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FIGURE SKATING

Cohen's Win Not Perfect

November 03, 2002|Helene Elliott | Times Staff Writer

QUEBEC CITY — Happy though she was to earn her first Grand Prix figure skating title, Sasha Cohen was realistic about her Skate Canada triumph.

In a field that lacked Olympic champion Sarah Hughes, reigning world champion Irina Slutskaya and four-time world champion Michelle Kwan, Cohen easily outskated Fumie Suguri of Japan and Viktoria Volchkova of Russia Saturday with a crowd-pleasing performance.

However, she simplified two planned triple-triple combination jumps to triple-doubles and fell on the first part of another triple-triple, leaving her philosophical.

"I feel like it's an OK place to start from," said Cohen, whose family left Laguna Niguel in September so she could train in Connecticut with Tatiana Tarasova. "It's definitely special to win, but it's a little empty without all my strongest competitors here. I'm happy that I won, but I wasn't quite as happy with my skate."

None of the top three women skated exceptionally well, reflecting the early stage of the figure skating season. The other U.S. entrant, Jennifer Kirk, moved up from seventh to sixth.

Cohen was electrifying during her spiral sequence and a rapid closing spin that dazzled the crowd of 6,555 at the Colisee Pepsi. But her fall marred the overall effect, as did Volchkova's fall on a triple flip. Suguri, whose third-place finish at the World Championships was one spot ahead of Cohen, didn't fall Saturday but wobbled on several landings and opened up on the first part of a planned triple-triple.

Under the interim judging system in use this season, Cohen's marks from the 10 judges ranged from 5.3 to 5.7 (out of 6.0) for technical merit and 5.7s and 5.8s for presentation. Suguri's technical marks went from 5.1 to 5.5 and her presentation marks from 5.1 to 5.7. Volchkova, fighting back pain from a collision with Kirk on Saturday morning, got 4.7 to 5.4 for technical merit and 5.0 to 5.7 for presentation.

"For today, is enough for me," Tarasova said of Cohen's performance. "It's after that we [will] show more, more, more. She is competing for a high position in the world."

Said Cohen: "After an Olympic year there's a lot of letdown, and everybody's getting ready for another season.... We'd better all get in shape by worlds."

Takeshi Honda of Japan, who trains in Canada, landed a quadruple salchow and a quadruple toe loop in overtaking Canada's Emanuel Sandhu for the men's title. Sandhu, notorious for collapsing in the long program, held onto second, ahead of Stanislav Timchenko of Russia. Derrick Delmore of the U.S. was fifth, with compatriot Ryan Bradley sixth.

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