Kim is the only new number one of the week

Zhang and Zhang solidify their place as the top pair

Yu-Na Kim won her second gold medal and took over the top spot in the world rankings.
Yu-Na Kim won her second gold medal and took over the top spot in the world rankings. (Getty Images)


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By Todd Hinckley
(11/26/2007) - There were not a whole lot of changes in's World Figure Skating Rankings this week. South Korea's Yu-Na Kim made the biggest move by taking over the ladies top spot.


Mao Asada had held the ladies No. 1 spot all year, but her reign ended this week after the Cup of Russia. Yu-Na Kim won her second ISU gold medal of the season, and she did it in convincing fashion.

After holding a three-point lead after the short program, Kim pulled away from the field with a blistering free skate. Her 133.70-point long program was not only a personal best but also a new record, just eclipsing the mark set by Asada at the 2007 World Championships. It was not the only thing thing Kim took from Asada this weekend.

The record-breaking free skate proved Kim's worthiness at the top of the rankings. Asada can try to reclaim her throne at the ISU Grand Prix Final in Turin, Italy, in December.

The other medalists in Moscow also moved up in the rankings, slightly rearranging the rest of the top ten. Yukari Nakano won her second Grand Prix silver medal of the season and re-entered the top five. Joannie Rochette moved up two spots to No. 6 with her bronze-medal performance.


There were a few changes near the top of the men's rankings this week. No one has yet proven to be in Brian Joubert's class at the top, but there is some jockeying right behind him.

Johnny Weir moved up to No. 5 after his victory in Russia this week. The three-time U.S. champion seems to be regaining his championship form. Weir had even dropped out of the top ten at the beginning of the year, but two gold medals have placed him back atop the men's pecking order. The only two-time men's gold medalist this year will certainly be one of the favorites at the Grand Prix Final in Italy.

Two-time world champion Stephane Lambiel is also trying to regain his top form. The Swiss skater won the silver medal this week, even winning the short program. That finish moved Lambiel up to third in the rankings.

Jeffrey Buttle had a chance of his own to show that he too was improving his skating this year, but the 2006 Olympic bronze medalist struggled mightily in his short program. Buttle stayed put in the No. 7 spot, but his position in the top ten is more a representation of past performance than what he's put forth on the ice this year.


After not competing for the early part of the season, China's Dan Zhang and Hao Zhang have made their presence in the Grand Prix Series felt the past two weeks. In that time, they have managed to beat their two toughest rivals, compatriots Qing Pang and Jian Tong in Paris and Germany's Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy in Moscow. The back-to-back gold medals leave them as unquestionably the top pair in the world. Savchenko and Szolkowy remained in the No. 3 spot after their silver-medal performance at the Cup of Russia.

Yuko Kawaguchi and Alexander Smirnov beat out teammates Maria Mukhortova and Maxim Trankov for the bronze medal in front of the home crowd in Moscow. Kawaguchi and Smirnov also made the bigger splash in the rankings. They were the biggest mover of the week, jumping up to No. 11. Mukhortova and Trankov also bumped up to eighth.

Ice Dancing

Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto still have a stranglehold on the No. 1 dance position, and they have won two gold medals this year, but there are some serious threats to the Americans.

Russia's Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin won the compulsory and original dances when they faced off against Belbin and Agosto in China earlier this month. And last week, Domnina and Shabalin put on the most impressive dance performance of the season, earning 205.24 points on their home ice. Their masterful performance included a 101.99-point free dance, the first one of the season to earn triple digits.

With their gold-medal performance, sweeping all three disciplines, Domnina and Shabalin lept over France's Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder to take the second spot.

The other big mover in the dance rankings was Delobel and Schoenfelder's teammate, Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat. The French team won its second silver medal of the year last week and jumped into the top ten at No. 9.