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Osmond delivers stellar free to win first world crown

Japan's Higuchi, Miyahara win silver, bronze; USA's Tennell pulls into sixth
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Looking to move into podium position after finishing fourth in the short program, Olympic bronze medalist and reigning world silver medalist Kaetlyn Osmond produced a crisp version of her 'Black Swan' free, and by finishing with 223.23 points overall -- including 150.50 in the segment -- the Canadian vaulted in the standings to capture her first world title. -Getty Images

Olympic bronze medalist and 2017 world silver medalist Kaetlyn Osmond rose up from fourth place after the short program to become the first Canadian woman in 45 years to win the World Figure Skating Championships on Friday in Milan, Italy. Finishing second to Osmond were a pair of Japanese skaters, as Wakaba Higuchi and Satoko Miyahara claimed the silver and bronze medals, respectively.

Overnight leader Carolina Kostner dropped to fourth in the final standings, while Olympic champion Alina Zagitova, who was second in the short program, finished in fifth place.

Osmond, who was the first skater to take the ice in the final group of skaters, opened her powerful Black Swan program with a triple flip-triple toe loop combination and would go on to complete a triple lutz, loop, flip and triple salchow-double toe-double loop combination.

Her only glitch came when she stepped out of the double axel-triple toe loop combination. The Canadian champion collected a Level 4 for her spins and footwork en route to scoring 150.50 points in the segment, and with an overall total of 223.23, Osmond became the first Canadian since Karen Magnusson in 1973 to win the world title.

"It (winning) never crossed my mind until it actually happened," the 22-year-old said. "My goal here was to skate clean and I was able to do that. To make the podium was my ultimate goal but I never thought that being champion was possible. That was probably the hardest long program I've done all year. It was a great mental focus for me to be able to do that and I'm just really happy that I was able to end my year with two clean long programs."

Higuchi produced seven clean triples -- including two triple lutz-triple toe loop combinations -- as well as two double axels and Level 4 spins in her James Bond routine. Her effort helped the 17-year-old earn 145.01 points in the segment and 210.90 overall, as she rose from eighth place after the short program to win silver.

"After the mistakes in the short program I was determined to give everything that I did in practice in the free, and I think I did that today so I was very pleased," Higuchi said. "It gave me a lot of confidence that I was able to show everything I had at the end of the season. I wish I had been able to show a better short program but it was a very good experience for me."

Performing to Madame Butterfly, Miyahara nailed five clean triple jumps as well as difficult spins and footwork. While the 2015 world silver medalist would tumble on a double salchow, she was still able to accrue 135.72 points in the free skate, remaining in third place with 210.08 points.

"After finishing my free program I didn't expect to get this bronze medal, so it is very unexpected, but I also think I was stiff and the jumps were small, so again, I think I have to do more, I have many things to do," Miyahara said. "I want to be a skater that moves people's hearts. Of course, it is necessary to skate perfect programs, so I need to work hard. Other things I think I have to work on is more like dances, ballet, everything."

Kostner dropped all the way to fourth after the six-time world medalist and 2012 world champion fell on a triple salchow and stumbled on a single axel on her way to finishing the competition with 208.88 points.

"I was concentrating 100 percent on my skating and the elements but the rhythm felt a bit off and I didn't feel as comfortable and confident as in practice and so I made mistakes," Kostner said. "I tried my best. I couldn't do more. To me it is a great achievement and I'm grateful to the Italian crowd for how much they have learned about the spirit."

Zagitova failed to execute three jumps in her program, and those errors dropped her to fifth place with 207.72 points.

U.S. champion Bradie Tennell landed in sixth place with 199.98 points, while teammates Mirai Nagasu (187.52 points) and Mariah Bell (174.40) finished 10th and 12th, respectively.