Russia's Alena Leonova leads at skating worlds

JEROME PUGMIRE AP Sports Writer Published:

NICE, France (AP) -- Alena Leonova of Russia is in front after the women's short program at the figure skating world championships.

She nailed all her jumps in a highly original performance Thursday, drawing a standing ovation. She was followed by Kanako Murakami of Japan and European champion Carolina Kostner of Italy.

Two-time world champion Mao Asada of Japan placed fourth after finishing sixth last year. In her triple axel, she fell backward on landing.

The American women will probably have to wait at least another year for a medal, with Ashley Wagner eighth and Alissa Czisny in tears after finishing 16th.

Leonova had a score of 64.61, while Murakami was at 62.67 and Kostner at 61.

The free program is Saturday.