Mirai Nagasu, Sasha Cohen shine in Spokane

Welcome back Sasha Cohen.

Four years removed from her last competitive effort, a bronze medal finish at the 2006 World Championships, reigning Olympic silver medalist Cohen picked up at the 2010 U.S. Championships exactly where she left off — at the top.

Cohen finished a close second in the short program Thursday with a solid performance that brought the near sold out crowd in the Spokane Arena to their feet. She has 69.63 points, coming in just behind 2008 U.S. Champion Mirai Nagasu (70.06) and slightly ahead of two-time national silver medalist (69.35).

“I’m so happy to be out here,” said Cohen, who planned to make a return in the fall but withdrew from her Grand Prix international events because of an injury. “It was really a special night for me.”

Cohen triple lutz-double toe loop combination was solid, and she tossed off her triple flip with ease, something she was not always able to do, before nailing a double Axel. But the beautiful spirals and spins were the highlight, just as they have always been.

“I’m just so happy to be here and that’s a huge accomplishment in itself,” Cohen said.

Nagasu, who won the 2008 U.S. Championship but fell to fifth last year, was equally as impressive although she did receive an edge warning on the first jump of her triple lutz-double toe. She also landed a triple flip and double Axel. Her three spins were all judged as Level 4 — the highest and the spiral sequence was Level 4 while the footwork was Level 3.

“I’m just here to show myself and everyone that I’m the future of the USA,” Nagasu said. “I’m not in my personal bubble all the time, and I do have access to the Internet. I can read what people write. I just want to be a dark horse and come up from behind.”

Flatt, who beat 2009 World Champion Yu-Na Kim in the free skate at November’s Skate America, was one of only two women to do a triple-triple combination. She was a little swingy on the landing of the triple flip, the first jump in the combo.

“It’s probably one of the worst landings I’ve had on a triple-triple all week,” Flatt said. “My first two jumping passes were a little shaky, but I think I did a good job fighting for them.”

Ashley Wagner (62.55) is a distant fourth after falling on the triple Lutz. Reigning U.S. Champion Alissa Czisny is even further back, in seventh, after falling and under rotating the triple Lutz, the opening jump in what should have been a triple Lutz-double toe combination, and popping her triple flip into a double.


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