Japan's Satoko Miyahara placed fourth and Olympic Athlete from Russia Alina Zagitova set a world record in the women's short program Wednesday to take the lead heading into the free skate at the Pyeongchang Winter Games.
Four-time national champion Miyahara delivered a clean skate for a personal best score of 75.94 points at Gangneung Ice Arena, nearly seven points behind Zagitova. European champion Zagitova scored 82.92 to break the previous world mark that had been set just minutes earlier by compatriot and world champion Evgenia Medvedeva.
(Olympic Athlete from Russia Evgenia Medvedeva)
Medvedeva (81.61) is in second place behind her 15-year-old training partner heading into Friday's long program, while Canada's Kaetlyn Osmond is third with 78.87. Japan's Kaori Sakamoto placed fifth with 73.18.
"I was very happy when I saw the score, but I did not expect it. Now my name will be connected to that record," said Zagitova.
(Olympic Athlete from Russia Alina Zagitova)
"From the score, this is the best performance of my life, but there is still room to grow. I could have had more speed going into the jumps, the landings of the jumps could have been smoother, there could have been more emotions," she said.
Skating to the soundtrack from Memoirs of a Geisha, Miyahara nailed a triple lutz-triple toeloop and also cleanly landed a triple loop and a double axel.
(Satoko Miyahara of Japan)
"I think it was a good performance for me but I was very nervous and wanted to be more expressive and open," said Miyahara, who is just under three points behind Osmond.
"There are still many things for me to do and I want to do my best in the free program too."
Sakamoto also posted a personal best score after landing all of her jumps in her skate to Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata.
(Kaori Sakamoto of Japan)
"The thing that makes me happiest is that I was able to skate as I know I can on this big Olympic stage," said Sakamoto. "I often hear there are demons at the Olympics but I was able to conquer those demons."
"I try to improve on the negative aspects of my performance at each and every competition and have worked really hard. That has turned out to be a plus and led to a personal best score."
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