The ladies event at the Japanese Nationals is underway and Mao Asada is in the lead with 69.12 points, per USA Today. However, it seems her troubles are not behind her. She was downgraded on a triple axel (WHY IS SHE STILL DOING THOSE IN THE SHORT PROGRAM?). Yukari Nakano strengthened her Olympic campaign by finishing the short right behind Asada with a 68.90, and Miki Ando, who has already qualified for the Olympics due to her Grand Prix success, was in third with a 68.68. What a close competition! Akiko Suzuki is in fourth with a 67.84.
And quite a surprise in the Russian nationals - Alena Leonova is in fourth place after the short program! According to the Examiner, she trails Sofya Biryukova, Ksenya Marakova, and Adelina Sotnikova. Marakova is the only one of those three age-eligible for Vancouver. Leonova was a strong starter this season but maybe she peaked too soon?