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2000 World Figure Skating Championships
March 26 - April 2, 2000
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The 2000 ISU World Figure Skating Championships continued in Nice (FRA) Wednesday with conclusion of the Pairs' competition and the Ladies' Qualifying Round (results attached).
European champion Irina Slutskaya (RUS) continued her dream season with an outstanding performance to win the first Qualifying Group. Her dramatic Carmen program included six clean triples, two in combination (including her triple salchow/double toeloop combination) and her unique double Biellmann spin. It earned three marks of 5.8 for technical merit and another four 5.8s for presentation and first places from five of the seven judges.
1999 world silver medallist Michelle Kwan (USA) placed second in this group. She too skated a high quality program with six clean triples (two in combination), excellent spirals and spins. Her only error came when she doubled her salchow. Her technical merit marks ranged from 5.5 to 5.7 but she received one 5.9 and four 5.8s for presentation. Third in this group was 14 year old Sarah Hughes (USA), the youngest skater in the Championships, who placed seventh last year. She landed five triples (two in combination) in her Turandot program.
"I didn't plan to do the triple-triple combinations. I wanted to save my energy for the long program," said Slutskaya. "It's been a long time since I skated at Worlds and it feels like the first time. I'm so glad to be here and yes, I want to prove something - like I can skate!"
"I felt that I could do a lot better this morning but there is a lot to learn about these qualifications," said Kwan. "I'm glad that this was sort of a warm-up before the event starts."
Defending champion Maria Butyrskaya (RUS) was the winner of the second Qualifying Group. She landed six triples (one in combination) in her lyrical Swan Lake program but put a hand down on her double axel. Her marks included five 5.8s for presentation.
"It was good for the qualifying," said Butyrskaya. "I was quite relaxed because I skated in the easier group and I'm in good form."
Fifteen year old Mikkeline Kierkgaard (DEN) finished second in the group in her World Championships debut. She made an impression at the European Championships in Vienna, where she finished seventh, the best placement in history for a Danish lady skater in an ISU Championship. Skating to music by Saint-Saens, she included five triples (but no lutz or flip). Third in the group was Julia Sebestyen (HUN), who finished sixth overall in Vienna.
The first medals of the 2000 ISU World Figure Skating Championships were awarded with the conclusion of the Pairs competition.
Sarah Abitbol & Stephane Bernadis (FRA), fourth after the Short Program, were the first of the top group to skate. The capacity crowd roared them through their Angel and Devil program, urging on Bernadis who was skating with an injured left arm following the incident at the team hotel Tuesday. The French champions gave their all in an extraordinary performance of high emotion, landing side by side triple toe loops and a high throw triple axel and only missing the landing of the throw triple loop. Bernadis managed all three lifts in the program and they were awarded marks that included three 5.8s for presentation and a total of eleven 5.7s. "What happened yesterday put an enormous pressure on us," said Abitbol when the couple came off the ice. "We were very nervous during the lifts. The audience helped a lot." They had to wait to see if they had done enough to earn a place on the podium.
Next to skate were Maria Petrova & Alexei Tikhonov (RUS), in second place going into the Free. Their Four Seasons program began with side by side triple toeloops followed by a jump sequence of double axels followed by triple toeloops, but he doubled his attempt. After that, the 1999 European champions were flawless, producing two high throw triple jumps, original lifts and well-synchonized spins. They were rewarded with eight 5.8s for technical merit and another seven for presentation.
The overnight leaders and 1999 world silver medallists Xue Shen & Hongbo Zhao (CHN) followed them on to the ice, knowing what they had to do to win. But it was not to be their night. Their Spirit of Spring program featured their trademark spectacular high twists, throw jumps and lifts but the duo also made uncharacteristic errors. They faltered on the their opening jump sequence and Shen could not hold the landing on the throw triple salchow. Their marks included four 5.8s for technical merit and another four for presentation but it was not enough to stay ahead of the Russians.
Last to skate were Four Continents champions Jamie Sale & David Pelletier (CAN), in third place after the Short, and they knew that they had a chance to medal at their first World Championships together. But Sale struggled with her jumps throughout the program, stuttering on the opening triple toeloop and then singling both attempts at the double axel. Despite this, they showed their mettle and gave a passionate performance of their Love Story program with flowing choreography, original moves and lifts. The quality of their performance brought them three 5.9s and five 5.8s for presentation but their marks for technical merit ranged from 5.4 to 5.6 and they knew their chance of a medal was gone.
In the final results, Petrova & Tikhonov became the new world champions by a majority verdict over Shen & Zhao with Abitbol & Bernadis moving up to overtake the Canadians and win the bronze medal. They were the first French pair to medal at a World Championship since the Brunets won the world title in 1932.
"There was more pressure than usual," said Tikhonov. "We skated right after the French. The audience loved them. They were screaming and made a lot of noise. We decided to risk everything."
"We wanted the gold too much," said a disappointed Zhao. "We put too much pressure on ourselves. We lost this year but we'll try again next year."
"The arm didn't hurt," said Bernadis. "It just bothered me during the last two lifts." Abitbol added: "I'll remember this day forever. It's the most beautiful day in my career."
Earlier Dmitri Palamarchuk (UKR), partner of Julia Obertas, was taken to hospital following a bad fall during their program. X-rays and scans showed no serious injury but he was kept overnight in hospital for observation. The accident unsettled some of the subsequent competitors.
Kristy Sargeant & Kris Wirtz (CAN), who skated immediately after the Ukrainian pair, were allowed a fresh start by the Referee after they stopped skating early in their program. "It was hard," said Sargeant. "I saw it (the accident) happen. We stopped because we just couldn't do it and we asked the referee to give us some time."
The Championships continue Thursday with the Original Dance and the Men's Free Skating.
Qualifying Free Skating Group B Pl. Name Nation Pts. 1 Irina SLUTSKAYA RUS 0,4 2 Michelle KWAN USA 0,8 3 Sarah HUGHES USA 1,2 4 Viktoria VOLCHKOVA RUS 1,6 5 Angela NIKODINOV USA 2,0 6 Jennifer ROBINSON CAN 2,4 7 Vanessa GUSMEROLI FRA 2,8 8 Yoshie ONDA JPN 3,2 9 Sabina WOJTALA POL 3,6 10 Silvia FONTANA ITA 4,0 11 Anastasia GIMAZETDINOVA UZB 4,4 12 Ivana JAKUPCEVIC CRO 4,8 13 Siyin SUN CHN 5,2 14 Julia LEBEDEVA ARM 5,6 15 Marion KRIJGSMAN NED 6,0 16 Mojca KOPAC SLO 6,4 17 Olga VASSILIEVA EST 6,8 18 Anna WENZEL AUT 7,2 19 Tamsin SEAR GBR 7,6 20 Nicole SKODA SUI 8,0 21 Marta ANDRADE ESP 8,4 22 Young-Eun CHOI KOR 8,8 23 Helena PAJOVIC YUG 9,2 Qualifying Free Skating Group A Pl. Name Nation Pts. 1 Maria BUTYRSKAYA RUS 0,4 2 Mikkeline KIERKGAARD DEN 0,8 3 Julia SEBESTYEN HUN 1,2 4 Elena LIASHENKO UKR 1,6 5 Tatiana MALININA UZB 2,0 6 Zoya DOUCHINE GER 2,4 7 Alisa DREI FIN 2,8 8 Anna LUNDSTRÖM SWE 3,2 9 Galina MANIACHENKO UKR 3,6 9 Anna RECHNIO POL 3,6 11 Diana POTH HUN 4,4 12 Roxana LUCA ROM 4,8 13 Shirene HUMAN RSA 5,2 14 Valeria TRIFANCOVA LAT 5,6 15 Kaja HANEVOLD NOR 6,0 16 Julia VOROBIEVA AZE 6,4 17 Ellen MAREELS BEL 6,8 18 Lucia STAROVICOVA SVK 7,2 19 Sarah-Yvonne PRYTULA AUS 7,6 20 Diane CHEN TPE 8,0 21 Liza MENAGIA GRE 8,4 22 Rocio SALAS VISUET MEX 8,8 Pairs Final Results Fi Name Nation TFP SP FS 1 Maria PETROVA / Alexei TIKHONOV RUS 2,0 2 1 2 Xue SHEN / Hongbo ZHAO CHN 2,5 1 2 3 Sarah ABITBOL / Stephane BERNADIS FRA 5,0 4 3 4 Jamie SALE / David PELLETIER CAN 5,5 3 4 5 Dorota ZAGORSKA / Mariusz SIUDEK POL 8,5 7 5 6 Tatiana TOTMIANINA / Maxim MARININ RUS 10,0 8 6 7 Kyoko INA / John ZIMMERMAN USA 10,0 6 7 8 Peggy SCHWARZ / Mirko MÜLLER GER 11,5 5 9 9 Tiffany SCOTT / Phillip DULEBOHN USA 12,5 9 8 10 Kristy SARGEANT / Kris WIRTZ CAN 15,5 11 10 11 Mariana KAUTZ / Norman JESCHKE GER 18,0 12 12 12 Marina KHALTURINA / Valeri ARTYUCHOV KAZ 19,0 16 11 13 Katerina BERANKOVA / Otto DLABOLA CZE 19,5 13 13 14 Inga RODIONOVA / Andrei KRUKOV AZE 21,0 14 14 15 Qing PANG / Jian TONG CHN 22,5 15 15 16 Evgenia FILONENKO/Alexander CHESTNIKH GEO 25,0 18 16 17 Viktoria SHKLOVER / Valdis MINTALS EST 25,5 17 17 18 Olga BESTANDIGOVA / Josef BESTANDIG SVK 27,5 19 18 19 Ekaterina DANKO / Gennadi EMELIENENKO BLR 29,0 20 19 Withdrawn Julia OBERTAS / Dmitri PALAMARCHUK UKR 10 Final not reached 21 Catherine HUC / Vivien ROLLAND FRA 21 22 Tatjana ZAHARJEVA / Jurijs SALMANOVS LAT 22 For further information please contact: ISU Press Office: Aline Bussat/Penny Dain in Nice on +33 4 97 08 25 86
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