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`State-of-Art`, Michelle Kwan Wins the Gold

Posted February. 21, 2002 09:17,   


As Michelle Kwan (22, U.S.A.) finished her performance, the audience of the Ice Center all rose in applause. Soon, dolls and flowers scattered on the ice. Kwan made a satisfactory look on the face, and gave her `million-dollar` peculiar smile.

She fell behind her rival Irina Slutskaya (23, Russia) in technique, but received 5.9 points from all 9 judges in artistry to secure the first place. There was nobody who could follow her in expression of the performance.

Michelle Kwan, who won 4 victories in international championships, conquered women’s singles Figure Skating short program of the 19th Salt Lake Winter Olympics.

For women’s singles, the results come after the addition of short program and free skating, and free skating, which is decisive for gold, will take place on the 22nd. Kwan is not completely secure yet, as she only claimed silver when she won the short program in 1998 Nagano Olympics but came second in free skating.

In terms of jump and technique, Kwan fell behind Slutskaya, but she displayed perfection in artistry through a variety of expressions and her power to overwhelm the link. 5 out 9 judges gave Kwan, and the other 4 gave Slutskaya the winnin points. Kwan won by 5-4.

"I displayed more difficult techniques.", said Slutskaya with unsatisfied expression.

Korea’s Park Bit-Na recorded the 26th position out of 27 participants, and was disqualified to advance to free skating. Meanwhile, the world record- holder (1 min. 45 sec. 20), Lee Kyu-Hyuk (24, Chunchon City Office), came only 8th with the record of 1 minute 45 seconds 82 in the men’s 1500m event of Speed Skating, which was held at the Olympic Oval. Korea failed to win a medal in Speed Skating. In the event, U.S.A.’s Derek Parra won the gold medal after setting the world record of 1 minute 43 seconds 95. In women’s Bobsleigh, U.S.A.’s Vonetta Flowers and Jill Bakken paired up to record the total of 1 minute 37 seconds 76 in the first and second races to win the gold medal. Flowers became the first black gold medallist in the history of winter Olympics, and broke the `wall of color` in the winter Olympics, which is led by whites.

Sang-Soo Kim ssoo@donga.com