1997 European Championships

Prepared from notes provided by Klaus-Reinhold Kany, and from ISU press releases.


History was made on the final day of the 1997 European Figure Skating Championships (Saturday) at the Palais Omnisport in Paris, France as Irina Slutskaya completed a clean sweep for Russia by winning the gold medal in the Ladies' competition.

To date, no nation had ever won the gold medal in all four disciplines at the European Championships. Seventeen year old Slutskaya, the defending champion and world bronze medalist, skated last and won eight first places from the judges. Her program included six triples and although her landings were not all perfect, it was more than enough to take the gold and complete the set for Russia.

Krisztina Czako placed fourth in the free skating but held on to her overnight second place to become the first Hungarian skater for 26 years to win a medal in the European ladies event. It was the 18 year old's first international medal success. The bronze medal went to 19 year old Yulia Lavrenchuk (UKR) who placed third in the free to move up from her fifth position in the short. For Lavrenchuk too, it was the first time on the podium at an ISU Championships.

Russian national champion Maria Butyrskaya placed second in the free skating but her ninth place in the short program had left her too far adrift to make the podium and she finished fourth overall. Surya Bonaly (FRA), recovering from a major Achilles injury, has not recaptured the form that won her five European titles and could only finish tenth in the free, dropping to ninth place overall. Teammate Vanessa Gusmeroli, third overnight, also had a disappointing afternoon, placing ninth in the free to fall to sixth place overall.

Friday 24 January 1997


It was a third gold medal for Russia at the 1997 European Figure Skating Championships today (Friday) as Oksana Grishuk & Evgeny Platov (RUS) swept to victory in the ice dance competition.

The world and Olympic champions scored six more perfect marks of 6.0 for the presentation of their exotic Arabian free dance, winning a standing ovation from the crowd. Added to the six perfect scores they received yesterday for theri original dance, their career total of 6.0s now stands at 16. Their total of 12 perfect scores at one European Championships is second only to Jayne Torvill & Christopher Dean (GRB) who scored a total of 17 at the 1984 European Championships and 14 at the 1982 European Championships.

The silver medal went to fellow Russians Anjelika & Oleg Ovsionnikov, the world silver medalists, whose free dance earned one forst place from the Austrian judge. Sophie Moniotte & Pascal Lavanchy (FRA) delighted the home crowd by winning the bronze medal; the second medal of the Championshiups for France. Moniotte & Lavanchy earned a 7-2 majority verdict from the judges over teammates Marina Anissina & Gwendal Peizerat.

In the ladies' competition, reigning champion Irina Slutskaya (RUS) placed first in the short program. She landed a triple Lutz - double toe loop combination and a triple loop in an error-free program to take the lead. After many pre-competition favorites crashed to the ice, the surprise second was Krisztina Czako (HUN), who produced a clean triple toe loop - triple toe loop combination and a triple Lutz. Vanessa Gusmeroli (FRA) placed third, with the same jumps as Slutskaya.

1996 bronze medalist Maria Butyrskaya (RUS) and 1994 bronze medalist Olga Marrkova (RUS) both failed on required elements to place ninth and tenth respectively. Five-time European Champion Surya Bonaly (FRA), on the comeback from a major achilles injury, started well but faded at the end of the program and was placed sixth.

The Championships conclude tomorrow (Saturday) with the ladies' free skating.

Wednesday, 22 January 1997


The first medals were awarded at the 1997 European Figure Skating Championships today (Wednesday) with the conclusion of the pairs competition.

World champions Marina Eltsova & Andrei Bushkov (RUS) won the European title for a second time, beating world silver medallists and 1995 European champions Mandy Woetzel & Ingo Steuer (GER). Both pairs skated near flawless programs but the Russians retained their overnight lead with an 8-1 majority verdict from the judges. Eltsova & Bushkov last won the European title in 1993.

The bronze medals went to a second Russian pair, the young Elena Berezhnaya & Anton Sikharulidze, competing in their first senior Championships together. They moved up from fourth to overhaul the French champions and crowd favourites Sarah Abitol & Stephane Bernadis.

In the men's competition, world silver medallist Ilia Kulik (RUS) took the lead after the short program ahead of defending champion Viacheslav Zagorodniuk (UKR). The surprise third placed skater was Andrej Vlachtchenko (GER), who formerly skated for Latvia, with Philippe Candeloro (FRA) also skating well to finish fourth.

All the top skaters attempted a triple axel/triple toe loop combination jump. The judges split 5-4 in favour of Kulik, who received one mark of 5.9. Zagorodniuk received three 5.9s.

Olympic champion Alexei Urmanov (RUS) had problems with the landings of both his combination jump and his triple lutz, relegating him to sixth place, just behind training partner Alexei Yagudin who also failed to land a clean triple lutz.

The Championships continue tomorrow (Thursday) with the original dance and the men's free skating.

Tuesday, 21 January 1997


The 1997 European Figure Skating Championships opened officially today (Tuesday) with the compulsory dances in the ice dance competition and the pairs short program.

Olympic, World and European ice dance champions Oksana Grishuk & Evgeny Platov (RUS) immediately moved into the lead in their first major competition of the season. The duo missed the entire first half of the season after Platov suffered a recurrence of a long-standing knee injury. The couple recently left Natalia Linichuk, their coach for many years, and now train with Tatiana Terasova, who also now coaches world silver medalist Ilia Kulik (RUS).

The two panels of judges placed Grishuk and Platov unanimously first in both the Golden Waltz and the Yankee Polka and their marks included three 5.9s. Anjelika Krylova & Oleg Ovsiannikov (RUS), who have dominated international ice dance in the absence of Grishuk & Platov, were unanimously placed second in both dances. French national champions Marina Anissina & Gwendal Peizerat placed third ahead of teammates Sophie Moniotte & Pascal Lavanchy.

In the pairs competition, world champions Marina Eltsova & hndrei Bushkov (RUS) skated a clean short program which included side by side triple toe loops to take the lead. Six of the nine judges placed them first. Mandy Woetzel & Ingo Steuer (GER) also completed all the required elements to finish second ahead of French champions Sarah Abitol & Stephane Bernadis.

The Championships continue tomorrow (Wednesday) with the men's short program and the pairs free skating.


Skater SP FS Final
Irina Slutskaya, (RUS) 1 1 1
Krisztina Czako, (HUN) 2 4 2
Yulia Lavrenchuk, (UKR) 5 3 3
Maria Butyrskaya, (RUS) 9 2 4
Elena Liashenko, (UKR) 7 7 5
Vanessa Gusmeroli, (FRA) 3 9 6
Eva-Maria Fitze, (GER) 12 6 7
Olga Markova, (RUS) 10 8 8
Surya Bonaly, (FRA) 6 10 9
Zuzanna Swed, (POL) 18 5 10
Lenka Kulovana, (CZE) 4 12 11
Laetitia Hubert, (FRA) 11 11 12
Anna Rechnio, (POL) 8 14 13
Yulia Vorobieva, (AZE) 17 13 14
Anina Fivian, (SWI) 15 15 15
Julia Lautova, (AUT) 14 16 16
Veronika Dytrt, (GER) 13 17 17
Alisa Drei, (FIN) 16 19 18
Mojca Kopac, (SLO) 21 18 19
Diana Poth, (HUN) 20 20 20
Marta Andrade, (SPN) 19 22 21
Tony-Sabrina Bombardieri, (ITA) 22 21 22
Anna Dimova, (BUL) 24 23 23
Zuzana Paurova, (SVK) 23 24 24
Sanna-Maija Wiksten, (FIN) 25   25
Klara Bramfeldt, (SWE) 26   26
Ivana Jakupcevic, (CRO) 27   27
Jekaterina Golovatenko, (EST) 28   28
Jenna Arrowsmith, (GBR) 29   29
Kaja Hanbevold, (NOR) 30   30


Long Program

Slutskaya attempted six triples, landing the Salchow (twice), flip, loop, and triple toe. She stepped out of tiple Lutz, and her combination was a simple triple toe - double toe. Czako managed three triples - the Salchow, loop, and toe loop - and touched down on triple flip. Lavrenchuk managed triple Salchow, loop, flip, and Lutz, but fell on triple toe. Butyrskaya gave strong performance in the free, landing triple toe, Salchow, loop and flip, and a triple toe - double toe combination, but was buried too deeply in the short to win a medal. Liashenko attempted five triple, landing the Lutz and toe loop, and a triple Sachow - double toe combination. She two-footed triple flip, and touched down on a solo triple Saclhow. Following her third place finish in the short, Gusmeroli had a tough skate in the long falling on triple Lutz, triple toe, and a second triple toe that was intended to be in combination. She landed triple loop - double loop, triple flip, and triple Sachow. Bonaly continues her struggle to come back from her Achilled tendon injury that has seriously affected her jumps. She fell on the second jump in a double loop - triple toe combination, two-footed triple toe, and stepped out of triple flip. She succeeded with triple loop, a solo triple toe, and a triple Salchow - double toe combination.

Short Program

Todays competition sharply illustrated the importance of skating clean in the short program, with several of the higher ranked skaters having problems with their jumps, allowing some unexpected competitors to take hold of the top five spots. Of the top ranked ladies, only Irina Slutskaya managed a clean program. Slutskaya landed triple Lutz - double toe and triple loop to take first in the short. Czako took second with triple toe - triple toe and a triple Lutz, while Gusmeroli ended up in third using triple Lutz - double toe and triple loop. The Czech champion, Kulovana landed triple toe - triple toe and triple Salchow. while Lavrenchuk took fifth with triple Lutz - double toe and double flip. A struggling Surya Bonaly landed triple toe - triple toe, but popped triple Salchow to a double, landing on two feet. Maria Butyrskaya, who won the Group A Qualifying round, ahead of Slutskaya, buried herself in ninth place in the short.


Skater SP FS Final
Alexei Urmanov, (RUS) 6 1 1
Philippe Candeloro, (FRA) 4 2 2
Viacheslav Zagorodniuk, (UKR) 2 3 3
Ilia Kulik, (RUS) 1 5 4
Alexei Yagudin, (RUS) 5 4 5
Andrej Vlachtchenko, (GER) 3 6 6
Igor Pashkevitch, (AZE) 9 7 7
Dmitry Dmitenko, (UKR) 8 8 8
Ivan Dinev, (BUL) 11 10 9
Michael Tyllesen, (DEN) 14 9 10
Steven Cousins, (GBR) 10 11 11
Evgeny Pliuta, (UKR) 7 13 12
Markus Leminen, (FIN) 15 12 13
Michael Shmerkin, (ISR) 12 15 14
Neil Wilson, (GBR) 16 14 15
Cornel Gheorghe, (ROM) 13 17 16
Patrick Meier, (SWI) 18 16 7
Gilberto Viadana, (ITA) 17 18 18
Thierry Cerez, (FRA) 19 20 19
Vakhtang Murvanidze, (GEO) 24 19 20
Patrick Schmit, (LUX) 20 21 21
Roman Martonenko, (EST) 23 22 22
Jordi Pedro, (SPN) 21 23 23
Robert Kazimir, (SVK) 22 24 24
Jan Cejvan, (SLO) 25   25
Robert Grzegorczyk, (POL) 26   26
Marius Negrea, (ROM) 27   27
Alexander Mourashko, (BLR) 28   28
Florian Tuma, (AUT)      
Szabolcs Vidrai, (HUN)      


Long Program:

Urmanov came back from his troubled performance in the short to win the long, and with a little help from Candeloro, who placed second in the long, pulled ahead of Kulik to win the event. Urmanov landed all the triples in his program, and attempted quad toe, but fell. Overcoming a generally weak season thusfar, Candeloro skated well, landing six triples in his long program to pull up to second in the long program and second overall. Zagorodniuk's program included attempts at five triples, but included three errors, dropping him to a third place finish. Kulik also attempted five triples, and a quad toe. He two-footed the latter and had three other errors in his program which not only knocked him out of first place, dropped him out of the medals entirely. Yagudin, who placed fifth overall, also attempted a quad toe in his program, but fell. Nevertheless, he also landed the six triples in his program.

Short Program:

Both Kulik and Zagorodniuk were outstanding, skaing clean programs with good speed, and both landed triple Axel - triple toe for their combination. Kulik took first on a 5-4 split. Vlatchchenko, Candeloro, and Yagudin skated well, also landing triple Axel - triple toe, but with Candelor touching down on his triple Lutz. Urmanov stepped out of triple toe on his triple Axel - triple toe, and also had a shakey landing on his triple Lutz. The top 24 advance to the free skating program. Tuma and Vidrai did not skate due to illness.


Skater SP FS Final
Eltosova/Bushkov, (RUS) 1 1 1
Woetzel/Steuer, (GER) 2 2 2
Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze, (RUS) 4 3 3
Abitbol/Bernadis, (FRA) 3 4 4
Shishkova/Naumov, (RUS) 5 5 5
Schwarz/Mueller, (GER) 8 6 6
Zagorska/Siudek, (POL) 6 7 7
Belousovskaya/Morozov, (UKR) 10 8 8
Rogers/Aldred, (GBR) 9 9 9
Asanakis/McKeever, (GRE) 11 10 10
Filonenko/Marchenko, (UKR) 7 12 11
Lefrancois/Osseland, (FRA) 12 11 12
Rodionova/Anishenko, (AZE) 13 13 13
Plachonina/Kaplun, (BLR) 14 14 14
Nekrassova/Mintals, (EST) 16 15 15
Krasiltseva/Chestnikh, (ARM) 15 16 16
Bestandigova/Bestandig, (SVK) 17 17 17


Long Program

Eltsova Bushkov gave an outstanding performance, with the only error Eltsova stepping out of triple toe. They completed side by side double Axels, and trow triple Salchow and throw triple toe loop. They received marks of 5.8's and 5.9's. Woetzel and Steuer skated with excellent style and harmony, but Woetzel singled a double Axel, and two footed throw double Axel and throw triple toe loop. They completed side by side triple toe's and a fine triple twist. They were marked roughly one tenth below the first place team in each mark.

Bereznaia and Shikharulidze skated very well with good style overtaking the French team. They completed triple toe's, and a huge double twist. They also landed double Axels and completed throw triple loop, but Bereznaia fel lon throw triple Salchow. Abitbol and Bernadis skated well with side by side triple toe's and double Axels. Their triple twist and throw double Axel were very good, but Abitbol nearly fell on throw triple loop and their style was mediocre.

Short Program

The top four teams all skated clean short programs, with two briliiant performances from Eltsova/Bushkov and Woetzel Seuer. Shishkova/Naumov had one major error, with Shishkova falling on triple toe.

Ice Dancing

Skater CD1 CD2 OD FD Final
Grishuk/Platov, (RUS) 1 1 1 1 1
Krylova/Ovsiannikov, (RUS) 2 2 2 2 2
Moniotte/Lavanchy, (FRA) 4 4 3 3 3
Anissina/Peizerat, (FRA) 3 3 4 4 4
Lobacheva/Averbukh, (RUS) 5 5 5 5 5
Romanova/Yaroshenko, (UKR) 6 6 6 6 6
Fusar Poli/Margaglio, (ITA) 7 7 8 7 7
Drobiazko/Vanagas, (LIT) 8 9 7 8 8
Nowak/Kolasinski, (POL) 10 10 9 9 9
Mrazova/Simecek, (CZE) 9 8 10 10 10
Gerencser/Camerlengo, (ITA) 12 11 11 11 11
Navka/Morozov, (BLR) 11 12 12 12 12
Grushina/Goncharov, (UKR) 14 13 13 13 13
Chait/Sakhnovski, (ISR) 16 16 14 14 14
Humphreys/Askew, (GBR) 13 14 15 15 15
Filipowicz/Szumski, (POL) 15 15 16 16 16
Denkova/Stavisky, (BUL) 17 18 17 17 17
Gudina/Kurkudym, (UKR) 19 23 18 18 18
Rauer/Rauer, (GER) 23 19 19 19 19
Vondrkova/Kral, (CZE) 18 17 22 20 20
Fuehrling/Ellinger, (AUT) 21 22 20 21 21
Dahlen/Razgulajevs, (LAT) 20 20 21 23 22
Moehler/Osthoff, (GER) 22 21 23 22 23
Szijgyarto/Toth, (HUN) 24 24 25 24 24
Koinuma/Arakelyan, (ARM) 26 27 24   25
Uotila/Mattila, (FIN) 25 26 26   26
Mossenkova/Kurakin, (EST) 27 25 27   27
Poliackova/Mesaros, (SVK) 29 28 28   28
Chakmakjian/Lapaige, (BEL) 28 29 29   29

Qualifying Rounds

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