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International Skating Union
Figure Skating Results
Skate America
Detroit, U.S.A.
Oct. 29 - Nov. 1, 1998
First Event of the Grand Prix Series

The new season's ISU Grand Prix of Skating opened in Detroit with the Thrifty Car Rental Skate America International which concluded Saturday (results and standings attached).

In the men's event, world champion Alexei Yagudin (RUS), now training with Tatiana Tarasova, started the season in outstanding form. He performed a clean short program, based on a circus theme, to take the lead. Olympic silver medallist Elvis Stojko (CAN), making his comeback from the groin injury that kept him off the ice for four months, was the only skater to attempt a quadruple jump (a new option this season) in the short program. He missed but did enough to finish second ahead of Michael Weiss (USA) and 1994 Olympic champion Alexei Urmanov (RUS), also making a comeback from injury.

Urmanov skated first of the top contenders in the free program. He produced eight triples and unusual spin combinations in his Tango routine to prove that he is back to world class after missing an entire season. He earned one 5.9 and thirteen 5.8s. Stojko, not yet back to top form, again attempted a quad but two-footed the landing and struggled with other elements to slip to fourth place overall.

Weiss also went for the quad and came close to landing it. He then reeled off eight triples in his new free program in one of the best performances of his career to win three 5.9s for technical merit and ten 5.8s and beat Urmanov. But Yagudin, skating next, eclipsed him with a program that included two triple/triple combinations. He earned a total of ten 5.9s to win overall in a 8:1 majority verdict over Weiss. Weiss tops the overall rankings after the first of the six events as this was a non-points scoring event for Yagudin.

"I am very happy to win. It was very difficult to concentrate after I saw Michael Weiss' marks," said Yagudin. "I am ready for this season".

European champion and world bronze medallist Maria Butyrskaya won the ladies' event. She presented a new short program which put her ahead of Angela Nikodinov (USA) and Elena Sokolova (RUS) overnight. Nicole Bobek (USA), now back training in Detroit with Richard Callaghan, placed fourth.

In the free skating, Butyrskaya skated the program that took her to honours last season. She fell twice but did enough to win. Sokolova, seventh in Nagano, outperformed Nikodinov to move up one place and finish second.

"I never skate well in my first competition," said Butyrskaya. "But I will build up my form and I have a good chance at the Europeans and Worlds." Reigning world champions and Olympic silver medallists Elena Berezhnaya & Anton Sikharulidze (RUS) dominated the pairs competition as they opened the defence of their Grand Prix title. Their new short included the new required element of a thrown jump and they performed a perfect thrown triple loop to earn two marks of 5.9 and seven 5.8s from the judges. In a free progam packed with technical difficulty, they presented side by side triple toeloops and double axels and two thrown triples. Berezhnaya could not hold the landing on the first thrown triple but they won four 5.7s for technical merit and seven 5.8s for presentation.

"Every time we skate a new program for the first time we have some problems," said Sikharulidze. "We're training hard and working hard. We know what we must change and how."

Canadian champions Kristy Sargeant and Kris Wirtz produced a strong performance in the free to finish second overall. Joining them on the podium were 16 year old Victoria Maksuta & 20 year old Vladimir Zhovnirsky (RUS), last season's world junior silver medallists. They moved up from fourth to finish in third place in their first senior international competition.

Olympic bronze medallists Marina Anissina & Gwendal Peizerat (FRA) won the ice dance competition. They were a class apart from the rest of the field and dominated the competition throughout. However second placed Irina Lobacheva & Ilia Averbukh (RUS) currently top the Grand Prix standings after the first event as this was a non-points scoring event for the French world silver medallists. Barbara Fusar-Poli & Maurizio Margaglio finished third.

The next event in the Series is Sun Life Skate Canada in Kamloops, BC, Canada on 5-8 November.

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

Grand Prix Series Standings


                                		 	     Factored Grand Prix
PLC     SP      FP                              	      Placing  Points  
1.      1       1        	Maria Butyrskaya        RUS     1.5     12
2.      3       2        	Elena Sokolova  	RUS     3.5    	NPS
3.      2       3        	Angela Nikodinov        USA     4.0     7
4.      4       4        	Nicole Bobek    	USA     6.0     5
5.      5       5        	Tatijana Malinina       UZB     7.5     4
6.      6       6        	Anna Rechnio    	POL     9.0     NPS
7.      7       7               Brittney McConn 	USA     10.5    2
8.      8       8               Jennifer Robinson       CAN     12.0    1
9.      10      9               Shizuka Arakawa 	JPN     14.5    -
10.     9       10              Silvia Fontana  	ITA     14.5    -
1.      1       1               Alexei Yagudin  	RUS     1.5     NPS
2.      3       2               Michael Weiss   	USA     3.5     9
3.      4       3               Alexei Urmanov  	RUS     5.0     7
4.      2       4               Elvis Stojko    	CAN     5.0     5
5.      5       5               Derrick Delmore 	USA     7.5     4
6.      6       6               Laurent Tobel   	FRA     9.0     3
7.      8       7               Michael Hopfes  	GER     11.0    2
8.      7       8               Yamato Tamura   	JPN     11.5    1
9.      9       10              Shepherd Clark  	USA     14.5    -
10.     12      9               Jean-Francois Hebert    CAN     15.0    -
11.     10      11              Frederic Dambier        FRA     16.0    -
12.     11      12              Yourii Litvinov 	KZK     17.5    -
1.      1       1       Elena Berezhnaya/Anton Sikharulidze     RUS	1.5     12
2.      2       2       Kristy Sargeant/Kris Wirtz      	CAN     3.0	9           	
3.      4       3       Victoria Maksuta/Vladislav Zhovnirsky   RUS     5.0     7
4.      3       4       Danielle Hartsell/Steve Hartsell        USA	5.5     5
5.      7       5       Kyoko Ina/John Zimmerman        	USA     8.5 	NPS         
6.      5       6       Sarah Abitbol/Stephane Bernadis        	FRA     8.5     3
7.      6       7       Mariana Khalturina/Andrei Kroukov       KZK	10.0    -
8.      8       8       Tiffany Stiegler/Johnnie Stiegler       USA	12.0    -
PLC     CD      OD      FD      
1.      1       1       1       Marina Anissina/Gwendal Peizerat        FRA	2.0     NPS
2.      2       2       2       Irina Lobacheva/Ilia Averbukh   	RUS     4.0	9
3.      3       3       3       Barbara Fusar-Poli/M Margaglio  	ITA     6.0	7
4.      4       4       4       Anna Semenovich/Vladimir Fedorov        RUS	8.0     5
5.      5       6       5       Naomi Lang/Peter Tchernyshev    	USA  	10.6    4
6.      6       5       6       Chantal Lefebvre/Michel Brunet  	CAN  	11.4    3
7.      7       7       7       Eve Chalom/Mathew Gates 		USA     14.0    2
8.      8       8       8       Angelika Fuhring/Bruno Ellinger 	AUT  	16.0    1       
9.      9       9       9       Rie Arikawa/Kenji Miyamoto      	JPN    	18.0    -  

NPS= non points scoring event

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