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Nagasu disappointed despite season-best score

February 23, 2010 |  7:52 pm

By Philip Hersh

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Mirai Nagasu of Arcadia, Calif., first of the top-rated competitors to take the ice in the Olympic short program Thursday, was planning to gamble on a tougher jump combination than she had done this season.

Rather than a triple lutz - double toe loop, worth 7.3 points, it was to be a triple-triple, worth 10.0.

Nagasu, in her first Olympics at age 16, was in a perfect position to take the gamble, with no pressure on her.

Mirai But Nagasu decided to do triple-double after over-rotating the triple lutz.  She wound up with a season-best score of 63.76, but was disappointed.

``In the Olympics, a medal is a big goal,'' she said.  ``From today's performance, I don't think I can reach the podium.''

Nagasu said she opted out of the triple-triple after a ``funky landing'' on the lutz. 

About a minute later, she suddenly had a bloody nose.

``You have to deal with what you've got, even if you've got blood running down your nose,'' she said.  ``I still did the best I could, and I think it was OK.''

Nagasu had positive grades of execution on every element except the original combination, where she lost 1.2, apparently for a wrong edge takeoff.  Her component scores were relatively low, all in the 6-point range, which is the way judges often penalize skaters whom they think have more dues to pay.

``I thought I could have skated better,'' she said.  ``I'm happy that in my first Olympics, I didn't fall yet.''

With 10 skaters left, including all the medal contenders, Nagasu's score was holding up in first place.

Nagasu was impressed that Canadian skater Joannie Rochette plans to compete less than three days after her mother, Therese, 55, died of a heart attack early Sunday in Vancouver.

``I just applaud her for taking the ice,'' Nagasu said.  ``This is what the two of them worked so hard for.  I think she will do her best because her mom will be with her.''

(Photo: Mirai Nagasu executing a layback spin in her short program.  Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)