Ice Skating: Cousins' quest

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The Independent Online
STEVEN COUSINS and Charlene von Saher begin defending their national titles at Basingstoke today, grateful the Torvill and Dean spectacular is not also required to be at the rink, writes Michael Coleman.

Britain is unique in keeping its figure skaters and ice dancers apart, even to the point of separate memberships. The dance title will be decided, or better, awarded, to Torvill and Dean at the Sheffield Arena in January well after Britain's team has been named for the Winter Olympics.

Cousins and von Saher could profit from this segregation as they, too, require an audience. The 21-year-old Welshman, third in the recent Skate Canada contest, should find the way to his fifth title unobstructed with John Martin (Kyle) and Clive Shorten (Alexandra Palace) contesting second place and European Championship selection.