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Skating Friday, 11 January, 2002, 13:08 GMT
Up in the air
Fusar Poli and Margaglio are reigning world dance champions
Fusar Poli and Margaglio are world dance champions
The BBC's James Cowling says the pairs and dance disciplines are wide open.

The dance event could be the most interesting of the four ice skating disciplines.

In a sport where the outcome is usually determined on World rankings, this was certainly not the case at the recent Grand Prix of Figure Skating Finals in Canada.

The reigning World Champions, Barbara Fusar Poli and Maurizio Margaglio of Italy finished a disappointing fourth.

The 2000 World Champions, Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat of France were second, and Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz of Canada, who have not won a major competition since 1997, were the winners.

World Champions Jamie Sale and David Pelletier of Canada
The Canadians could challenge in the pairs
These three couples will feature in the ice dance final as well as Irina Lobacheva and Ilia Averbukh of Russia.

But they have missed most of the season due to injury.

Marika Humphreys and Vitaliy Baranov are the British team in figure skating events.

Training accident

The Welsh couple are hoping to improve on their world ranking.

They were 16th at the World Championships last season.

In the pairs, World Champions Jamie Sale and David Pelletier of Canada will be trying to fend off reigning Olympic silver medallists Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze of Russia.

The Canadians have been undefeated this year, while the Russians have struggled because of injury.

They missed several weeks of training after her blade sliced his arm and he required stitches.

Chinese team of Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao
The Chinese couple are technically strong
If either fail to perform, the Chinese team of Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao could end up the winners.

While they may lack artistry, they consistently have the highest technical marks.

They may even perform a very difficult throw quad salchow, a move none of the other couples will even attempt.

Also in the running for a medal will be American's Kyoko Ina and John Zimmerman.

They have improved dramatically this year and skating in their homeland could prove an advantage for them.

Links to more Skating stories are at the foot of the page.

Links to more Skating stories

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