Mao Asada won her third World Championship on Saturday. Few adoring Japanese flag-waving spectators appeared to exit the packed Saitama Super Arena near Tokyo until after her in-house interview, a medal ceremony, a lap of honor for all three medalists and more photo opps before she departed the ice.
Asada totaled 216.69 points, outlasting Russian Yulia Lipnitskaya (207.50) and Italian Carolina Kostner (203.83) for gold. She added to her collection that includes 2008 and 2010 World Championships and the 2010 Olympic silver medal.
Americans Gracie Gold, Ashley Wagner and Polina Edmunds were fifth, seventh and eighth.
No Americans won medals in any discipline at the World Championships (oop) for the first time since 1994.
Asada, 23, said after a disappointing sixth-place finish at the Sochi Olympics that she was reconsidering plans to retire after the World Championships. She looked at the top of her game in the short program Thursday, recording the highest score in history.
Asada’s place as one of the all-time greats is secure, despite what went wrong in Sochi or whether she skates competitively again.
She joined Michelle Kwan and Katarina Witt as the only women to win at least three World Championships in the last 45 years.