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Weiss Skates to Men's Title

October 25, 2003|From Associated Press

READING, Pa. — Michael Weiss used the system to win Skate America on Friday.

The three-time U.S. national champion has discovered that the new judging system in use for the Grand Prix series this year rewards conservatism. So he loaded up his free skate with triple jumps and even improvised in the air, cutting a quad-triple combo to a triple-triple. It was enough to finish second to Takeshi Honda of Japan in the free skate, and with the lead Weiss had built by winning the short program, he gained his first Skate America title.

"It was definitely different than normal out there," Weiss said. "Doing a triple toe-triple toe is worth only a little less than a quad toe-triple toe. It's surprising.

"So when I opened up in the air on the quad toe, I said, 'Get off a triple-triple, make sure.' "

Honda, fourth after the short program, hit two quads in a strong opening, and his spins and footwork were superior to the other men. But he wound up with 199.27 points overall to Weiss' 206.94.

Earlier, Sasha Cohen won the women's short program, which leads into tonight's free skate. When Cohen heard the introduction and the applause before she skated, she left the sideboards -- and tripped.

But the U.S. star made up for her misstep with a fast-paced routine that easily outdistanced the field.

Laughing about her bobble before the routine, Cohen said: "My legs and brain were not working together. But I had the best time just skating and having fun out there."

Cohen received 66.46 points, followed by Shizuka Arakawa of Japan at 59.02 and Jennifer Kirk of the U.S. at 58.68. In dance, Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto of the U.S. moved into first overall.

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