Japan's Asada has shaky program

PARIS -- World champion Kim Yu-na of South Korea skated to a medley of James Bond themes Friday and opened a massive lead in the women's short program at the Trophee Bompard.

Wearing a halter dress with gold and silver sequins, she was nearly 17 points ahead of Yukari Nakano of Japan. Kim hit perfect landings on her jumps, including a new difficult triple lutz-triple toe loop combination to begin her program.

She had 76.08 points and Nakano 59.64. Kim's main rival in Paris, 2008 world champion Mao Asada of Japan, missed her first jump and was third at 58.96.

"This was the first time I was skating my program and ultimately everything went fine," said Kim, who pumped her fists and waved to the crowd. "I was able to deliver a good performance to the audience and that's great."

Former European champion Tomas Verner of the Czech Republic led after the men's short program. He was almost two points ahead of Nobunari Oda of Japan. Reigning world junior champion Adam Rippon of the United States was third with a personal best. Former world champion Brian Joubert of France disappointed home fans by finishing sixth.

In the pairs short program, defending world champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany outclassed their rivals. In ice dance, world bronze medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada took an early lead.

This is the first time the Trophee Bompard has opened the six-event ISU Grand Prix, which traditionally starts with Skate America. Skaters collect points toward a place in the Grand Prix final in December at Tokyo.

Asada had a poor start, missing a triple axel in a triple axel-double toe loop combination.

"Let's hope I won't do that again in tomorrow's long program," she said. "I can't explain what happened. I felt good on the ice. Maybe I was lacking speed before the jump."

Caroline Zhang, the 2007 junior world champion, finished fifth (57.26 points), just behind fellow American Alexe Gilles (58.22).

Kim, who won in Paris three years ago, will perform to George Gershwin's "Piano Concerto in F Major" in Saturday's free skate.

"It will be the first time I'll try this program in competition," she said. "I'll do my best."

Skating to music from "Zorba the Greek," Verner nailed a quadruple toe loop-triple toe loop combination, a triple axel and a triple lutz for a score of 81.00. Oda was second with 79.20, followed by Rippon at 75.82.

"I'm satisfied with my performance," said Verner, who was inspired by Anthony Quinn's Zorba from the 1964 movie. "I'm not afraid to start my program with a quadruple jump because Zorba wouldn't be afraid to."

Oda, skating to the very dark "Danse Macabre," landed a triple axel, a triple lutz-triple toe loop combination and a triple flip in quick succession to open his program.

"I kept the focus on myself and I'm really happy with my performance tonight," said Oda, who won last year's NHK Trophy.

Rippon's moved to Canada last year to train with Brian Orser, the 1984 and 1988 Olympic silver medalist who was also Kim's coach.

"It was a little bit shaky, but I'm happy with the jumps and the interpretation," said the 19-year old American after performing to "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" music.

Joubert botched his quadruple toe loop-triple toe loop combination before missing his landing on a triple lutz to finish with 72.15 points.

In pairs, Savchenko and Szolkowy led with 72.98 points, improving their previous personal best of 72.30. European bronze medalists Maria Mukhortova and Maxim Trankov of Russia scored 66.88, and Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison of Canada were third with 64.54.

In ice dance, Virtue and Moir, one of Canada's top hopes for a figure skating medal at the Vancouver Olympics, dominated the compulsories and original dance to build an overall lead of 100.32. The French pair of Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat was next at 91.87. British siblings Sinead Kerr and John Kerr, second after the compulsory program, slipped to third at 90.86.