Asada skates around Kim for world crown
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That Asian rivalry — Asada vs. Kim — has been reignited.
Mao Asada beat Olympic champion Kim Yu-na to win her second title at the World Figure Skating Championships yesterday at Turin, Italy.
The rivalry between the 19-year-olds had gone quiet recently as Kim dominated the past two seasons, losing just one competition. That was to Asada.
And now, again.
"I didn't think I would be sitting here," Asada said, noting that she's had trouble all season with her trademark triple axel. "I had to continue and challenge and push myself. And I guess that is what led to today's results."
The Japanese star and Olympic silver medalist, who also won the title in 2008 only to see Kim grab it last year, finished with 197.58 points, almost seven in front of South Korea's Kim. Laura Lepisto took bronze, Finland's first medal at worlds.
"I am just really happy Japan was able to get the gold in both the women's and the men's competition," Asada told the crowd, saying she was motivated by Daisuke Takahashi's victory in the men's competition.
The Americans were less than thrilled with their results. Mirai Nagasu, the leader after the short program, tumbled to seventh after botching four jumps. Teammate Rachel Flatt was in ninth, meaning the United States will again have just two women at next year's worlds.
Nagasu and Flatt had to finish with a combined placement of 13 or better — sixth and seventh, say — to pick up a third spot.
"I'm just really disappointed in myself for not stepping up to the plate today," Nagasu said. "I'm sorry I didn't do the best that I could have done. Coming out of the Olympics, where I was in fourth place, finishing in seventh place here is a really big blow. I feel really bad."
HAPPY RETURN FOR HELIO
If there was a low moment for Helio Castroneves during last year's tax-evasion trial that threatened to end his racing career and send him to jail, it likely came during the Honda Grand Prix.
It's one of Castroneves' favorite races. And fighting for his freedom kept him from sitting behind the wheel that weekend.
Today, he'll be back, starting fifth in the race on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit in St. Petersburg, Fla. His Penske Racing teammate Will Power, easily the dominant driver in St. Pete so far this weekend, will be on the pole.
Still, it's a course that suits Castroneves perfectly, proven by his IndyCar victories here in 2006 and 2007, and runner-up finish in 2008.
And to say he appreciates this return to the waterfront layout is putting it mildly.
"Big time. Big time," Castroneves said yesterday. "The fans are happy to see me back, they say 'We really missed you here last year.' "
BAD START FOR ARMSTRONG
Alberto Contador outclassed Lance Armstrong in the first stage of the two-day Criterium International yesterday at Col De L'Ospedale, Corsica.
Pierrick Fedrigo won the stage in 5 hours, 19 minutes, 35 seconds, with Contador finishing in the pack 1:21 behind, while Armstrong was 5:01 off the pace in the former teammates' first race together since last year's Tour de France.
"In the beginning I thought I was either really, really good or really, really bad, and it was the latter," Armstrong said.
PHOTO FINISH FOR $10M
Gloria De Campeao won the $10 million Dubai World Cup yesterday in a photo finish, nosing out long-shot Lizard's Desire to capture the world's richest horse race at Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Gloria De Campeao, Lizard's Desire and Allybar practically hit the wire together on the all-weather track at the newly opened Meydan Racecourse.
"This is the best win of my life," jockey Tiago Pereira said. "It's unbelievable."
Two favorites — Britian-bred Gitano Hernando and U.S.-based Gio Ponti — never seriously challenged during the 1 1/4-mile race, the highlight of an eight-race card worth $26 million.
CARDS' PORTER ARRESTED
Authorities say NFL linebacker Joey Porter has been arrested in Bakersfield, Calif., on suspicion of drunken driving and accused of assaulting an officer and resisting arrest.
The California Highway Patrol says the 33-year-old player was confronted by officers early yesterday in a fast-food parking lot.
Porter refused to provide his driver's license and began to roll up his window when asked to leave the car. Police say that when an officer reached to unlock the door Porter slapped the officer's hand.
The 11-year veteran recently signed with the Arizona Cardinals. He also has played for Pittsburgh and Miami.
AND WHAT'S MORE ...
Oregon has named the university's former vice president for student affairs Lorraine Davis as interim athletics director while the search for Mike Bellotti's replacement is conducted. ... Challenger Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (75-3-1, 39 knockouts) of Thailand scored a 12-round decision over Koki Kameda (22-1-0) of Japan to win the WBC flyweight title yesterday in Tokyo. ... Kevin Harvick pulled away from teammate Ron Hornaday Jr. on a restart with 19 laps to go to win the Kroger 250 at Martinsville, Va., his second consecutive truck series victory.