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2000 World Figure Skating Championships

March 26 - April 2, 2000
Nice, France

Day 3 Summary

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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).

Ladies

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.

Pairs

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.

Results

Ladies

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


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