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Ando edges flip-popping Kim in short

Jump continues to plague Olympic favorite

Miki Ando leads the ladies after the short program in Tokyo.
Miki Ando leads the ladies after the short program in Tokyo. (Getty Images)

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By Alexandra Stevenson, special to icenetwork.com
(12/04/2009) - For the third time in three competitions, Yu-Na Kim's triple flip failed her.

At her Grand Prix events, the troublesome jump eluded the world champion in her free skates. This time around, a popped triple jump cost her the lead in the short program, and she trails Miki Ando by .56.

"That's okay," Kim's coach, Brian Orser, told the disappointed skater in the kiss and cry. "You're going to have a short like that, too."

The rest of the South Korean's James Bond program, despite a downgrade to her intended triple Lutz, triple toe combination, was solid and she earned 65.64 points.

"I saw in slow motion in the kiss and cry the triple-triple and I thought it was not downgraded, so I don't know what happened," Kim said. "I will check my performance today in the hotel. I think it was a good fight. Maybe I can forget about it tomorrow."

Ando capitalized on Kim's mishap with a speedy, confident program to Mozart's "Requiem" that included a powerful triple Lutz, double loop combination and triple flip.

The Japanese skater had been hitting triple-triples in her practices, but elected to play it safe in competition. She takes 66.20 points into tomorrow's free skate.

"[The jump] felt slightly off when I went into the air, so I did a double loop," Ando said. "I really wanted to do that triple-triple! But I went on with my program, and only thought about nailing my triple flip. I also missed my [layback] spin: my left edge slipped."

Russia's Alena Leonova sits third with a personal best 61.60 after an energetic short to a Russian folk dance. Joannie Rochette of Canada stumbled out of the triple Lutz, double toe combination in her stylish Tango program and is fourth with 60.94.

Surprise qualifier Akiko Suzuki of Japan is fifth with 57.54 points. Sole U.S. entrant Ashley Wagner is sixth with 54.26 after technical deductions including a downgraded double Axel.

"I always expect perfection of myself, so I'm disappointed, but mistakes are not the end of the world," Wagner said. "I am making progress."

Lynn Rutherford contributed to this article