2002 European Figure Skating Championships: Day Six

The 2002 ISU European Figure Skating Championships continued in Lausanne with the conclusion of the Ladies competition.

Ladies, Free Program

The Ladies event was the last to crown its European Champion on Saturday. For the fourth consecutive year, it was a clean sweep of medals for the Russians.

First to skate in the last warm up group was Irina Slutskaya. Standing in third after a fall in yesterday's Short Program the defending Champion knew that she wasn't able to win overall, as long as the overnight leader, Maria Butyrskaya remained in the lead or didn't finish lower than second. Determined to redeem herself, Slutskaya attacked the beginning of her program with a triple Lutz, but just held on to the landing. Next she went for her triple Salchow-triple loop combination, but stumbled badly on the loop. The Muscovite then recovered to nail a triple Lutz-double toeloop and three more triples. Skating with a lot of energy to "Tosca", Slutskaya also showed impressive spins. The four-time European Champion received 5.6 to 5.7 for technical merit and 5.7-5.8 for presentation.

Butyrskaya was up next and heard the marks of her teammate. Unlike Slutskaya, the 29-year-old had a solid start into her program, completing a triple flip, triple Lutz-double toeloop and a triple toeloop-half loop-triple Salchow combination. However, she then fell unexpectedly on her triple Lutz and later she two-footed the triple toeloop. Butyrskaya still completed a triple loop and good spins in her powerful performance to the soundtrack of the Russian movie "Tale of a Journey". The two-time European Champion smiled at the end of her program, but she didn't know yet if it was enough to capture a third title. The marks ranged from 5.1 to 5.7 for technical merit and from 5.6 to 5.9 for presentation.

Volchkova, second after the Short Program, was the last of the top three Ladies to skate. She opened her program with a triple Salchow-double toeloop combination but then touched down with both hands on the landing of the triple Lutz. Performing to "Gone with the Wind", the defending bronze medallist doubled the Flip, but rallied back in the second half of the program, executing three more triples and a double Axel. However, overall, she looked somewhat tentative. As soon as Volchkova's marks went up on the boards, Butyrskaya knew that she had won her third European title. Although Slutskaya won the Free Skating, ahead of Butyrskaya, she took the silver medal (for the second time after 1998). Volchkova was ranked third in the Free Skating which caused her to slip to third place overall.

"These are my last Europeans, and it is just wonderful to finish with a gold medal", Butyrskaya commented. At 29 years of age, Butyrskaya is the oldest European Ladies Champion in history. "I did well in the first half of my program, but I don't know what happened on the triple Lutz. It felt good. After this, it was hard. Maybe it was nerves."

Slutskaya was happy that the competition is over. "Lausanne isn't such a lucky place for me", she said. "At the Worlds in 1997 I skated badly in the short program and well in the free. I finished fourth. Here, I was a 100 percent ready for the jumps. I made a mistake in the triple- triple combination today, but I was the only lady to try this (triple Salchow-triple loop) combination."

Volchkova is the first Lady to win four consecutive bronze medals at European Championships. Anna Kondrashova, who competed for the Soviet Union, also collected four bronze medals (in 1984, 1986, 1987 and 1988). "Of course it's not so great to win the bronze medal for the fourth time, but it's also a medal and I earned it", Volchkova told the press. "I was a bit afraid of risking the (triple Salchow-triple toeloop) combination. That was my big mistake."

Ukraine's Galina Maniachenko came in fourth with a solid performance, while two Finnish skaters, Elina Kettunen and Susanna Pöykiö, finished fifth and sixth respectively.

Three countries took home medals from the 2002 European Figure Skating Championships. Russia clearly dominated the event with eight out of twelve medals including three out four possible titles. France clinched three medals and one medal went to Italy.

The Exhibition Gala takes place on Sunday.

Result

FPl.	Name			Nat.	Points	QA	QB	SP	FS

1	Maria BUTYRSKAYA 	RUS	3.0		1	1	2
2	Irina SLUTSKAYA 	RUS	3.2	1		3	1
3	Viktoria VOLCHKOVA 	RUS	5.0	2		2	3
4	Galina MANIACHENKO 	UKR	7.2		2	4	4
5	Elina KETTUNEN 		FIN	11.2	5		7	5
6	Susanna PÖYKIÖ 		FIN	11.8		3	6	7
7	Silvia FONTANA 		ITA	12.2	3		5	8
8	Laetitia HUBERT 	FRA	14.8	7		10	6
9	Elena LIASHENKO 	UKR	15.8		5	8	9
10	Julia SEBESTYEN 	HUN	18.2		4	11	10
11	Vanessa GUSMEROLI 	FRA	19.0	4		9	12
12	Julia LAUTOWA 		AUT	21.0		7	12	11
13	Sarah MEIER 		SUI	23.2	6		13	13
14	Mojca KOPAC 		SLO	25.6	8		14	14
15	Zuzana BABIAKOVA 	SVK	26.4		6	15	15
16	Marta ANDRADE 		ESP	29.6		10	16	16
17	Lucie KRAUSOVA 		CZE	31.4		9	18	17
18	Idora HEGEL 		CRO	34.8		8	21	19
19	Vanessa GIUNCHI 	ITA	35.0		12	17	20
20	Svetlana PILIPENKO 	UKR	37.4	14		23	18
21	Roxana LUCA 		ROM	38.4		11	20	22
22	Julia LEBEDEVA 		ARM	39.0	9		19	24
23	Tamara DOROFEJEV 	HUN	39.8	11		24	21
24	Sara FALOTICO 		BEL	41.4	13		22	23
25	Sabina WOJTALA 		POL			13	25	
26	Asa PERSSON 		SWE		10		27	
27	Tugba KARADEMIR 	TUR			15	26	
28	Karen VENHUIZEN 	NED		12		28	
29	Darya ZURAVICKI 	ISR			14	29	
30	Georgina PAPAVASILIOU 	GRE		15		30	
31	Andrea DIEWALD 		GER			16		
31	Olga VASSILJEVA 	EST		16			
33	Ksenia JASTSENJSKI 	YUG			17		
33	Gintare VOSTRECOVAITE 	LTU		17			



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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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