Finns take top two spots in ladies short at Euros

Defending champion Kostner falls to third

Finland's Susanna Poykio placed second in the ladies short program at Europeans.
Finland's Susanna Poykio placed second in the ladies short program at Europeans. (Getty Images)


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By J. Barry Mittan, special to
(01/23/2009) - Finland's Laura Lepistö and Susanna Pöykiö stood in first and second place after the ladies short program at the 2009 European Championships in Helsinki.

Lepistö, the 2008 European ladies bronze medalist, skated to "Imagined Oceans" by Karl Jenkins.

She landed an opening triple toe loop-triple toe combination and a triple loop but singled her planned double Axel, scoring 56.62 points.

"I'm disappointed about the single Axel," Lepistö said. "It just slipped somehow. Nailing the triple-triple was amazing."

Pöykiö, the European silver medalist in 2005, was right behind with 56.06, a season best. Skating to "Leeloos' Tune" by Maksim Mrrvica, she landed a triple Lutz-double toe loop combination, a triple flip and a double Axel.

"I felt just amazing," Pöykiö said. "I made some strange mistakes, and without them, I could have gotten even a higher score."

Italy's Carolina Kostner, winner of the last two European championships, had only 51.36 points in the short program to finish third.

Skating to "Mujer Sola" and "Canaro en Paris", the 2008 world silver medalist opened with a huge triple flip, but she doubled the planned triple toe loop in the combination.

She then fell on the take-off for a planned triple Lutz, but she landed her double Axel

"These things that you can't prepare for happen often in competition," Kostner said. "I have to be more focused. I will attack [tomorrow], and I want to catch up."

Jenna McCorkell of Great Britain, whose husband Kevin van der Perren won the bronze medal in the men's competition here, had 50.00 points to place fourth.

Skating to "Harem" by Sarah Brightman, she put her hand down on the opening triple Lutz but then landed a triple flip-double toe combination and a double Axel.

"It's as good as I could hope for," she said. "I had an odd and stressed warm-up."

Russia's Katarina Gerboldt scored a personal-best 48.62 to place fifth.

Skating to the motion picture soundtrack Seven Years in Tibet, she opened with a double Axel and a triple Lutz then landed a triple flip-double toe loop combination.

"I was a little nervous, as this is my first time here," Gerboldt said, "but nobody set me any goals, placement-wise, and I just should do what I can do, and I did so far."

A surprise in sixth place was Slovakia's Ivana Reitmayerova, who scored a personal-best 48.00 points after completing a triple Salchow, a double Axel and a triple toe-double toe combination. She skated to "Love is War."

Current Finnish champion Kiira Korpi, who won the bronze medal at Europeans in 2007, scored 47.60 points to place seventh. Skating to "Triunfal" by Astor Piazzzola, she put both hands down on the opening jump in her triple Lutz-double toe loop combination and left out the second jump. She landed a double Axel, but her triple loop was downgraded.

"Pity about the Lutz," she said. "My weight was forward on landing. Tomorrow, I want to show the judges I can do clean triple jumps."