|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 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: email@example.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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