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International Skating Union
Figure Skating Results
NHK Trophy
Sapporo, Japan
Dec. 2 - 6, 1998
Sixth Event of the Grand Prix Series

The sixth and final event in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating, the NHK Trophy, concluded in Makomanai Ice Arena in Sapporo, Japan on Sunday (results and standings attached).

In the ladies' event, the four places still open in the Final were settled after a competition full of surprises. Elena Liashenko (UKR), the winner at Skate Canada, took the lead in the short program. She again skated a clean program, including a triple lutz/double toeloop and a triple flip. World silver medallist Irina Slutskaya (RUS) placed second after reducing her planned combination to a double lutz/double toeloop but landing a triple loop from steps and a "Boitano" double axel. An unexpected third was Tatyana Malinina (UZB), who included the same jumps as Liashenko but stuttered in between her combination jumps. Her spins and speed of footwork just gave her the edge over 1997 world bronze medallist Vanessa Gusmeroli (FRA). Angela Nikodinov (USA), who had a chance to make the Final following her third place at Skate America, finished last in the short and then withdrew, suffering from 'flu.

The free program produced excellent competition. Slutskaya was the first of the top three to skate. She two-footed her opening triple lutz but then reeled off four clean triples, including two in combination, fast steps and excellent spins but just put her hand down on her triple flip. It was her best performance of the season to date and scored five 5.7s. The overnight leader Liashenko followed. She opened strongly with a triple lutz/double toeloop but faded badly, only cleanly landing a triple toeloop to place fifth in the free and drop to fourth overall.

Then it was the turn of the virtually unknown 25 year old Malinina who skated the performance of her life. She produced five clean triples, including one in combination, and fast, well-centred spins in her expressive Aladdin program. Her only error came when she doubled her final jump, a triple flip. She earned a total of three 5.8s and seven 5.7s. Fumie Suguri (JPN), second in Canada, was the last to skate. An error on a triple flip had left her in fifth after the short but she rose to the occasion to the delight of the home crowd. She opened with a triple lutz/double toeloop and landed four more clean triples, including another in combination, but two-footed her triple loop and doubled her planned second triple lutz. She scored a total of five 5.8s and one 5.7. The judges found it hard to separate the three but the majority verdict went to Malinina ahead of Slutskaya and Suguri to give Malinina (who placed 8th at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games) the first major international win of her career. This trio and Liashenko all now qualify for the Final in St Petersburg, where they will meet two Russians: Maria Butyrskaya and Elena Sokolova.

"I improved a lot after the Olympics," said a delighted Malinina. "I changed my mental attitude. I've worked really hard and I believe I can get better than this." With two places left in the men's Final, world bronze medallist Evgeny Plushenko (RUS) was hot favourite to secure one of them. He did not disappoint, taking the lead after a clean short program that included a high triple axel/triple toeloop combination, a triple lutz and typical fast spins and step sequences. That earned him a total of seven 5.8s. The surprise second was China's Li Chengjiang, who included a triple axel/triple toeloop and a triple loop in his impressive martial arts program. Takeshi Honda (JPN) also skated a clean program, including a triple axel/double toeloop and a triple lutz. He just lost out to Chengjiang in a split 5 to 4 majority verdict.

The free produced simply outstanding skating and riveting competition. Chengjiang was the first of the top three to skate. He opened with a clean quadruple/triple toeloop in his Riverdance routine and landed three more clean triples in a fast, expressive routine. But he struggled with his triple axel, singling one attempt and putting a hand down on his second try. Honda was next. He opened with a triple axel and then followed with a clean quadruple toeloop. In a performance full of drama and passion, set The Man in the Iron Mask, he nailed five more clean triples to win career-best marks of one 5.9 for presentation and a total of twelve 5.8s to overtake Chengjiang.

But Plushenko was not to be beaten. He opened with a clean quadruple/triple toeloop and followed it immediately with a triple axel/triple toeloop. Five more clean triples followed, one in a jump sequence, together with lightening fast step sequences and excellent spins, including his trademark Biellman. He was rewarded with eight marks of 5.9 for technique and one perfect 6.0 and six more 5.9s for presentation. That was his second clean quad/triple of the season; he also did it when he won Skate Canada four weeks ago.

"It was the first 6.0 I have ever received," said Plushenko "and I know how precious a 6.0 is. It was the best I have ever skated today. I believe I am getting better and better."

Emanuel Sandhu (CAN), who came to Japan with hopes of making the Final after finishing third in Paris, had a nightmare in the short program and finished last. But he recovered with a fine skating performance of his balletic free program, which included eight triples and good spins, to place fourth in the free and move up to sixth overall.

Victory put Plushenko in joint first place at the top of the Grand Prix standings on the maximum 24 points. He became the fourth Russian to qualify for the Final, joining Alexei Yagudin, Alexei Urmanov and Alexander Abt. Michael Weiss (USA) had also already qualified. The results from Japan meant that Elvis Stojko (CAN) also qualifies for the Final on 14 points. Honda is the first reserve, in seventh place.

Three Final places remained in the pairs. World champions Elena Berezhnaya & Anton Sikharulidze (RUS) had already qualified for the Final and this was their non-points scoring event. They took the lead with an immaculate performance in the short that included side by side triple toeloops, a throw triple loop and perfectly timed side by side spins. The second Russian pair of Maria Petrova & Alexei Tikhonov, also already in the Final, failed to attempt the required double twist element and plunged to sixth place. !997 world junior champions Danielle & Steve Hartsell (USA) took full advantage and skated a clean program with triple toeloops and a thrown triple salchow to place second. Xue Shen & Hongbo Zhao (CHN), winners of this event last year, were third after Shen fell on her triple toeloop, ahead of Canada's Jamie Sale & David Pelletier.

In the free, the world champions were again in top form. They included a triple twist, side by side triple toeloops, double axels and two thrown jumps in a program that also featured beautiful spiral sequences and lifts. They earned one 5.9 for presentation and a total of six 5.8s to win.

But it was much closer behind them. Shen & Zhao were next to skate. They landed triple toeloops, a triple twist, two double axels and a very high thrown triple salchow but Shen fell on a thrown triple loop. Sale & Pelletier, who only started skating together this summer, produced their best performance to date with triple toeloops, two double axels, excellent side by side spins and inventive lifts but Pelletier stumbled on a step sequence. The judges were divided but the Chinese got the majority verdict.

That moved Shen & Zhao up to third place overall in the Grand Prix rankings on 18 points and gave them a place in the Grand Prix Final for a second successive year. The last two Final places now go to Kyoko Ina & John Zimmerman (USA) and Sarah Abitbol & Stephane Bernadis (FRA), who will compete against the two Russian pairs and the Chinese in St Petersburg.

The dance competition, with two Final places remaining, was dominated by Olympic bronze and world silver medallists Marina Anissina & Gwendal Peizerat (FRA), who were looking to earn their place in the Final. Their Paso Doble swept first places from all seven judges, as did their lyrical waltz, which scored a total of six 5.8s.

Irina Lobacheva & Ilia Averbukh (RUS), already through to the Final, placed second but were pushed hard by Margarita Drobiazko & Povilas Vanagas (LTU) in the waltz. It was a non-points scoring event for both these couples and the Lithuanians, going to Japan ranked fourth equal on 14 points, knew that a good performance here would prevent any other couple scoring enough points to overtake them and get to the Final.

In the free dance, Anissina & Peizerat gave their best performance to date of their dramatic Man in the Iron Mask routine, earning two marks of 5.9 for presentation and a total of six 5.8s. Lobacheva & Averbukh were second with their high speed and inventive Diablo program. The Lithuanian duo stayed in third ahead of Germany's Kati Winkler & Rene Lohse. Anissina & Peizerat qualify for the Final in joint first place on the maximum 24 points with world champions Angelika Krylova & Oleg Ovsiannikov (RUS). World bronze medallists Shae-Lynn Bourne & Victor Kraatz (CAN) had already secured their place, as had Lobacheva & Averbukh. As Drobiazko & Vanagas were tied with Barbara Fusar-Poli & Maurizio Margaglio (ITA) on 14 points in fifth place, both qualify for the Final, producing a field of six couples.

The prize pool for each individual Grand Prix event was $264,000. The winners of each individual event were awarded $30,000 with $18,000 to the second placed skater(s) and $10,000 to the third down to $3,000 for the fifth place. Skaters could compete only in two Grand Prix events with the exception of the first six placed eligible skaters from the 1998 World Championships and Olympic Winter Games. Those skaters could compete in a third event at their own discretion. No points were awarded for this third event but skaters were eligible for prize money. After the NHK Trophy, the six singles skaters with the most points, the top five pairs and dance couples qualify for the ISU Grand Prix Final in St Petersburg, Russia on 4-7 March 1999.

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





NHK TROPHY RESULTS & ISU GRAND PRIX POINTS

LADIES  
                                                     Factored   Grand Prix
PLC     SP      FP                                   Placing    Points  

1.      3       1       Tatyana Malinina        UZB     2.5    12
2.      2       2       Irina Slutskaya         RUS     3.0     9
3.      5       3       Fumie Suguri            JPN     5.5     7
4.      1       5       Elena Liashenko         UKR     5.5     5       
5.      4       4       Vanessa Gusmeroli       FRA     6.0     4
6.      7       6       Yulia Vorobieva         AZE     9.5     3
7.      6       7       Eva-Maria Fitze         GER     10.0    2
8.      8       8       Shizuka Arakawa         JPN     12.0    1
9.      9       9       Hanae Yokoya            JPN     13.5    -
10.     11      10      Keyla Ohs               CAN     15.5    -          
11.     10      11      Elena Ivanova           RUS     16.0    -
        12       -      Angela Nikodinov        USA            
Withdrew



MEN
1.      1       1       Evgeny Plushenko        RUS     1.5     12 
2.      3       2       Takeshi Honda           JPN     3.5     9
3.      2       3       Li Chengjiang           CHN     4.0     7
4.      5       5       Andrejs Vlascenko       GER     7.5     5
5.      4       6       Evgeny Pliuta           UKR     8.0     4
6.      12      4       Emanuel Sandhu          CAN     10.0    3          
7.      9       7       Stanick Jeannette       FRA     11.5    2
8.      7       8       Roman Skorniakov        UZB     11.5    1
9.      6       9       Yamato Tamura           JPN     12.0    -
10.     10      10      Derrick Delmore         USA     15.0    -
11.     8       11      Yuri Litvinov           KAZ     15.0    -
12.     11      12      Naoki Shigematsu        JPN     17.5    -  

                
PAIRS
1.      1       1       Elena Berezhnaya/Anton Sikharulidze     RUS     1.5     NPS
2.      3       2       Xue Shen/Hongbo Zhao                    CHN     3.5     9
3.      4       3       Jamie Sale/David Pelletier              CAN     5.0     7           
4.      2       4       Danielle Hartsell/Steve Hartsell        USA     5.0     5
5.      6       5       Maria Petrova/Alexei Tikhonov           RUS     8.0     NPS
6.      5       6       Marina Khalturina/Andrei Kroukov        KAZ     8.5     3           
        7       -       Nadia Micalleff/Bruno Marcotte          CAN       
Withdrew


DANCE
PLC     CD      OD      FD      
1.      1       1       1       Marina Anissina/Gwendal Peizerat        FRA     2.0     12
2.      2       2       2       Irina Lobacheva & Ilia Averbukh         RUS     4.0     NPS
3.      3       3       3       Margarita Drobiazko/Povilas Vanagas     LIT     6.0     NPS
4.      4       4       4       Kati Winkler/Rene Lohse                 GER     8.0     5
5.      5       5       5       Tatiana Navka/Roman Kostomarov          RUS     10.0    4
6.      6       6       6       Megan Wing/Aaron Lowe                   CAN     12.0    3
7.      7       7       7       Eve Chalom/Mathew Gates                 USA     14.0    2
8.      8       8       8       Charlotte Clements/Gary Shortland       GBR     16.0    1
9.      10      9       9       Rie Arikawa/Kenji Miyamoto              JPN     18.4    -
10.     9       10      10      Nozomi Watanabe/Akiyuki Kido            JPN     19.6    -

NPS= non points scoring event





ISU GRAND PRIX STANDINGS AFTER SIX EVENTS (OF SIX)(unofficial)


LADIES (top six qualify for Final) No. of events 1. Elena Sokolova RUS 24 pts 2 2. Maria Butyrskaya RUS 24 2 3. Elena Liashenko UKR 17 2 4. Tatyana Malinina UZB 16 2 5. Fumie Suguri JPN 16 2 6. Irina Slutskaya RUS 16 2
---------------------------------------------- 7. Nicole Bobek USA 14 2 8. Vanessa Gusmeroli FRA 11 2 9. Julia Soldatova RUS 9 1 10. Yulia Lavrenchuk UKR 9 2 11. Laetitia Hubert FRA 9 2 12. Anna Rechnio POL 8 2 13. Angela Nikodinov USA 7 1 14. Yuka Kanazawa JPN 5 1 15. Jennifer Robinson CAN 5 2 16. Amber Corwin USA 5 2 17. Brittney McConn USA 5 2 18. Diana Poth HUN 5 2 19. Yulia Vorobieva AZE 4 2 20. Alisa Drei FIN 3 1 21. Eva-Maria Fitze GER 3 2 22. Mojca Kopac SVK 2 1 23. Veronika Dytrtova CZE 2 1 24. Hanae Yokoya JPN 2 2 25. Andrea Diewald GER 1 1 26. Shizuka Arakawa JPN 1 1 MEN (top six qualify for Final) 1= Evgeny Plushenko RUS 24 2 1= Alexei Yagudin RUS 24 2 3. Alexei Urmanov RUS 19 2 4. Michael Weiss USA 18 2 5. Alexander Abt RUS 16 2 6. Elvis Stojko CAN 14 2 ---------------------------------------------- 7. Takeshi Honda JPN 13 2 8. Andrejs Vlascenko GER 12 2 9. Szabolcs Vidrai HUN 11 2 10. Emanuel Sandhu CAN 10 2 11. Ivan Dinev BUL 10 2 12. Li Chengjiang CHN 7 1 13. Laurent Tobel FRA 7 2 14. Evgeny Pliuta UKR 7 2 15. Dmitry Dmitrenko UKR 5 1 16. Naoki Shigematsu JPN 5 1 17. Thierry Cerez FRA 4 2 18. Derrick Delmore USA 4 2 19. Jean-Francois Hebert CAN 3 2 20. Sven Meyer GER 3 2 21. Roman Skorniakov UZB 3 2 22. Jason Denommee CAN 2 1 23. Stanick Jeannette FRA 2 1 24. Seiichi Suzuki JPN 2 1 25. Michael Hopfes GER 2 2 26. Robert Grzegorczyk POL 1 1 27. Yamato Tamura JPN 1 2 28. Jeff Langdon CAN 1 2 PAIRS (top five qualify for Final) 1. Elena Berezhnaya/Anton Sikharulidze RUS 24 2 2. Maria Petrova/Alexei Tikhonov RUS 21 2 3. Xue Shen/Hongbo Zhao CHN 18 2 4. Kyoko Ina/John Zimmerman USA 16 2 5. Sarah Abitbol/Stephane Bernadis FRA 15 2 ---------------------------------------------- 6. Kristy Sargeant/Kris Wirtz CAN 14 2 7. Jamie Sale/David Pelletier CAN 14 2 8. Marina Eltsova/Andrei Bushkov RUS 11 2 9. Danielle Hartsell/Steve Hartsell USA 10 2 10. Peggy Schwarz/Mirko Mueller GER 9 1 11. Katerina Berankova/Otto Dlabola CZE 8 2 12. Victoria Maxiuta/Vladislav Zhovnirsky RUS 7 1 13. Tiffany Stiegler/Johnnie Stiegler USA 7 2 14= Valerie Saurette/J-S Fecteau CAN 7 2 14= Tatiana Totmianina/Maxim Marinin RUS 7 2 16. Dorota Zagorska/Mariusz Siudek POL 5 1 17. M-C Savard-Gagnon/Luc Bradet CAN 4 1 18. Mariana Kautz/Norman Jeschke GER 3 1 19. Marina Khalturina/Andrei Kroukov KAZ 3 1 DANCE (top five qualify for Final) 1= Marina Anissina/Gwendal Peizerat FRA 24 2 1= Anjelika Krylova/Oleg Ovsiannikov RUS 24 2 3. Shae-Lynn Bourne/Victor Kraatz CAN 21 2 4. Irina Lobacheva/Ilia Averbukh RUS 18 2 5= Barbara Fusar-Poli/Maurizio Margaglio ITA 16 2 5= Margarita Drobiazko/Povilas Vanagas LTU 16 2 ---------------------------------------------- 7. Sylwia Nowak/Sebastian Kolasinski POL 12 2 8. Kati Winkler/Rene Lohse GER 12 2 9. Tatiana Navka/Roman Kostomarov RUS 11 2 10. Elena Grushina/Ruslan Goncharov UKR 10 2 11. Anna Semenovich/Vladimir Fedorov RUS 10 2 12. Galit Chait/Sergey Sakhnovsky ISR 8 2 13. Naomi Lang/Peter Tchernyshev USA 8 2 14. Albena Denkova/Maxim Staviyski BUL 7 2 15. Chantal Lefebvre/Michel Brunet CAN 6 2 16. Olga Sharutenko/Dmitri Naumkin RUS 5 2 17. Marie-France Dubreuil/Patrice Lauzon CAN 4 2 18. Isabelle Delobel/Olivier Schoenfelder FRA 4 2 19. Eve Chalom/Mathew Gates USA 4 2 20. Megan Wing/Aaron Lowe CAN 3 2 21. Dominique Deniaud/Martial Jaffredo FRA 2 2 22. Eliane Hugentobler/Daniel Hugentobler SUI 1 1 23. Angelika Fuehring/Bruno Ellinger AUT 1 2 24= Stephanie Rauer/Thomas Rauer GER 1 2 24= Debbie Koegei/Oleg Fediukov USA 1 2 26. Charlotte Clements/Gary Shortland GBR 1 2

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