Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan on March 18, 1997 · Page 7
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Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan · Page 7

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Tuesday, March 18, 1997
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3 TuSDAY, MARCH 18, 1997DETROIT FREE PRESS 5C KZ I For a change, ice dancers get enthusiastic crowds Despite one poor score, Lipinski's stock jumps 1 if Defending ladies champion Michelle Kwan performs during qualifying Monday at die World Figure Skating in Switzerland. Kwan doubled out on two triple jumps and cut one to a single. 'At LIONEL CIRONNEAUAssociated Press bined placement for the U.S. to qualify three men for the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. Under the International Skating Union's new points system for determining the number of Olympic entries, countries are judged on their overall performance in each category. To get three men to Nagano, the U.S. can have no more than 21 points. Hollander's finish gave the U.S. 16, because he was out of the top 15. That means Eldredge and Weiss must finish no worse than 1-4 or 2-3. SZWED SWEET: Advancing in the women's event was Poland's Zuzanna Szwed, who trains at the Detroit Skating Club with coach Craig Maur-izi. Szwed finished fifth in the qualifying group won by Michelle Kwan. Not performing well was 1995 world champion Chen Lu of China, who placed 11th in her group. She fell on her triple lutz and singled her loop Figure Skating, from Page 1C Bobek's split with coach Richard Cal-laghan made room for Lipinski's move to Detroit in December 1995. Monday's performance left many believing that the Americans could sweep the ladies' event for the first time since 1991, when Kristi Yamagu-chi, Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan captured the gold, silver and bronze medals. But the order is up for grabs. Lipinski, skating to the soundtracks from "Sense and Sensibility" and "Much Ado About Nothing," received one 5.6 and the rest 5.7s and 5.8s for technical merit along with three 5.8s, three 5.7s and that one 5.4 for presentation. The crowd, which gave Lipinski a standing ovation, booed the judge when the 5.4 was posted. Lipinski, who finished 15th in last year's worlds, just shrugged. "Oh, well," she said. Afterward, Callaghan said: That's just the opinion of the judge from that country. The six others were very complimentary. The majority liked her performance." Asked what could have been better about it, Callaghan thought for a moment and said: "I want the spins a little faster. But this was great" Kwan earned marks ranging from 5.4 to 5.7 for technical merit and 5.6 to 5.8 for presentation. The Hungarian judge gave her the lowest scores 5.4 and 5.6. Kwan, fighting a growing body and nervousness, did five triple jumps, including the nicest opening combination of her triple lutz-double toe that she has done in months. But overall, Kwan wasn't impressive she did a double jump on her two other planned triples and goofed up her last jump, doing a single axel instead of a double. Although she skated better than she did at nationals, Kwan probably would have finished second to lipinski had they gone head-to-head 1- i ... BYJO-ANN BARNAS Free Press Sports Writer LAUSANNE, Switzerland - They stomped their feet and chanted and called out the skaters' names. Inside the practice rink, the bleachers were nearly full, but there was no Todd nor Tara nor Michelle in sight The reception was for the ice-dancing teams making their way to the ice at the Sports Centre of Malley. And this was only practice. In Europe, ice dancers are the kings and queens of figure skating. Defending world champions Oksana Grischuk and Evgeny Platov are beloved in their Russian homeland. "It is different in Europe," said Igor Shpilband of the Detroit Skating Club. "Everything starts with ice dancing." Maybe not quite, but ice dancing is considered an equal with singles skating in most European countries. And the crowds prove it It is a different story in the U.S. During compulsories at nationals last month in Nashville, Tenn., Elizabeth Punsalan and Jerod Swallow of Ponti-ac performed in front of no more than a few hundred people. When they step onto the ice at their fifth world championships today, the 6,000-seat arena will be nearly packed. Punsalan and Swallow, four-time U.S. champions, are aiming to improve from their seventh-place finish at worlds last year. Elizabeth Chalom and Mathew Gates, who also train under Shpilband and Elizabeth Coates at the Detroit Skating Club, are making their first appearance at worlds. The original dance is Thursday, and the free skate is Friday. The pairs' short program also starts today. WHAT NEXT? It will be interesting to see how American Tara Lipinski fares with the judges especially those from countries that reportedly fought to keep her out of her second world championships. Pistons ride roller coaster to 85:82 loss Pistons, from Page 1C fiv$ threes in the quarter and 15 of his 16 points, Detroit outscored the Cavaliers, 34-15, to take a 60-56 lead entering the fourth quarter. r."Doug tried to get me going by calling some plays for me," said Hunter, suffering from a head cold. "I was sluggish out there. I felt terrible. "But in the third quarter, I hit some shots and got into a rhythm . . . ft doesn't mean anything when you lose." I The Pistons scored the first six points to start the fourth quarter for a 66-56 lead, then ran out of gas with the game on the line. They got only 12 points from the bench. Tyrone Hill was the muscle in the middle of the Cavaliers' run. He scored eight points during a 15-5 run that tied the game at 71 with 5:36 left Hill was unstoppable on the inside with 26 points on ll-for-13 shooting from the field to go with 10 rebounds. Cleveland kept pounding the middle after catching the Pistons, getting a three-point play from Bobby Phills and two free throws from Hill in a 7-2 rally that gave the home team a 78-73 lead with 4:15 left Detroit rallied behind its own Hill, Grant and Otis Thorpe, who finished with 20 points 14 from the free-throw line. Hill pulled the Pistons even at'81 with 1:15 left with a jump shot from the baseline; Thorpe provided the lead with a free throw with 57.5 seconds left after Tyrone Hill was called for a loose-ball foul. But Cleveland's Hill made up for the miscue when he rolled in a shot from the lane with 37.8 seconds left to give the Cavaliers an 832 lead. : Michael Curry was called for hav -"V- and flip and did a single axel. Her scores ranged from 4.2 to 4.8 for technical, and 4.6 to 5.3 for presentation. At last year's worlds, she received two 6.0s for artistry in her runner-up finish to Kwan. The ladies' short program is Friday, the long program Saturday. Second-Class Treatment: Stillwell said the USFSA hasn't exactly received royal treatment in Lausanne. "We're not terribly happy with their arrangements," Stillwell told reporters. They made the coaches second-class citizens like you guys." The International Skating Union separated the U.S. coaches from their skaters, putting them in different hotels. Saturday, guards wouldn't let Stillwell into the main press area. "I told them, Tou don't let me in, our skaters won't be coming here, either,' "Stillwell said. GEORGE IM03GMI. PGA Member of Pro Golf's Teacher Hall of Fame Offers his new book, cassette & video All 3 for $75 ORDER 1-800-802-6601 PIN6 KNOB GOLP tODAtt cnu now fonvoun SUMMCft I GOLF OUTING 5580 UtaWon flood Clorhiton (610)625-0700 PR6SS 2 FQfl THC MANSION Bloomfield Hills....810-338-0803 Birmingham.... 810-644-5950 Novi 810-347-3323 Farmington Hills ..810-553-8585 Mt. 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He said skating unions from several countries fought hard to keep Lipinski out "I fought for three days to get her grandmothered in," Stillwell said of Lipinski, who turns 15 on June 10. "There were two federations who were very much against it I can tell you who was with us France, Canada and Russia." Stillwell wouldn't reveal the countries who voted against the exemption, but Sweden reportedly was the main opposition. NO ANSWER: Even the day after, Huntington Woods' Dan Hollander doesn't know what went wrong. Hollander, who finished 18th in his qualifying group Sunday and was eliminated, said he still can't figure out what caused him to mess up his long program. Reached at his hotel room Monday morning, Hollander said: "It doesn't seem any clearer. It's still kind of a shocker. I really don't know. I need some time to let down and think about what I want to do." Stillwell said he hopes Hollander's collapse doesn't put added pressure on Michael Weiss. 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