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  • Friday, March 31, 2000

    Robinson is 11th in women's singles

    By NEIL STEVENS -- The Canadian Press

     NICE, France (CP) -- Canadian champion Jennifer Robinson is finally getting the job done at a world figure skating championship.

     She was 19th five years ago, 21st four years ago, and 18th when she made it back onto her country's team last year. She now appears capable of achieving the top-12 finish she set as her goal before flying to the French Riviera.

     Just how does that feel?

     "Spectacular," she said after skating her short program today. "Everything clicks, you know what you have to do, the last technical thing falls into place, it's phenomenal to have it happen, especially at a world championship."

     Defending champion Maria Butyrskaya of Russia is in first place, Irina Slutskaya of Russia is second, and Michelle Kwan of the United States is third.

     Robinson is in 11th spot going into the Saturday free-skating final.

     She performed her short program to Michel Legrand's The Summer Knows.

     Her opening jump, a double Axel, was fine. Her triple Lutz-double toe loop jump combination had rough edges in the middle, she did a triple loop while the top skaters did the more difficult triple flip, and she skated with less speed than the leaders.

     "I was disappointed with the Lutz because it's been going well all week," she said. "I was a little tentative going in after the Axel but I picked up the speed coming around the corner (of the rink) so I was happy with that.

     "I'm very happy with the performance, overall."

     She attributes her improvement this season to maturity. The Windsor, Ont., athlete is 23 now.

     "I know now that whatever happens in practice, which is different for me from last year, doesn't mean that that is what is going to happen in the performance," she explained. "If I miss one thing (in practice), I know to go for it in the event and to rely on my automatic pilot, so to speak, to let it happen.

     "Plus I bought some furniture that I need to pay off. I got a new mattress. My old one was giving me neck cramps."

     Skaters finishing from fourth to 10th earn $8,250 US each. From 11th to 24th, they get $2,750 each.

     Regardless, Robinson is headed for the best Canadian finish in the women's event since Josee Chouinard was fifth at the 1994 worlds in Chiba, Japan.

     Canada's last medal was in 1988 in Budapest, where Liz Manley won silver.

     Karen Magnussen's win in 1972 in Calgary was Canada's last.



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