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Japan's Arakawa Grabs Gold in Olympic Figure Skating Upset


Japan has won its first gold medal at the Winter Olympics, scoring a surprise win in women's figure skating.

Shizuka Arakawa not only won her nation's first medal at these Winter Games, but she also became the first ever Japanese to win the women's figure skating gold medal.

The top three women after Tuesday's short program were separated by less than one point, so the pressure was on for Thursday night's free skate, and Arakawa rose to the occasion, hitting all of her triple jumps and performing difficult spins. She now has an Olympic title to go with her world title from 2004.

American Sasha Cohen, first after the short program, fell on her opening triple Lutz and then stumbled out of her triple flip. She said she had to pull herself together after those mishaps. "I took it one step at a time and I was able to believe when everything looked really dark and grey," she said.

Cohen was successful on five other triple jumps and earned the silver medal. "I definitely didn't think I was going to get any medal, so it was a nice surprise," she said.

Reigning world figure skating champion, Russian Irina Slutskaya, had been second after the short program, but she fell on a triple loop, was wobbly on a triple flip, and doubled one of her other scheduled triple jumps. She had to settle for the bronze medal.

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