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 Sunday, November 5
Slutskaya wins Skate Canada despite early fall
 
 Associated Press

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario -- Russia's Irina Slutskaya landed six triple jumps in the women's free skate competition to beat American Michelle Kwan in Skate Canada International on Saturday night.

Michelle Kwan
Michelle Kwan had one of her poorest long programs in recent memory in taking second place.

Slutskaya, who skated last, entered the free skate at the Hershey Centre in first place. But when she fell in the first minute of her four-minute routine, she had to recover quickly to maintain her position in the standings.

"I forgot about the fall immediately," she said. "I'm very happy I won, and that I tried the triple Lutz-triple loop combination," Slutskaya said.

Japan's Fumie Suguri finished third, followed by Canadian champion Jennifer Robinson, American Deanna Stellato and Galina Maniachenko of the Ukraine.

Alexei Yagudin, the three-time world champion, won the men's title. The 20-year-old Russian landed a quad and eight triple jumps to easily beat Americans Todd Eldredge and Matthew Savoie.

"Looking at the marks, I think it might have been my best skating ever," Yagudin said.

The Russian and German judges gave Yagudin perfect 6.0s for artistic impression in his free-skating performance to music from the movie Gladiator. Every other mark, on both the technical and the artistic sides, was a 5.9.

Slutskaya finished second to Kwan last season at the 2000 worlds in Nice, France, and also finished second at the 1998 worlds. She then missed out on the 1999 championships when she didn't make the Russian team.

"Nothing in my life has come easy," Slutskaya, 21, said through an interpreter. "I have to fight for everything."

Slutskaya and Kwan are preparing for the world championships in March in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Kwan, who opened her season with a victory at Skate America last weekend, landed five triple jumps and produced one of her poorest long programs in recent memory.

"I'm kind of mad at myself," said Kwan, 20. "Hopefully by the end of the season I'll be doing more triples and improve on this program. There is a lot of room for improvement."

Kwan, 20, the three-time world champion, backed off on her jumps and had to touch a hand down, too, during a footwork sequence.

"I could have done a lot better than that," said Kwan, who doesn't compete again until the U.S. nationals in January.

 


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