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Kostner glides to effortless win in England

Italian wins her fourth European crown; Korpi takes silver

Carolina Kostner finished head and shoulders above the competition in Sheffield.
Carolina Kostner finished head and shoulders above the competition in Sheffield. (Getty Images)

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By Klaus-Reinhold Kany, special to icenetwork.com
(01/28/2012) - Carolina Kostner of Italy won the ladies title at the European Figure Skating Championships for the fourth time in convincing fashion.

The elegant Italian, who lives and trains in Obertsdorf, Germany, was almost 17 points ahead of the field, even with no triple Lutz in her repertoire. Her five other triples worked well, as did two double Axels. Although she did not complete a triple-triple -- her second combination turned out to be a triple toe-double toe -- her focus was on skating a clean program.

The main reason Kostner won so handily is her mature but dynamic style and her excellent interpretation of Mozart's music. Her free skate neither looked nor sounded old-fashioned because it contrasted well with her sparkling silver bodysuit. Her component marks ranged up to 8.75, and the 8,000 spectators in Sheffield gave her a standing ovation.

"I am very pleased with the whole week here," Kostner said. "I had an awesome feeling on the ice, and just hearing the crowd cheer me on was amazing.

"I'm not perfectly content with all I did in this program -- I think I could have done much better -- but I felt my legs tell me, 'Get it over with, the week was long, I don't want to do anymore!' But my head didn't let my legs do what they wanted, and I fought until the end."

Finland's Kiira Korpi elegant style and graceful movements helped her win the silver medal with 166.94 points. Technically, she earned 10 points less than Kostner because she touched down on her triple Salchow and reduced her triple flip to a double. In addition, her second triple loop did not count because she had already repeated two triples, toe loop and Salchow, and skaters are only allowed to repeat two triple jumps.

"The beginning of the program was not so good, but then I fought back and the rest of the program was better, and I am satisfied with the result," Korpi said. "I didn't know about the rule, which is why I was confused as to why the last triple didn't count. It was a stupid mistake which I must learn from.

"I had a difficult beginning of the season because of several injuries. Therefore, I am very happy about my best result ever at Europeans. At the moment, I feel healthy and I am also happy about that."

Elene Gedevanishvili of Georgia, who trains with Brian Orser in Toronto, won her second bronze medal at Europeans. Four of her triples were clean and gained plus marks from the judges, but her first triple Lutz was under-rotated.

"I think my performance was pretty good," Gedevanishvili said. "I had, of course, a few mistakes. I missed some spins and my second Lutz, but overall I think my program was good."

Polina Korobeynikova of Russia, the 15-year-old who was third at the Junior Grand Prix Final in December, skated the second-best free skate, with seven triple jumps, and climbed to fourth place after placing 12th in the short.

Viktoria Helgesson, the older of the two Swedish skating sisters, was fifth after four clean and two under-rotated triple jumps. The two other Russian skaters, Ksenia Makarova and Alena Leonova, ended up sixth and seventh, respectively.