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  • Saturday, March 27, 1999

    Clean bronze

    No trouble for Bourne, Kraatz

    By STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun
      HELSINKI, Finland -- Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz stumbled, but they did not stumble from grace.
     For the fourth consecutive year, the Canadian ice dance team finished third at the world figure skating championships.
     This year, however, there was no controversy involved in their placement. In fact, the appealing couple did well to hold on to a medal after Chatham-native Bourne fell gently from her partner's grasp as their techno-pop program wound to its conclusion.
     If there was controversy, it was in the placement of the top two teams.
     The defending world silver medallists, Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat of France -- first after Thursday's original program -- captivated the Hartwall Arena audience by interpreting the Man in the Iron Mask soundtrack with passion and excitement.
     The French pair was rewarded with a standing ovation, but lost the gold medal on a five-four split of the judges. They may, in fact, have lost the gold because there was no French judge on the panel.
     
     PERFECT PRESENTATION
     The Russian judge awarded compatriots Anjelika Krylova and Oleg Ovsyannikov huge scores -- a perfect 6.0 for presentation and a 5.9 for technical merit -- after their interesting but somewhat uninspiring African-drums performance.
     Those two factors probably made the difference in the order. For the Russians, it was their second consecutive world title. And with the Russian women 1-2 heading into today's women's long program, Russia could sweep all four titles at these championships, which would be a first.
     "Of course we are sad, this is very hard to handle," said Peizerat, who took solace in the huge ovation.
     The outspoken Krylova, 25, could see no controversy.
     "I think if you see the video, you'll see why our program is more difficult than the French," she said. "I can't explain the technical difference. You just have to open your eyes and you'll see."
     Bourne and Kraatz believe all of their programs are superior technically -- especially the freedance.
     "It's like doing a triple Axel in your program," Bourne, 23, said.
     "Or a quad," Kraatz, 27, said.
     The second Canadian team, Chantal Lefebvre and Michel Brunet, dropped one spot to 15th, despite performing a pleasing and error-free Tango freedance.
     Brunet, who has a habit of letting his anger get the best of him during media conferences, seemed shell-shocked by the scores, which ranged from 4.5 to 5.2.


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