THE CANADIAN PRESS
GOYANG, South Korea — Four-time Canadian champion Joannie Rochette rode a season’s best performance in Saturday’s free skate to the silver medal at the Four Continents figure skating event.
Skating to a western style "Don Juan," the reigning Four Continents bronze medallist from Ile Dupas, Que., scored 119.50 points for an aggregate total of 179.54.
The big effort in the free skate lifted her past world champion Miki Ando of Japan, who began the day in second but settled for third.
"I am very happy with my performance," said Rochette. "No injuries and lots of training makes a difference.
"I just wanted to come here and do my best and try the triple-triple in the short program so it’s great to finish second."
Mao Asada of Japan picked up 132.31 points in the free skate for a total of 193.25 to claim gold. Ando scored 117.59 in the and finished with 177.66.
Mira Leung of Vancouver was fifth while Cynthia Phaneuf of Contrecoeur, Que., was seventh.
Rochette’s silver capped a big competition, which included gold for ice dancers Tessa Virtue of London, Ont., and Scott Moir of Ilderton, Ont., and silver for Jeff Buttle of Smooth Rock Falls, Ont., in the men’s event.
All are now well ositioned heading into the world championships next month in Sweden.
The top three were separated by less than a point after the short program two days earlier, but Asada outperformed the rest of the field in the free skate, with local hero and main rival Kim Yu-Na absent with a hip injury.
Asada performed to Chopin’s "Fantasie Impromptu" with a triple flip and triple loop that delighted the crowd.
"My performance was better than I expected," Asada said. "It was easily my best performance of the season so far."
Ando was last to skate and fell early in her routine, never looking like she would challenge for gold.