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Archive for Sunday, March 25, 2001

Kwan captures world crown

Slutskaya settles for second; Hughes snares third

March 25, 2001

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— Michelle Kwan has her fourth world championship and a big edge heading to the Olympics.

The last four women to win the final World Figure Skating Championships before an Olympics went on to capture gold.

Kwan also tied the U.S. record for world medals with her sixth she also has two silvers.

American Sarah Hughes earned the bronze Saturday night.

"Four times, that's awesome," said Kwan, who broke down in tears backstage when she learned she had won. "No words can describe what I felt."

Kwan didn't miss a thing. The triple toe loop-triple toe loop combination that often has plagued her was a snap. So were the other five triple jumps, the precise spins and the exquisite spirals that have marked her as a champion.

She laid down the challenge for Russia's Irina Slutskaya, who was next onto the ice. Slutskaya, winner of the short program, met it with a triple salchow-triple loop-double toe combination and had six clean triples.

But she had two other sloppy landings and her presentation, usually a strong point, lacked flash. When Slutskaya, the runner-up in 1998 and 2000 to Kwan, saw she was second again, she shrugged and left the "kiss and cry" area without acknowledging the crowd.

The fans already were on their feet cheering Kwan's victory, which placed her in a very special category. She has won more world titles than Peggy Fleming and as many as Katarina Witt.

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