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Despite fall, U.S. champion Alissa Czisny wins Skate America

October 23, 2011 |  4:56 pm

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Defending U.S. champion Alissa Czisny survived an early fall on her triple flip and held off Italy's Carolina Kostner on Sunday to win the women's title at Skate America at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario. Czisny, who also had a crooked landing on a triple loop and doubled another planned triple, outshone Kostner with her fast-paced footwork and technically better spins, also elements that are judged.

Czisny finished with 177.48 points, just ahead of Kostner's 177.35.

Skating to "Valse Triste" by Jean Sibelius and dressed in deep purple, Czisny's fall came on the second jump of her program. On her next jump, the triple loop, Czisny had an unsteady landingm but the 24-year-old gathered her composure and finished with highly rated spins and circular step work.

Viktoria Helgesson of Sweden won the bronze medal with a score of 145.75. Caroline Zhang, an 18-year-old from Brea who was third after the short program, had three falls in her long program, which ranked last among the 10 skaters Sunday, and fell to sixth place overall.

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Alissa Czisny celebrates her gold medal victory ahead of Carolina Kostner of Italy (left) and Viktoria Helgesson of Sweden (right) for the Ladies Free Skate competition. Credit: Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty Images

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