| ||Saturday, December 9|
Candeloro leads men after technical program
WASHINGTON -- Ol' Blue Eyes would have called it a very good skate. Philippe Candeloro, skating with a black coat and hat to "It Was a Very Good Year," landed all six of the major triple jumps while maintaining Frank Sinatra-like charm to take the lead in the men's competition after the technical program Friday night at the World Professional Figure Skating Championship. Yuka Sato led the women's competition, although she was nearly overshadowed by a flawless artistic performance from former Swiss champion Lucinda Ruh, who earned two perfect scores but placed only third. "I had some pressure," said 28-year-old Frenchman Candeloro, perhaps the most adored male skater never to win a major championship either as an amateur or pro. "It's a very important competition for me. This is the World Pro, and if I have a chance to win, I want to take my chance to try to win something in my life. "If you see my results, I never win -- but people love me like I win a lot of gold medals. So if I can give to my public a gold medal from here, it would be perfect for me and my life. That's why I feel pressure. "And it's going to be worse tomorrow, because I'm first." Candeloro, who has two Olympic bronze medals, landed the triple axel, triple loop, triple lutz, triple toe loop, triple flip and triple salchow. He portrayed the four ages in the Sinatra song to perfection, and more than once he sat on the boards with arms folded to match the mood of the lyrics. Candeloro hugged a spectator as he finished. He earned marks of 9.8 and 9.9 for technical merit, and mostly 9.8s for artistic impression. Candeloro debuted the routine at Ice Wars this year and is promising a brand new, dynamic Wild West routine for Saturday's artistic program. "It's less jumps, more artistic, more fun," Candeloro said. Rudy Galindo was second, amid some controversy. His "Fosse" routine received a 9.4 for artistic impression from judge Janet Lynn, who in 1973 was the first women's pro champion. It was the lowest score given any skater all evening, although Lynn generally gave lower scores than most of the other judges. Asked about Lynn's score, Galindo said, "It's very personal." Galindo refused to elaborate, and referred further questions to his sister-choreographer, Laura Galindo-Black. Galindo-Black said head judge Kerry Leitch explained it was Lynn's first year as a judge. "All of them are elite skaters," Galindo-Black said. "To get a 9.4. ... They all work so hard." Galindo-Black declined to say why her brother felt the low mark was a personal matter. Lynn was not available for comment. The 9.4 did not count against Galindo because the high and low scores are thrown out for each routine. But it was booed soundly by the MCI Center audience. Ilia Kulik was third, followed by defending champion Alexei Urmanov. In the women's competition, Ruh earned the only 10s and the only standing ovation -- but 1995 champion Sato held the lead. Ruh, making her professional debut, wowed the crowd with one masterful spin after another, but the jumps were her weak point. She did not land a clean triple jump, and her best effort was a two-footed landing on a triple-toe loop. Yet, skating to classical piano music, she was the model of artistry and was awarded the perfect marks for artistic impression -- well above her 9.6-9.8 range for technical merit. "It's my first time to get a perfect score," said Ruh, who turned pro a month ago because she felt her creativity would be more appreciated. "I was so excited. It's a dream come true to get a perfect score." Sato, the favorite after Tara Lipinski withdrew Thursday with a hip injury, followed Ruh and skated a clean, balanced program with three triple jumps, graceful spins and solid footwork. She earned all 9.8s and 9.9s. "To go out there after Lucinda's standing ovation was not very easy," Sato said. "There were flowers everywhere on the ice. It just gave me goose bumps, but I think I handled it pretty well." Nicole Bobek was second despite falling on a triple jump, among other awkward moments. Ruh was third, ahead of Surya Bonaly and Oksana Baiul. In the pairs, defending champions Elena Leonova and Andrei Khvalko took the lead after they were the only ones to skate a clean program. Jenni Meno and Todd Sand placed second after she fell on a double axel. 1998 champions Oksana Kazakova and Artur Dmitriev again attempted a first-ever throw quadruple toe loop, but she failed to land the jump and they placed third. Mandy Woetzel and Ingo Steuer of Germany were fourth. Defending champions Elizabeth Punsalan and Jerod Swallow took the lead in the dance competition with a routine that featured two tempo changes more in keeping with dance tradition. Anjelika Krylova and Oleg Ovsyannikov were second, followed by 1998 champions Maya Usova and Evgeny Platov.
Sato leads the competition
World Professional Figure Skating Championship results
Recycled routines get tossed at World Pro