ALSO ON SLAM!
Saturday, April 1, 2000
A fine line, Jenny
WORLD FIGURE SKATING CHAMPIONSHIPS:
NICE, France - She's been down so long, this looks like up to Jennifer Robinson.
It IS up, way up, for Canadian women's skating.
The Windsor, Ont., skater sits 11th going into today's free skate final, setting up Canada's best result since 1994 in Tokyo when Josee Chouinard of Laval, Que., finished fifth and Susan Humphreys of Edmonton finished ninth.
PREVIOUS FINISHES ...
Robinson, in three previous trips to the World Figure Skating Championships, finished 19th in Birmingham, England in '95, 21st at the Edmonton Worlds in '96 and 18th last year in Helsinki.
While she received deductions for a less-than-clean combination and a significant lack of speed her technical marks of 4.7s to 5.1s were compensated for by 5.2, 5.3, 5.2, 5.5, 5.4, 5.0, 5.3, 5.1, 5.3 for artistic impression.
"It's been nerve-wracking,'' said coach Michelle Leigh of the long and winding road for Robinson to make it into the second final flight for a long program at Worlds.
"It's wonderful to watch when you know how long we've been waiting.
"We've always known this was there. Finally she's doing something.''
Today the world will be watching Maria Butyrskaya and Irina Slutskaya of Russia, Michelle Kwan and 14-year-old Sarah Hughes of the U.S., Vanesa Gusmeroli of France and Julia Sebestyen of Hungary who are 1-2-3-4-5-6 and will form the final flight. But for Robinson to be in the second group represents progress both personally and for Canada as a skating nation.
Remember, we've had skaters like Netty Kim fail to survive qualifying, Angela Durocher finish 20th and Humphreys, who couldn't skate in the final due to injury.
"I'm very happy,'' said the 23-year-old.
"I desperately wanted to stay in the top 12 and that second-to-last grouping.''
What does it feel like to finally be getting it done?
"Spectacular,'' she said. "It's clicking now. It feels phenomenal when it finally happens. To have it happen at Worlds makes it even more special.''
It doesn't mean that she's on her way to finding the podium. But it does mean she might be able to pay her bills.
"I have to pay for some furniture,'' she said.
One nosy newshound asked what kind of furniture, exactly.
"I'm not saying,'' she said.
Finally, she spilled the beans.
I don't know what the going rate for a mattress is these days. But you must be able to get a really good one for $8,250 U.S. That's what it pays to finish fourth to 10th. Skaters ending up between 11th and 24th get cheques for $2,750.
GOLD IS WORTH $55,000
The podium pays $55,000 for gold, $33,000 for silver and $22,000 for bronze.
Getting the $55,000 US payday for finishing first in dance were Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat of France with Barbara Fusar Poli and Maurizio Margaglio of Italy taking home the silver and the $33,000, and Margarita Drobiazko and Povilas Vanagas of Lithuania winning the bronze and $22,000.
Canada's Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon ended up 10th with Canadians Megan Wing and Aaron Lowe 15th.
The Canadians moved up a spot as a result of a morning mishap. During the practice session Albena Denkova of Bulgaria, partner of Maxim Staviski, was injured in a collision with Peter Tchernyshev of the U.S.
She suffered a deep cut to her left ankle and underwent surgery to repair muscle damage. The Bulgarians, who were ninth after the compulsory dance, were forced to withdraw.