CALGARY, Alberta -- Add Kimmie Meissner to the list of teenage American champions that includes Michelle Kwan, Tara Lipinski, and Sarah Hughes.
Add another huge disappointment to Sasha Cohen's resume.
The 16-year-old Meissner pulled off one of the biggest upsets in World Figure Skating Championships history with the performance of her life yesterday. She joined Kwan and Lipinski among US teens who won a world crown, and Hughes, of course, was the 2002 Olympic champion at age 16.
''I am so happy with myself; it's an awesome feeling," said Meissner, who was sixth last month in Turin. ''I really wanted to do my best at the last competition of the season -- smooth sailing right through my program."
While she soared, Cohen hit rough ice from the beginning, adding to a distressing trend for the US champion. Another free skate with an international gold medal in reach, and another flop for Cohen.
''It's frustrating and disappointing," said Cohen, who landed only two clean jumps and fell on her final one, a salchow. She also was credited for a jump combination she never completed. ''But I know I gave it my best effort," she said.
''A few years ago, I used to cry, but I used up all my tears. I am disappointed," she added.
Japan's Fumie Suguri was second, adding to her nation's medals haul in international events this season. Shizuka Arakawa won the Olympics when Cohen blew her lead after the short program, and Mao Asada won the Grand Prix championship.
Meissner was as sensational as Cohen was weak. She landed seven triple jumps, including two triple-triple combinations -- the only ones of the day -- just a few minutes after Cohen self-destructed.
Even before Meissner was done with her final spin, she was smiling widely, knowing she couldn't have done any better. She lingered on the ice, her arms raised to the rafters, where she was certain her mother was sitting ''because she can't stand to be too close to the ice."
''This blows the rest of the programs out of the water," she said, still breathless over a routine that earned a personal-best 129.70 points, easily the most in the free skate. That gave Meissner nearly a 10-point margin over Cohen, who'd led her countrywoman by 5.58 after the short program.
Meissner carried an American flag around the ice after receiving her medal. She stood at attention on the top of the podium and sang the ''Star Spangled Banner," the smile never fading.
''Standing on the podium and watching the flag, it was such a proud moment for me," she said.
It was another big letdown for Cohen, whose career is marked by faltering in the major internationals. In Turin, she felt she was given a gift when she won silver despite a mediocre free skate.
Cohen also slipped from third to fourth in the 2002 Olympics, has two runner-up finishes at worlds, and never has beaten Kwan at nationals.
''I struggled through it," she said. ''The quality wasn't there. I didn't really feel on. I'm a little tired."
Last year, Meissner became the first US woman to land a triple axel since Tonya Harding in 1991. Now she knows how Lipinski felt in winning the 1997 worlds and '98 Olympics, and what Hughes experienced in the Salt Lake City Games. Unlike those teens, Meissner plans to stick around for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver; her debut in Canada and at worlds was an overwhelming success.
''It's always nice after a program to feel this is the best I can do," she said. ''There was nothing I can do better."
Her gold and Cohen's bronze gave the United States the most medals at the event. Evan Lysacek won a men's bronze, Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto got bronze in ice dancing.
Suguri, fourth at the Olympics, became the first Japanese skater with three world medals. She won bronze in 2002 and 2003.
''In Turin I skated very well, but I didn't get any medals," Suguri said. ''Here, I was tired, I was wondering if I should come here. But this was my destiny and I have a silver medal now."