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Yagudin (Russia), `Perfect Gold` in Figure Skating

Posted February. 16, 2002 11:30,   


As the music faded, Alexei Yagudin (22, Russia) put his hands on his mouth and closed his eyes. He was praying. What made him open his eyes was the great applause from 15,000 spectators who filled the Ice Center. Yagudin made a `V` for victory and kissed the ice. Flowers poured into the ice as the spectators cheered aloud.

Yagudin earned 5.9 points from all 9 judges in technique, and earned 6 full points from 4 out of 9 judges for artistry. He became the first male skater in the history of the Winter Olympics to receive full points from more than 2 judges.

There was no problem with the fact that he was from Russia, the country directly involved in the `judgment scandal`. The judges had to give perfect scores for his flawless performance.

Yagudin stood at the top of men’s singles in figure skating of the 19th Salt Lake Winter Olympics. After taking first place in the short-program, he displayed his outstanding talent also in the free-skating held at Salt Lake Ice Center on the 15th, and won the gold medal.

3-time winner of the International Championships (1998-2000), Yagudin, overwhelmed the stadium with his powerful gladiator-like performance along with the original soundtrack of the movie, `The Man In The Iron Mask` in which Leonardo DiCaprio starred. He finally managed to shake off the disappointing 5th in the 1998 Nagano Olympics.

Meanwhile, Catrina Lemay Doan (Canada) won her 2nd victory after the Nagano Games in the women`s 500m speed skating second race at the Olympic Oval with a record of 37 seconds 45, and recorded a total of 1 minute 14 seconds 75.

Spanish ski hero, Johann Muehlegg, became the third athlete to win 2 consecutive gold medals by winning the men’s Cross Country 10km Free Pursuit with a record of 49 minutes 20 seconds 4 after the victory in the Cross Country 30km even on the 10th. In the same match, Thomas Alsgaard and Frode Estil (both Norway) crossed the finish line with the same record of 49 minutes 48 seconds 9 and won silver medals together for the first time in history because photo-reading could not differentiate who was first.

Sang-Soo Kim ssoo@donga.com