Teen skating star Polina Edmunds came to the 2014 World Championships hoping to improve on her placing at the Sochi Olympics.

She completed the goal Saturday in only her second senior international competition by finishing eighth at Saitama, Japan.

Edmunds, 15, jumped four spots from the short program after an outstanding free skate to finish better than her ninth place in the Winter Olympics.

"It would be one of my best performances ever for sure," the Archbishop Mitty sophomore told reporters in Japan. "I'm happy that I finished the season off strong."

After an early mistake in the short program left her in 12th place, Edmunds again showed the mental strength to never give up. Her long program to the Norwegian play "Peer Gynt" included six high-scoring triple jumps.

"I felt really comfortable here because of all the internationals I've done," Edmunds said, referring to the junior competitions she entered this season.

The San Jose teen took six international trips over the past 11 months.

"It really prepared me for the senior competitions and I'm happy I was given the chance to compete here," Edmunds said.

Mao Asada of Japan won her third world title a month after a disappointing sixth at the Sochi Olympics. Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova of Russia and silver medalist Yu-na Kim of South Korea did not perform in Saitama.

Asada scored nine points more than teenage runner-up Yulia Lipnitsakya of Russia with a total of 216.69 points. Olympic bronze medalist Carolina Kostner of Italy finished third after falling to sixth in the free skate.


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Russia's Anna Pogorilaya, who replaced Sotnikova after she withdrew, took fourth to hold off America's Gracie Gold. Gold was fifth after finishing fourth with stronger competition in Sochi.

Two-time U.S. champion Ashley Wagner was seventh, the same position as in the short program. The Americans earned three spots for the 2015 World Championship by finishing a combined total of 12th. They needed to finish 13th or better with the top two skaters to get the extra spot.

Gold, 18, had a chance to get the United States a podium finish at a major competition for the first time since 2006. But she had a tough free skate, scoring almost three points fewer than Edmunds' 126.91.

"I don't really know what happened," Gold said. "I'm sorry I wasn't able to put out my best performance for the U.S. and for my team. I'll have to refocus and try again next season."

Wagner had a completely different reaction to her final performance of 2013-14.

"It was so great for me to feel like I was back as a competitor," she said. "The past season has been very tough for me. Full of ups and downs and highs and lows. Everything that could have gone wrong this season went wrong."

Wagner, who had to switch coaches a half year before the Olympics, came to Japan to regain her competitive edge.

"This worlds was much more about how I want to feel going into next year," she said. "This season I learned that I'm so much stronger than I've ever given myself credit for. I don't think, unless you're out there on the ice, nobody knows how terrifying it is to compete at the world level. I learned at Olympics and here that, mentally, if I steer myself on the correct path and don't doubt myself but instead focus on the technical things I need to focus on, I feel I can become one of the top athletes in the world."