AP Article

Figure skating got under way in the evening at the Olympic Ice Arena. After the technical program in pairs, Germany's Mandy Woetzel and Ingo Steuer, bronze medalists at Nagano, led the three teams competing with a score of 98.3.

In second at 98.0 was the Russian team of Oksana Kazakova and Artur Dmitriev, who won gold at Nagano. Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Eisler, two-time Olympic bronze medalists, were in third with 96.7.

The U.S. pairs team of Yuka Sato and Jason Dungjen withdrew after he fell and broke his right cheekbone while attempting a triple twist in practice earlier Thursday.

In dance, Americans Elizabeth Punsalan and Jerod Swallow were awarded two perfect 10s in the technical portion and were in first place with a score of 98.8.

``It's a surprise because we were so nervous coming in,'' Punsalan said. ``We've been doing shows and trying to get ready for this, so we've been living with this stress daily.''

In second place at 98.3 were Maia Usova and Evgeny Platov of Russia, third at 98 was the Russian team of Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomarenko, and Finland's Susanna Rahkamo and Petri Kokko were fourth at 96.7.

The old guys stole the show in the men's singles. Thirty-six-year-old Brian Boitano of the United States finished the evening with a flourish, landing one double jump and five triples to take the lead with a score of 98.7, which included two 10s for artistry.

Canada's Brian Orser also skated a nearly flawless program, including his first triple axel in a dozen years, and was second at 98.4.

``I had so much adrenaline after the axel,'' said the 38-year-old Orser, Olympic champion in 1992 at Albertville. ``I don't even think I was breathing. I was going strictly on adrenaline.''

Victor Petrenko of Ukraine was in third at 97.8, followed by France's Philippe Candeloro, Alexei Urmanov of Russia, and Rudy Galindo of the United States.

Back to News & Articles