Road to the Olympics

Boitano's performance deep-sixes rest in field in U.S. Championships

by Steve Woodward

USA Today

DENVER- AS observers debated out loud Thursday night, Christopher Bowman spoke up.

Brian Boitano, the standars among men's competitors in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, had just received eight scores of 6.0 following his short program.

Is it a record? Has anyone ever done it?

"Not on this planet," said Bowman, 20, of Van Nuys, California, second overall to Boitano when USA men go onto the ice tonight for the long program final.

Later, officials confirmed Boitano set a USA record with his scores for composition and style.

Bowman was the first skater in the last group Thursday. After his performance, second-best of the night, Bowman watched Boitano. "My jaw just went..." he said, opening his mouth wide.

"It was the best short program I've done in my entire life," Boitano said. "All fo my technical moves were on," including a difficult triple axel0double toe loop combination.

One judge rated Boitano's composition and style a 5.9. "I'm not going to say anything about that," Boitano said. "I was just thinking, 'Please give me some 6s.'"

Paul Wylie, 23, a harvard sophmore, is third overall going into the long program. He skated after Boitano, and said it was "a blessing...I felt inspired to be out there after that."