2002 European Figure Skating Championships: Day One

The 2002 European Skating Championships opened Monday in Lausanne, Switzerland, with the Men's Qualifying Rounds and the Pairs Short Program.

111 skaters and couples from 35 ISU Member countries have been entered in this event and for many of the skaters this will be their last chance to win a national selection to compete at the upcoming Olympic Wither Games. Full results are attached and are available on ww2.isu.org.

Men, Qualifying Rounds

The Championships opened with the Men's Qualifying Round, which counts for 20% of the skaters' final score. Thirty skaters (fifteen from each group) went through to compete in the Short Program.

Alexei Yagudin of Russia won Qualifying group A ahead of teammate Ilia Klimkin and Bulgaria's Ivan Dinev. Yagudin, who skated first, stepped out of his opening quadruple toeloop (in combination with double toeloop) but went on to complete seven triple jumps including a triple Axel-triple toeloop combination in his "Gladiator" routine. Yagudin chose to skate to last season's Free Program in the Qualifying because he didn't want to skate the same program twice. "I am not used to skating so early in the morning; it is tough for me but I almost think this is a sort of destiny for me", Yagudin said. He had skated first also last year at Europeans. "I did not land my quadruple toeloop perfectly like in the warming up. The ice is a little bit hard and I rushed the take off of my jump, which caused the mistake."

Klimkin landed a clean quadruple toeloop and was the only competitor in this qualifying group to do so. He pulled off six triples and original spins, but looked somewhat tentative. "It was very hard to skate for me, because I'm not really ready", the 1999 World Junior Champion admitted. "I only learned three days before my departure that I was coming here. Qualifying was good to get used to the whole atmosphere." Klimkin is competing in his first European Championships. He replaces defending European Champion Evgeni Plushenko who withdrew due to a groin injury.

Dinev touched down with his hand on his quadruple toeloop, but produced five clean triples. "I only arrived yesterday", the Bulgarian explained. "We couldn't take off in Sofia on Saturday because of fog. Yesterday we also almost missed our connection in Paris. And now we don't have our luggage! But I took my costume and my skates with me in the cabin. I had no practice at the big rink, just one this morning in the practice rink. Considering all this, the performance wasn't bad!"

Alexander Abt (RUS) took the victory in qualifying group B, fending off France's Brian Joubert and Dmitri Dmitrenko of the Ukraine. Skating first, Abt set the standard with a strong performance to Sergei Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No 3. He opened with a spectacular quadruple-triple toeloop combination followed by a triple Axel-double toeloop combination, five more triples and good spins. His only flaw was a doubled loop. Abt certainly wasn't holding back today. "People are here to see me, so I have to skate my best!" he laughed. "It was a good program today. I was calm when I went out to skate. It was the first time for me to land a quad-triple toeloop combination in competition. It's a record for me!"

Joubert, who is competing in his first Europeans, turned in a good program as well. The 17-year-old Frenchman landed a quadruple toeloop, a triple Axel-triple toeloop combination and another Axel, but he fell off the edge on the triple loop. "I am young and I feel no pressure. I am enjoying everything", Joubert commented. "My goal is to be among the first 10 skaters and to be the top French skater. For the short program, I plan a combination quadruple-triple and for the free program as well. After the perfect quadruple toeloop of today, I just said to myself: stay calm and don´t rush."

Dmitrenko assured his spot in the last flight of the short program with a solid program that featured a triple Axel and four more clean triples. However, Dmitrenko had to overcome a shaky start when he doubled his first Axel and two-footed the triple Lutz. The skater wasn't feeling on the top of his game. "I caught a cold, this morning I hardly was able to get up and didn't feel well", he said. "It was better now in the afternoon. My muscles were ready, but my head was dizzy. I started off badly, I didn't do the (quad) toe, the (triple) Axel, I did the Lutz not clean. Then I thought "my coach deserves better", and I pulled myself together. I finished on a high note."

Pairs, Short Program

In what was an exciting pairs event, Russia's Tatiana Totmianina/Maxim Marinin took the lead in the Short Program ahead of countrymen Maria Petrova/Alexei Tikhonov and Sarah Abitbol/Stephane Bernadis of France.

Totmianina/Marinin delivered a flawless program to music from the Russian rock opera "Star and Death of Joaquin Murietta". They opened with a death spiral followed by a triple throw loop and solid side by side triple toeloops. During the performance, Totmianina realized that the lace of her right boot had come loose, but she didn't let this affect her concentration. "My lace was cut. I think it happened right after the throw. I felt that the lace came slowly loose, but I tried not to pay attention to it", she said. Petrova/Tikhonov also put in a flawless routine. The two-time European Champions completed side by side triple toeloops, a throw triple Salchow and a difficult lift in their lyrical program set to "The Nutcracker" by Peter Tchaikovski. "Today, we did all our elements exactly and clean. We wanted to skate beautifully to bring joy to the audience, and I think that's what we did", Petrova said. The Judges were divided on the top two couples with Totmianina/Marinin receiving six first place ordinals, while Petrova/Tikhonov got three.

Abitbol/Bernadis entertained the crowd with their lively "Can Can" program that contained a high double twist and a strong lift. However, Abitbol struggled with the side by side triple toeloop and the spin was slightly out of sync. "We were a bit tense", Abitbol explained. "We had worked very hard for the short program. The short wasn't great, but we are still in third. Well, it's the long program that counts."

During the press conference, the competitors were asked to comment on the absence of the defending European Champions Elena Berezhnaya/Anton Sikhuarlidze, who withdrew due to injury. "Of course the result could have been entirely different if they were here. But we are just glad that we skated well and didn't let the Russian team down", Marinin said. "It is hard to beat Elena and Anton. Now the competition is open. It's different without them. They are always there usually", Bernadis added.

Standing in fourth place are Poland's two-time European silver medallists Dorota Zagorska/ Mariusz Siudek. They too turned in a good program to a Swing music medley. The only glitch was a step out on the triple throw Salchow.

The European Figure Skating Championships continue Tuesday with the Compulsory Dances and the Mens' Short Program.

Results

Men

FPl.	Name			Nat.	Points	QA	QB	SP	FS

1	Alexander ABT 		RUS	0.4		1		
1	Alexei YAGUDIN 		RUS	0.4	1			
3	Brian JOUBERT 		FRA	0.8		2		
3	Ilia KLIMKIN 		RUS	0.8	2			
5	Ivan DINEV 		BUL	1.2	3			
5	Dmitri DMITRENKO 	UKR	1.2		3		
7	Frederic DAMBIER 	FRA	1.6		4		
7	Stéphane LAMBIEL 	SUI	1.6	4			
9	Gabriel MONNIER 	FRA	2.0	5			
9	Andrejs VLASCENKO 	GER	2.0		5		
11	Sergei DAVYDOV 		BLR	2.4	6			
11	Kevin VAN DER PERREN 	BEL	2.4		6		
13	Kristoffer BERNTSSON 	SWE	2.8	7			
13	Stefan LINDEMANN 	GER	2.8		7		
15	Margus HERNITS 		EST	3.2	8			
15	Tomas VERNER 		CZE	3.2		8		
17	Vakhtang MURVANIDZE 	GEO	3.6		9		
17	Juraj SVIATKO 		SVK	3.6	9			
19	Gheorghe CHIPER 	ROM	4.0		10		
19	Hristo TURLAKOV 	BUL	4.0	10			
21	Sergei RYLOV 		AZE	4.4	11			
21	Gregor URBAS 		SLO	4.4		11		
23	Matthew DAVIES 		GBR	4.8	12			
23	Angelo DOLFINI 		ITA	4.8		12		
25	Markus LEMINEN 		FIN	5.2	13			
25	Michael SHMERKIN 	ISR	5.2		13		
27	Clemens JONAS 		AUT	5.6		14		
27	Bertalan ZAKANY 	HUN	5.6	14			
29	Patrick MEIER 		SUI	6.0		15		
29	Daniel PEINADO 		ESP	6.0	15			
31	Bartosz DOMANSKI 	POL			16		
31	Aidas REKLYS 		LTU		16			
33	Tayfun ANAR 		TUR		17			
33	Ivan KINCIK 		SVK			17		
35	Aramis GRIGORIAN 	ARM		18			
35	Milos MILANOVIC 	YUG			18		
R	Panagiotis MARKOUIZOS 	GRE					



Pairs

FPl.	Name					Nat.	Points	SP	FS

1	Tatiana TOTMIANINA / Maxim MARININ 	RUS	0.5	1	
2	Maria PETROVA / Alexei TIKHONOV 	RUS	1.0	2	
3	Sarah ABITBOL / Stephane BERNADIS 	FRA	1.5	3	
4	Dorota ZAGORSKA / Mariusz SIUDEK 	POL	2.0	4	
5	Katerina BERANKOVA / Otto DLABOLA 	CZE	2.5	5	
6	Tatiana CHUVAEVA / Dmitri PALAMARCHUK 	UKR	3.0	6	
7	Marie-Pierre LERAY / Nicolas OSSELAND 	FRA	3.5	7	
7	Tiffany Ann SFIKAS / Andrew SEABROOK 	GBR	3.5	7	
9	Mariana KAUTZ / Norman JESCHKE 		GER	4.5	9	
10	Sarah JENTGENS / Mirko MÜLLER 		GER	5.0	10	
11	Viktoria BORZENKOVA / Andrei CHUVILYAEV RUS	5.5	11	
12	Viktoria SHKLOVER / Valdis MINTALS 	EST	6.0	12	
13	Michela COBISI / Ruben DE PRA 		ITA	6.5	13	
14	Olga BESTANDIGOVA / Jozef BESTANDIG 	SVK	7.0	14	
15	Maria GEURASSIMENKO / Vladimir FUTAS 	SVK	7.5	15	
16	Jelena SIROKHVATOVA / Jurijs SALMANOVS 	LAT	8.0	16	
17	Maria KRASILTSEVA / Artem ZNACHKOV 	ARM	8.5	17	
18	Diana RENNIK / Aleksei SAKS 		EST	9.0	18	


For further information please contact:

2002 European Figure Skating Championships

Aline Bussat Ingweresen,                  Michelle Bohin, 
ISU Media Coordinator	        	  Press Officer
Tel: + 41 21 620 78 08                    Tel: +1 (647) 221 31 06
E-mail: bussat@isu.ch			  E-mail: media@euroskating2002.com

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