Figure Skating: Russian replacements take the honours

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The Independent Online
With the top Russian men out injured, their replacements shone at the European Figure Skating Championships in Milan yesterday, as Alexei Yagudin led a sweep of the first three places in the men's short programme.

Skating last, Yagudin earned mostly 5.8s and 5.9s out of six for a technically superb but relatively staid performance to Russian gypsy music. Alexander Abt was second, followed by Yevgeny Plushenko. Philippe Candeloro, the 1994 Olympic bronze medallist, was a disappointment, coming ninth.

The 21-year-old Abt 's career has been fraught with physical problems, including a broken leg and knee surgery. But he skated like a veteran yesterday, hitting all four of his jumps cleanly and closing with a dramatic slide along the side of the rink on one knee.