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International Skating Union
Figure Skating Results
Sparkassen Cup on Ice
Gelsenkirchen, Germany
Nov. 12 - 15, 1998
Third Event of the Grand Prix Series

The third event in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating, the Sparkassen Cup on Ice, concluded in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, on Sunday (results and standings attached).

World champion Alexei Yagudin (RUS) won the short program in the men's competition. The first to skate, he presented a near flawless performance of his entertaining circus program with a huge triple axel/triple toeloop combination, a triple lutz and a double axel with fast, well-centred spins and complex footwork. Alexander Abt (RUS), the European bronze medallist who is fighting to win one of the three places in the Russian team for this season's Championships, attempted a quadruple toeloop but two-footed the landing. His technically challenging program included an unusual triple axel/triple loop combination but he again just missed a clean landing. Andrejs Vlascenko (GER) placed third ahead of France's Thierry Cerez.

Abt threw down the challenge to Yagudin in the free program. Skating first, he opened with a clean triple axel/triple loop combination and followed with a quad toeloop, but just two-footed the landing. He landed five more triples in his Egyptian themed program but had to double a planned triple flip. He scored six 5.8s for technical merit and a further five for presentation. Yagudin, who watched Abt's performance, rose to the challenge. He opened with a triple axel/triple toeloop combination and then landed a clean quad toeloop, his first this season. Five more triples followed in his Lawrence of Arabia program. He earned five 5.9s for technical merit and five for presentation to win first place from all nine judges. Vlascenko finished third with Japan's Noaki Shigematsu moving up from sixth overnight to take fourth place. Yagudin is now ranked second in the Grand Prix on 12 points and competes in his second points scoring competition in Paris next week. Abt skates in the Cup of Russia in two weeks' time.

In the ladies' competition Elena Sokolova (RUS), seventh at the Olympics, placed first in the short program. Her jump combination was a triple lutz/double toeloop and she landed a clean triple loop. Her only error was a slip at the end of a fast straight line step sequence. Second was world bronze medallist Maria Butyrskaya (RUS), winner at Skate America, who fell on a triple lutz but performed a fast and complex program to earn high presentation marks. Yulia Lavrenchuk (UKR) placed third, landing a triple lutz/double toeloop as her combination jump and a triple flip.

In the free, Butyrskaya struggled with her jumps, only cleanly landing a triple lutz, triple loop and double axel. That left the opportunity open for Sokolova skating next, and the 18 year old took it. She too had trouble with her jumps but landed four clean triples for her first major international victory. Lavrenchuk started strongly, producing four triples, but then stumbled on a step sequence and faded towards the end of the program. But it was enough to overtake Butyrskaya and give Lavrenchuk her best result since European bronze in 1997. Sokolova now joins Butryskaya at the top of the Grand Prix standings on 12 points (this was a non-points scoring event for Butryskaya). Butyrskaya skates in Paris next week and Sokolova in Moscow.

Maria Petrova & Alexei Tikhonov (RUS), second at Skate Canada, went one better to win the pairs. Petrova, who twice won the world junior title with former partner Anton Sikharulidze, only joined up with Tikhonov this summer. In their second competition together, the Russians showed improvement from Canada to win the short program ahead of world bronze medallists Peggy Schwarz & Mirko Mueller (GER). It was the first competition of the season for the Germans who lost significant training time recently when Schwarz suffered a leg muscle injury.

In the free program, Petrova & Tikhonov were a class apart from the rest of the field, landing side by side triple toeloops, double axels and two thrown triple jumps. They showed complex exits from their lifts and innovative choreographic moves to win two 5.8s for presentation and now top the overall Grand Prix standings with 21 points from their two events and are the first pair to qualify for the Grand Prix Final. Schwarz & Mueller's lack of ice practice time showed in the free as they made errors on several elements in a dramatic new program but they held on to finish scond. The young brother and sister duo of Tiffany and Johnnie Stiegler (USA), coached by three times Olympic pairs champion Irina Rodnina, moved up to take third place and now go on to compete in the World Junior Championships in Zagreb.

In the dance competition, it was the first Grand Prix of the season for world champions and Olympic silver medallists Anjelika Krylova & Oleg Ovsyannikov (RUS). Their Tango Romantica won first places from all nine judges ahead of world bronze medallists Shae-Lynn Bourne & Victor Kraatz (CAN), the winners at Skate Canada. In the original dance section, the judges split 7 to 2 in favour of the Russian duo. Krylova & Ovsyannikov won three 5.9s for presentation and a total of ten 5.8s for their fast intricate waltz set to La Traviata. The Canadians earned two 5.9s and two 5.8s for their lilting waltz, choreographed by Torvill & Dean and set to a Celtic ballad.

The world champions presented a completely new style in their free dance which was set entirely to drum rhythms. The judges awarded it three 5.9s for presentation and a total of six 5.8s. Bourne & Kraatz made a small error in their techno rock free dance when Bourne had to put a hand down on the ice. They received one 5.9 and four 5.8s for presentation but their technical merit marks were overall lower than the Russians.

"It was a good debut for us" said Krylova. "We took a risk with this program but we are world champions and can do something new."

Bourne & Kraatz now top the overall Grand Prix standings with 21 points and they too have secured their place in the Final. Krylova & Ovsyannikov next skate in the Cup of Russia.

The next Grand Prix event is Trophee Lalique in Paris, France on 20-22 November.

Lukas Wyder, ISU, on +41 21 612 6666 (tel) or +41 21 612 6677 (fax)

Grand Prix Series Standings


								FactoredGrand Prix
PLC	SP	FP 						Placing	Points	
1.	1	1		Elena Sokolova		RUS	1.5	12
2.	3	2		Yulia Lavrenchuk	UKR	3.5	9
3.	2	3		Maria Butyrskaya	RUS	4.0	NPS
4.	4	4		Anna Rechnio		POL	6.0	5
5.	6	5		Jennifer Robinson	CAN	8.0	4
6.	7	6		Brittney McConn		USA	9.5	3
7.	5	7		Hanae Yokoya		JPN	9.5	2
8.	8	8		Eva-Maria Fitze		GER	12.0	1
9.	9	9		Franziska Guenther	GER	13.5	-
1.	1	1		Alexei Yagudin		RUS	1.5	12	
2.	2	2		Alexander Abt		RUS	3.0	9
3.	3	3		Andrejs Vlascenko	GER	4.5	7
4.	6	4		Noaki Shigematsu	JPN	7.0	5
5.	4	5		Thierry Cerez		FRA	7.0	4
6.	5	7		Jean-Francois Hebert	CAN	9.5	3
7.	8	6		Sven Meyer		GER	10.0	2
8.	7	8		Robert Grzegorczyk	POL	11.5	1
9.	9	9		Patrick Schmit		LUX	13.5	-		
10.	10	10		Jeff Langdon		CAN	15.0	-
11.	11	11		Shepherd Clark		USA	16.5	-
1.	1	1		Maria Petrova/Alexei Tikhonov	RUS	1.5	12
2.	2	2		Peggy Schwarz/Mirko Mueller	GER	3.0	9	
3.	4	3		TiffanyStiegler/Johnnie StieglerUSA	5.0	7
4.	3	4		Katerina Berankova/Otto Dlabola	CZE	5.5	5
5.	5	5		Valerie Saurette/J-S Fecteau	CAN	7.5	4	
6.	6	6		Mariana Kautz/Norman Jeschke	GER	9.0	3
1.	1	1	1	Anjelika Krylova/Oleg Ovsyannikov	RUS	2.0	12
2.	2	2	2	Shae-Lynn Bourne/Victor Kraatz		CAN	4.0	9
3.	3	3	3	Kati Winkler/Rene Lohse			GER	6.0	7
4.	4	4	4	Elena Grushina/Ruslan Goncharov		UKR	8.0	5
5.	6	5	5	Galit Chait/Sergey Sakhnovsky		ISR	10.4	4
6.	5	6	6	Albena Denkova/Maxim Staviyski		BUL	11.6	3
7.	7	7	7	Olga Sharutenko/Dmitri Naumkin		RUS	14.0	2
8.	8	8	8	Marie-France Dubreuil/Patrice Lauzon	CAN	16.0	1	
9.	9	9	10	Dominique Deniaud/Martial Jaffredo	FRA	19.0	-
10.	11	10	9	Stephanie Rauer/Thomas Rauer		GER	19.4	-	 
	10	11		Zuzana Merzova/Tomas Morbacher		SVK	withdrew

NPS= non points scoring event

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