Saitama, Japan (SportsNetwork.com) - Japan's Mao Asada won the women's short program at the 2014 World Figure Skating Championships on Thursday.
Asada set a world record with a score of 78.66, surpassing the old mark of 78.50 by South Korea's Kim Yu-na at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Kim retired after her silver medal performance at the 2014 Games in Sochi, while Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova of Russia decided not to compete this week.
Asada won the bronze medal at the 2013 Worlds and finished sixth at the Sochi Games. She has a slight lead over Italy's Carolina Kostner, the Olympic bronze medal winner who posted a score of 77.24 on Thursday.
Russia's Julia Lipnitskaya, fifth at the Olympics, is third after a score of 74.54 in the short program. Japan's Akiko Suzuki was next at 71.02, followed by American Gracie Gold at 70.31. Gold was fourth in Sochi.
American Ashley Wagner was seventh, just ahead of Canada's Kaetlyn Osmond.