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  • Wednesday, March 24, 1999

    Old song in dance

    By STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun
      HELSINKI, Finland -- Michel Brunet is definitely a song and dance man.
     When he and his partner, Chantal Lefebvre, finish a dance routine, he sings the blues -- as was the case yesterday at the world figure skating championships.
     Bitter over being placed 15th after the two compulsories, Brunet vented his frustration toward the judges, just as he did at last year's Olympic Games when they were placed 19th.
     Mind you, the native of Gatineau, Que., may have reason to be peeved.
     The second-ranked Canadian team skated two clean, crisp, appealing programs and again was placed behind couples that many skating insiders consider technically and artistically inferior -- including the American team, Naomi Lang and Peter Tchernyshev.
     "We just got smashed in the face in the last dance," Brunet said after he and Lefebvre skated the Paso Doble compulsory.
     "We didn't even want to go out for the second dance.
     "Chantal started to cry (after hearing the scores). And that shows you how deep inside it hurts. You don't want to get emotional between dances. We don't know what to do, we're stunned, speechless."
     Well, they're not exactly speechless.
     
     The team, 19th, 20th and 15th at the previous three worlds, felt it made a major breakthrough with the international judges with a second-place showing at the Four Continents Cup at Halifax. Now Brunet and Lefebvre aren't so sure.
     Canada's No.1 team, Shae-Lynne Bourne and Victor Kraatz, also may have been victims of questionable judging.
     Second after the first compulsory, and more importantly one spot ahead of French rivals Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat, Bourne and Kraatz ended up tied for second after the second compulsory when the judges flipped the two teams.
     The French team was bolstered after the second dance with high scores from the French and Russian judges. Anissina is originally from Russia.
     Defending world champs Anjelika Krylova and Oleg Ovsyannikov of Russia are first heading into tomorrow's original program.



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