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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
High marks give Boitano 4th straight national title
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

Jan. 9, 1988

Shortly after midnight, figure skater Brian Boitano finally gets to perform his long program at the U.S. Nationals in Denver. After his scintillating performance in the short program, he appears flat. Tired and short of breath due to the mile-high altitude, he skates a program that, by his standards, is off-center and uninspired.

Twice he touches the ice with his hand to prevent him from falling on triple jumps. Despite these miscues, he receives spectacular scores from the nine judges - nine 5.9s, on a scale of 1 to 6, for technical merit and seven 5.9s for composition and style. When the 6.0 from one judge is flashed on the scoreboard, most of the sellout crowd of 15,869 boos.

Even Boitano's coach, Linda Leaver, said of the marks, "They were high."

Boitano's first place in the long program clinches his fourth consecutive national title and a berth in the Olympics.

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