Ice Skating: Europe's best face tough time

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The Independent Online
The Americans' double gold medal threat of Michelle Kwan and Tara Lipinski will have little to fear from the Europeans at next month's Nagano Olympics, judging by Maria Butyrskaya's victory for Russia in the women's event in Milan.

Butyrskaya capped a fine week for her country at the European Championships by completing Russia's second successive sweep of the titles and the team also won all four silver medals.

At 25 years, six months and 20 days, she became the oldest women's champion in living memory. She was by far the best on the day, winning despite being fifth before the final, the victory was narrow.

Butyrskaya conceded Kwan was the favourite in Nagano but she thinks Lipinski is beatable. "She has made mistakes and lost competitions this season. Things can happen at the Olympics," she said.