Men's Compulsories Were Picture Perfect

by Steve Woodard

USA Today

Calgary - Wednesday's competition in men's Olympic compulsary figure skating evoked a variety of reactions:

Brian Boitano's coach Linda Leaver, took a photo.

"This is the first time I've ever wanted a picture of a figure," said Leaver. But Boitano's nearly perfect third required compulsory, which left him in second place behind Alexindr Fadeev of the Soviet Union, "was exactly one line in four different places," she said. "It was so good, Brian made a rut in the ice.

Canada's Brian Orser, who finished third overall, took a deep breath.

"I'm somewhat relieved that the figures are over," he said. "There's such tremendous pressure and so much concentration involved with compulsories that when it's over, it's a big relief"

Fadeev, who placed first in all three figures, took a pass.

Asked if he expects to win tonight's short program competition, Fadeev said, "I don't know. I'll try."

The order of finish after Wednesday's eight-hour session duplicated compulsory results at last years World Charnpionships. At that competition, Orser finished first in the short and long programs and won the title. Boitano, was second in all three phases. Fadeev was third in the last two.

Compulsories account for 30 percent in scoring while tonight's two-minute short programs at the Stampede Corral will be worth 20 percent. Saturday's long program finale is worth 50 percent.

Boitano said he ranks his Wednesday compulsories "in the top five of the best figures I've ever skated in my life." His placements for the three figures: second, fourth, second.

Even though Boitano says his recent practices "have never been better," he doesn't see any connection between each phase of skating "I don't believe in omens," said Boitano, who finished eighth in compulsories at the 1984 Winter Games.

Several hours after compulsories, Boitano was scheduled to practice at the Stampede Corral for the first time prior to the short program. "That kind of scares me, since I haven't even been on the ice over there," he said.

Meanwhile, Orser's fears appear to be dissolved. He remembers being seventh after compulsories at the '84 Games, where he won the silver.

"It's a lot of weight off my shoulders," Orser said. "In the past, the figures have been my downfall, and I'm capable of failing apart in them. I didn't, and I'm thrilled."