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Skating Monday, 18 February, 2002, 04:25 GMT
French lead after original dance
The French team of Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat continue their dominance of the ice dance event in Salt Lake City by winning the original dance.
Anissina and Peizerat look good for the gold
By BBC Sport Online's James Cowling

The French team of Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat continue their dominance of the ice dance event in Salt Lake City by winning the original dance.

Anissina and Peizerat performed a very confident and clean routine to the theme of this year's original dance, a Spanish Medley.

They earned marks ranging from 5.7 up to 5.9 for composition and a string of 5.9s from all nine judges for presentation.

They won eight first place marks from the panel including support from the Russian judge.

The couple even earned a first-place mark from the usually pro-Italian judge, Walter Zucarro, which seems to suggest that the judges are really trying to get it right.

Earning a 6.0 from the Polish judge, Irina Lobacheva and Ilia Averbukh of Russia placed a strong second with one first place mark.

Catastrophe avoided

Although the Russians may have lacked the Spanish flair of some of the other couples, their lifts were the most superior of the night.

The world champions Barbara Fusar-Poli and Maurizio Margaglio of Italy, who finished third, averted what could have been a catastrophe near the end of their programme.

Fusar-Poli caught her skate on her skirt and the two nearly tumbled to the ice.

They recovered very quickly, but, regardless, it would have been caught by the judges.

Italian incensed

While the pairs' scandal at these Olympics may have come to and end, as far as the Italians are concerned the fallout is far from over.

They believe the incident has cost them the gold medal. In remarks reported to the Italian media, they think the French judge at the forefront of the furore, Marie-Reine Le Gougne, was the pawn in a power game at these Olympics.

Fusar-Poli said she is incensed at being placed third in the compulsory dance.

"We are black with anger - they have taken us for fools. The Olympics are lost. Everything has already been decided. The Russians will win. We skated very well - we could not have done better," she commented.

Marika Humphreys and Vitaliy Baranov of Deeside, Wales, performed a very strong original dance to finish 15th, but remained in 16th place in the overall standings.

The free dance, worth 50% of the final mark, will take place on Monday.

See also:

16 Feb 02 | Skating
France urges judging reform
16 Feb 02 | Skating
French duo lead the dance
15 Feb 02 | Skating
Canadian skaters get gold
Links to more Skating stories are at the foot of the page.


Links to more Skating stories



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