Originally created 12/26/05

Asada pulls off two triple axels



TOKYO - Mao Asada became the first female skater to do two triple axels in a free program, accomplishing the feat at the Japanese national championships Sunday.

She finished second behind two-time world bronze medalist Fumie Suguri and ahead of 2004 world champion Shizuka Arakawa. However, she is still ineligible for the Olympics

Asada turned 15 in September, less than three months after the July 1 deadline the International Skating Union set for eligibility for the Winter Olympics. The ISU made the rule change in 1996 on medical advice.

Asada won the Grand Prix final at the same arena last week, beating world champion Irina Slutskaya.

Asada was just third after the short program but jumped to second Sunday after the free skating, which Suguri won.

"I'm very happy to have done two triple axels, I wasn't thinking about the championship but was just focusing on the two triple axels," Asada said. "I'd give myself 95 out of 100 for today's skate."

She opened with a triple axel then followed it with a triple axel in combination with a double toe loop.

Asada became just the sixth woman to land the 3 revolution jump in competition.

The first to do it was Midori Ito, who was at the arena doing commentary. She did it first in Japanese regional competition in late 1988 and later the first internationally at the 1989 world championships.

The Japanese federation has said they will not make any special requests to the International Skating Union to alter the rule to get Asada to the Olympics.

The ISU has made it clear it will not change the rule for an individual case so close to the Olympics.

Japanese skating officials are expected to make a final decision on the Olympic squad on Sunday for the three women's spots and one men's berth.