Figure Skating
Skater Bios
 Wednesday, September 27
Kwan wins title at World Championships
 Associated Press

NICE, France -- Michelle Kwan regained the women's title at the World Figure Skating Championships Saturday, vaulting past two Russians by winning the free skating program.

It is Kwan's third world title. She also won in 1996 and 1998.

Irina Slutskaya was second. Maria Butyrskaya, who led going into the free, finished third.

Michelle Kwan
Michelle Kwan captured her third world title on Saturday.

Kwan's smooth and elegant routine to music from the movie "Red Violin" earned her top scores, even though she skated first in the final group of six.

"That felt sooooo good," Kwan said just after finishing. "I never felt like that." She was ecstatic as she went off the ice, pumping both arms and clapping.

After getting marks between 5.6 and 5.8 for technical merit and 5.8s and 5.9s for presentation, she had to wait for Butyrskaya -- who beat her for the world title last year -- and Slutskaya, who won the Grand Prix final.

Butyrskaya ruined her chances when she two-footed a combination and scaled down a triple salchow.

Then Slutskaya made a run at Kwan in doing two triple-double combinations but no triple-triples. Although she didn't miss a jump, she finished with six triples compared to Kwan's seven, including a triple-triple combination.

Seven judges favored Kwan, compared to only two for Slutskaya. Kwan needed Slutskaya to finish second to put Butyrskaya down to third, which she did.

Slutskaya and Butyrskaya also were second and third to Kwan in 1998.


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World Championships final results

 Michelle Kwan interview (Courtesy: ABC Sports)
RealVideo: 56.6

 Michelle Kwan's winning performance at Worlds (Courtesy: ABC Sports)
RealVideo: 56.6

 ABC Sports special feature: Kwan looks back at 1999
RealVideo: 56.6