more mature-looking Nagasu started with a solid triple loop-double toe combination followed by a triple Lutz and triple toe.

Following her second-place finish Friday, Nagasu said she was happy with her her final performance. She went home with 173.22 points total -- her second Grand Prix medal.

"When I came to the Cup of China previously, I did very well in the short program and then dropped to fourth place," Nagasu said. "To break that curse is such a huge relief to me. Coming here and skating well, I'm just happy and ready for my next competition."

Nagasu was followed far behind by third-place finisher and world junior champion Adelina Sotnikova of Russia, who finished with 159.95 points in her international senior debut. The world junior champion gave a rocky performance in the free skate and received 106.21 points for landing a singled Lutz and stepping out of two double Axels.

American Christina Gao finished strong in fifth place with 152.48 points overall, landing a flip-triple toe. She came in fourth in the free skate for her terse performance to "Libertango" by Astor Piazzolla, scoring 100.49 points.