2002 European Figure Skating Championships: Day Three

The 2002 ISU European Figure Skating Championships continued in Lausanne with the Ladies Qualifying Rounds and the finale of the Pairs competition.

Ladies, Qualifying Rounds

The Ladies' competition started today with the Qualifying Rounds. In group A, defending European Champion Irina Slutskaya of Russia won with teammate Viktoria Volchkova finishing second. Italy's Silvia Fontana came in third. In group B, 1999 World Champion Maria Butyrskaya (Russia) took the lead ahead of Ukraine's Galina Maniachenko and Susanna Pöykiö of Finland.

Slutskaya started off her program set to "Tosca" with a high triple Lutz-double loop combination followed by a triple Salchow-double loop. However, the Muscovite then started to struggle. She popped her second Lutz, two-footed the triple loop and fell hard on the double Axel. Nonetheless, the Muscovite landed a triple flip, triple toeloop and she produced excellent spins. "I was surprised, like you guys were. I think everyone was surprised. But it's just the warm up for the competition", Slutskaya said.

Volchkova, who skated earlier in the group, put in a good performance that included a triple Salchow-double toeloop combination, three more triples, a double Axel and flowing spirals. She only doubled her second Lutz. Slutskaya stayed ahead by a majority of five to two Judges. "I was very nervous", Volchkova revealed. "But I pulled myself together. Of course, this was not the best I can skate this program. The first day is always hard, because it is important to make the final flight for the short program. I wanted to do the triple-triple (Salchow-toeloop), but my landing on the Salchow wasn't so good, so I didn't want to risk a triple toe. I'm obliged to do it in the free program, otherwise it will be difficult to fight for a medal."

Fontana put in an inspiring program set to "Carmen" and completed five triples to capture a spot in the final flight for the Short Program. "I had a bad warm up, I didn't expect to skate well", the Italian admitted. "My legs didn't feel as soft as in practice, and I started worrying. This is my best qualifying result ever, I never was in the last warm up group for the short program at Championships. It will be tense, but I'll try to enjoy it as much as I can."

Skating in the second qualifying group, Butyrskaya pulled off four triple jumps in her lyrical program set to Alfred Schnittke's "Tale of a Journey", but she stumbled on a triple toeloop and didn't complete a combination as required. "This program is still quite new and raw for me", the Russian said. "I wanted to test it in the qualifying. It's always hard to motivate yourself for qualifying, because you don't really know what you're skating for. I believe it's not necessary to do a qualifying just to eliminate four competitors."

Maniachenko delivered a strong performance that featured a triple Lutz-double toeloop combination, a triple loop, a triple flip and two more triples, but she stepped out of the landing of the triple toeloop. "This was the best I've skated my free program this season so far", the Ukrainian commented. "It felt hard to skate today, because it is a different ice than in the practice rink. Yesterday, we skated in the practice rink, and the ice was hard, this morning we almost skated in water, it was so soft. And now here again, the ice was different."

Pöykiö, the current World Junior bronze medallist, skated her way to third place with a solid program. The Finnish completed five triple jumps, but she stepped out of the triple loop and lacked speed. "I did not expect such a good performance today as I began to feel some pain in my foot last week and my practice this morning was bad", Pöykiö said. "My goal for Lausanne was to be in the top 10. After today, I might be able to place a little higher."

Pairs

The first medals of the 2002 European Championships were awarded at the conclusion of an exciting Pairs' competition as the standings shuffled after the Free Program.

While overnight leaders Tatiana Totmianina/Maxim Marinin of Russia skated to victory, France's Sarah Abitbol/Stephane Bernadis moved up one spot to claim the silver medal. Maria Petrova/Alexei Tikhonov dropped to third place and won the bronze medal. Although all three couples on tonight's podium had medalled before at a European Championships, the colors of the medals were different this time.

Skating second in the final flight, Abitbol/Bernadis started off well with side by side triple toeloops, and a high double throw Axel, but then Abitbol doubled the side by side Axel. The French recovered quickly to produce a triple twist, a triple throw loop and strong lifts in their routine to the "Addams Family" soundtrack. The marks ranged from 5.4 to 5.7 for technical merit and from 5.5 to 5.8 for presentation. The couple knew they had a medal, but at that point they did not know which color it would be.

Next up were Totmianina/Marinin who looked nervous. Totmianina wasn't feeling well, and the couple had even considered withdrawing. Marinin stepped out of the opening side by side triple Salchow, but the Russians didn't let their "Westside Story" program go downhill. They hit a triple twist, a triple throw loop, a side by side triple toeloop-double toeloop combination and triple throw Salchow. The marks went up to 5.8 for technical merit and up to 5.9 for presentation.

Petrova/Tikhonov knew they had to skate their best. They put in a technical demanding program to "Chess" that contained a double Axel-triple toeloop sequence, another side by side triple toeloop, triple twist and impressive lifts. The only major glitch came when Petrova stepped out of the landing of the triple throw toeloop. The two-time European Champions received ordinals ranging from first to fourth and slipped to third place.

This was the first major international victory for Totmianina/Marinin, who had won the silver medal last year. The French collected their first silver medal at a European Championships, after having won five bronze medals, while it was the first bronze medal for Petrova/Tikhonov.

"Being first after the short program was not really a pressure for me because I woke up with temperature this morning and concentrated on pulling myself together", Totmianina said. "I realized that Maxim had made a mistake on the triple Salchow, but I didn't let this affect me. We still had the whole program before us. I just wanted the program to end quickly." Abitbol/Bernadis were very pleased with their silver medal. "We skated very well tonight and we are used to the pressure", Bernadis commented. "It's not an easy game with the Russians. I felt a little tired at the end of the program, not only physically but also mentally. We are happy with the color of our medal. The competition was very tough. The last four couples skated really well."

Petrova/Tikhonov were a bit disappointed. "I think we skated the program as a whole better than at Russian Nationals, but the elements were more shaky", Tikhonov told the press. "There was a huge pressure on us. We wanted to win very much. And we know that we can't miss a single element. The judges don't pardon anything. As we approached the end of our program, I pushed through, we wanted to finish strongly."

Poland's Dorota Zagorska/Mariusz Siudek stayed in fourth place, although they too delivered a strong performance.

The European Figure Skating Championships continue Thursday with the Original Dance and the Men's Short Program.

Results

Ladies

FPl.	Name			Nat.	Points	QA	QB	SP	FS

1	Maria BUTYRSKAYA 	RUS	0.4		1		
1	Irina SLUTSKAYA 	RUS	0.4	1			
3	Galina MANIACHENKO 	UKR	0.8		2		
3	Viktoria VOLCHKOVA 	RUS	0.8	2			
5	Silvia FONTANA 		ITA	1.2	3			
5	Susanna PÖYKIÖ 		FIN	1.2		3		
7	Vanessa GUSMEROLI 	FRA	1.6	4			
7	Julia SEBESTYEN 	HUN	1.6		4		
9	Elina KETTUNEN 		FIN	2.0	5			
9	Elena LIASHENKO 	UKR	2.0		5		
11	Zuzana BABIAKOVA 	SVK	2.4		6		
11	Sarah MEIER 		SUI	2.4	6			
13	Laetitia HUBERT 	FRA	2.8	7			
13	Julia LAUTOVA 		AUT	2.8		7		
15	Idora HEGEL 		CRO	3.2		8		
15	Mojca KOPAC 		SLO	3.2	8			
17	Lucie KRAUSOVA 		CZE	3.6		9		
17	Julia LEBEDEVA 		ARM	3.6	9			
19	Marta ANDRADE 		ESP	4.0		10		
19	Asa PERSON 		SWE	4.0	10			
21	Tamara DOROFEJEV 	HUN	4.4	11			
21	Roxana LUCA 		ROM	4.4		11		
23	Vanessa GIUNCHI 	ITA	4.8		12		
23	Karen VENHUIZEN 	NED	4.8	12			
25	Sara FALOTICO 		BEL	5.2	13			
25	Sabina WOJTALA 		POL	5.2		13		
27	Svetlana PILIPENKO 	UKR	5.6	14			
27	Darya ZURAVICKI 	ISR	5.6		14		
29	Tugba KARADEMIR 	TUR	6.0		15		
29	Georgina PAPAVASILIOU 	GRE	6.0	15			
31	Andrea DIEWALD 		GER	6.4		16		
31	Olga VASSILJEVA 	EST	6.4	16			
33	Ksenia JASTSENJSKI 	YUG	6.8		17		
33	Gintare VOSTRECOVAITE 	LTU	6.8	17			


Pairs

FPl.	Name					Nat.	Points	SP	FS

1	Tatiana TOTMIANINA / Maxim MARININ 	RUS	1.5	1	1
2	Sarah ABITBOL / Stephane BERNADIS 	FRA	3.5	3	2
3	Maria PETROVA / Alexei TIKHONOV 	RUS	4.0	2	3
4	Dorota ZAGORSKA / Mariusz SIUDEK 	POL	6.0	4	4
5	Katerina BERANKOVA / Otto DLABOLA 	CZE	7.5	5	5
6	Tatiana CHUVAEVA / Dmitri PALAMARCHUK 	UKR	10.0	6	7
7	Viktoria BORZENKOVA / Andrei CHUVILYAEV RUS	11.5	11	6
8	Mariana KAUTZ / Norman JESCHKE 		GER	12.5	9	8
9	Marie-Pierre LERAY / Nicolas OSSELAND 	FRA	12.5	7	9
10	Tiffany Ann SFIKAS / Andrew SEABROOK 	GBR	13.5	7	10
11	Viktoria SHKLOVER / Valdis MINTALS 	EST	17.0	12	11
12	Michela COBISI / Ruben DE PRA 		ITA	18.5	13	12
13	Olga BESTANDIGOVA / Jozef BESTANDIG 	SVK	20.0	14	13
14	Maria GEURASSIMENKO / Vladimir FUTAS 	SVK	21.5	15	14
15	Maria KRASILTSEVA / Artem ZNACHKOV 	ARM	23.5	17	15
16	Jelena SIROKHVATOVA / Jurijs SALMANOVS 	LAT	24.0	16	16
17	Diana RENNIK / Aleksei SAKS 		EST	26.0	18	17
18	Sarah JENTGENS / Mirko MÜLLER 		GER	5.0	10	




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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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