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Faiella, Scali upset Russians to win OD at Europeans

Domnina, Shabalin remain in first overall

Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali outpaced the field to capture the OD win at Europeans, they sit second overall.
Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali outpaced the field to capture the OD win at Europeans, they sit second overall. (Getty Images)

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By J. Barry Mittan, special to icenetwork.com
(01/21/2010) - Italy's Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali upset the two Russian couples who won the last two European Figure Skating Championships by winning the original dance with 61.68 points.

Performing a Tarantella to "Tamurriata Napoletana" and "Pizzicata Calabbria," the Italians, who were third in the compulsory dance, moved up to second place overall with 99.15 points.

"We chose a Tarantella for our routine because it originates from Italy and therefore is in our nature," Faiella said. "We are proud of our nationality. The music carries a story with it, so it is easier to act out."

Russia's Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin, who were in first place after the compulsory dance, scored 61.49 points, well below their personal best of 64.68 points, to place second with a strange aboriginal dance.

"Our dance is not specifically an Australian aboriginal dance," Shabalin said, responding to criticism that the dance does not reflect Australian aboriginal culture and music, which uses the didgeridoo [a wind instrument]. "It is just an aboriginal dance."

With 104.27 total points, the Russians remain in first place going into the free dance tomorrow.

"It was fun today," Domnina said. "This dance suits my soul very well. The most important thing is that people are not left indifferent by the dance. We have unusual costumes and an unusual dance."

France's Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat earned 60.08 points, a season best, and took third place in the original dance using a theme from the American West. They danced to "Thank God, I'm a Country Boy" by Roy Rivers and Dolly Parton, and "It's Not Over Now" by Dale Watson.

They moved up from fifth after the compulsory dance to fourth overall with 96.44 points, just .02 behind the third-place couple.

"It's good that we closed the gap and we are really close to the Russians," Bourzat said. "We still have a shot at third place."

Pechalat and Bourzat actually had the second highest technical mark ahead of Domnina and Shabalin, 30.00 to 28.90 points.

"We've progressed a lot since the beginning of the season, technically and artistically," Pechalat added. "We'd like to be on the podium. We feel like we deserve it, but many couples would deserve it."

Russia's Jana Khokhlova and Sergei Novitski, who were in second place after the compulsory dance, dropped to fourth place in the original dance with a score of 58.59 points, still a season best but well below their personal best of 65.99 points, after Novitski had trouble on the twizzle sequence.

"We were in the wonderful crazy mood today," Novitski said. "The audience is great and we were so carried away by it, that's probably why we made some mistakes."

They used "Vdol po Piterskoi" to skate a Russian folk dance.

"We have chosen a Russian folk dance because we are Russians and this dance is very close to us by its character," Khokhlova said. "We danced it with lots of passion."

With 96.46 total points, the skaters were in third-place overall.

British dancers Sinead Kerr and John Kerrr also opted for an American country theme, skating to "I've Been Everywhere" by Johnny Cash. They scored a season best 57.05 points, which placed them in fifth. With 93.81 total points, the couple was fifth overall.

"It was not really our best performance this season, although we received a season's best score," John Kerr said.

"I just lost concentration during the twizzle and my foot slipped out of my hand," Sinead Kerr added.

The Israeli brother-sister team of Alexandra Zaretski and Roman Zaretski skated a traditional Jewish folk dance to "Hava Nagila", scoring a season best 55.92 points to end up sixth in the original dance. Their total of 90.55 points placed them sixth overall.

"We just wanted to enjoy the performance and make people smile," Roman Zaretski said. "After being on the podium at Skate America, we've been even more motivated than usual."