Gold 5th in short at Four Continents skate
With her big jump back in play, Asada takes big lead
Gracie Gold in Saturday's short program at the Four Continents Championship. (Atsushi Tomura / Getty Images / February 9, 2013)
But the Elk Grove Village-based skater still is within reach of everyone but runaway leader Mao Asada of Japan, whose short program included a successful triple axel. It was the first time in five competitions this season Asada has attempted what had been her signature jump.
Asada, two-time world champion and 2010 Olympic silver medalist scored 74.49 points, with teammates Akiko Suzuki (65.65) and Kanako Murakami (64.04) second and third.
Harvard freshman Christina Gao of the United States was fourth at 62.34 to Gold's 60.36. Agnes Zawadzki of the U.S. fell on a double axel again and took seventh (57.45), with the free skate Sunday.
Gold, 17, runner-up at last month's U.S. Championships, lost points for the landings of the jump combination and the triple lutz, putting her hand down on the latter.
"It was an OK program," Gold said. "It wasn't my best. I stood up on everything so for that I was happy. I did all of my elements but I didn't do them the best that I could."
This is the first senior international championship of Gold's career.
"This Four Continents is about experience," Gold said. "To compete with world medalists, to even be in the same warm-up (group) with skaters like Mao Asada is amazing."
Asada had not tried a triple axel since botching one in both the short and long programs at last year's World Championships. By putting it back in her technical arsenal, she seems to be throwing down a gauntlet to reigning Olympic champion Yuna Kim of South Korea before next month's world championships.
At the 2010 Olympics, Asada had become the first woman to land two triple axels in a free skate. But the jump has been a struggle for her since.
New U.S. champion Max Aaron rallied from a poor short program (10th place) to take second in the free skate and finish fourth overall. Aaron missed the podium by less than a point but trailed surprise winner Kevin Reynolds of Canada by more than 15.
Aaron's fellow 2013 world team member, Ross Miner, slogged to ninth, 36-odd points behind Reynolds. Richard Dornbush of the U.S. was fifth.
U.S. women's champion Ashley Wagner skipped Four Continents to focus on getting back the high quality of skating that had produced victories in two Grand Prix events last fall. A crash landing on a jump at the Grand Prix Final in early December had compromised Wagner's training before she staggered to the national title.