October 22, 2005

Japan’s Takahashi easily wins title

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Japan's Daisuke Takahashi, ranked 15
in the world, landed seven triple jumps in a near faultless
routine to win the free skating and easily take the overall
Skate America men's title on Friday.

American Evan Lysacek finished second overall after taking
third place in the free skate, while defending champion Brian
Joubert, second behind Takahashi on Friday, was awarded third

"Skating was good," said Takahashi, who finished with
218.54 points, well ahead of Lysacek's 193.71. "I landed almost
everything. I was very happy."

Frenchman Joubert, the 2004 European gold medallist, had
his work cut out on Friday after he was left trailing in fourth
place following an error-filled display in the short programme.

"I'm a little bit disappointed because I didn't do a clean
programme," said Joubert, who fell over at the beginning of his
routine to 'Lord of the Dance'.

"But I fought. I made a big mistake on my quad jump, but
after this I did all my (other) jumps, I'm happy about that.

"I know what to do for the next competition."

Russian Elena Sokolova finished top in the women's short

Taking advantage of the absence of the world's top female
skaters from the event, the former world number two turned in a
solid but unspectacular performance.

Sokolova is favorite to take the title after Americans
Michelle Kwan and Sasha Cohen withdrew due to injuries.

"I think I did the best I can do right now," Sokolova said.
"I'm satisfied with today's programme."

She skated a clean programme to Puccini's "Turandot" to
score 57.94. Japan's Yoshie Onda was second with 53.90 and
Alissa Czisny of the United States third with 52.82.

In the ice dance event, world silver medallists Tanith
Belbin and Benjamin Agosto extended their lead over French
couple Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder.

The local favourites were awarded 58.37 for their salsa
performance, while Delobel and Schoenfelder were second after
the original dance with 55.77.