Figure Skating
Skater Bios
 Thursday, October 26
Kwan first-day leader at Skate America
 Associated Press

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Michelle Kwan finished at the top in the women's short program at Skate America 2000 Thursday night with a new routine that included a near-flawless triple flip.

Sarah Hughes was second.

Kwan, using a program choreographed by former pairs champion Christopher Dean, earned five 5.8s for technique and five 5.9s for presentation.

"It's hard because when you first do a new program, mentally you think you'll forget something," Kwan said.

China's Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao, runners-up in the past two world championships, scored highest in the pairs short program.

Canada's Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, the 1999 Skate America winners, were second, followed by Russia's Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin, and Americans Tiffany Scott and Philip Dulebohn.

"Our goal is to keep improving," Dulebohn said. "We don't always have control of placements and results."

Scott added, "Yeah, numbers schmumbers."

U.S. champions Kyoko Ina and John Zimmerman were fifth. Ina slipped after the throw triple salchow.

Italy's Barbara Fusar-Poli and Maurizio Margaglio led the dance event after the compulsory competition, which accounts for 20 percent of the overall score.

Canada's Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz, skating in their first major competition in six months after Bourne injured a knee last spring, were second.

Skate America 2000 participants