Winter Olympics: Golden edge for Kulik

THE Olympic medals for men's figure skating were being presented in the centre of the White Ring arena - gold for Russia's Ilia Kulik, silver for Canada's Elvis Stojko and bronze for France's swashbuckling Philippe Candeloro.

Britain's Steven Cousins, sixth going into last night's free- skating programme and sixth going out of it, looked down wistfully from the stands. "It's alright," he said. "But no one remembers sixth."

After errors by the two skaters above him - Todd Eldredge of the United States and the apparently flu-ridden Alexei Yagudin of Russia - a glimmer of a medal chance appeared before the Welshman who now lives and trains in Canada. But, not for the first time in a career which has spanned three Olympics, his prospects were diminished by a fall. On this occasion, it was the triple axel which formed the second jump in his programme.

"I had gone into the arena ready to do a quad, but that plan changed when I fell on my bum," he said. "When things like that happen you cut your losses and make sure the rest of your programme is clear."

That was something Cousins nearly managed to do, although a decision to opt for a double rather than the scheduled triple toe loop was something that galled him afterwards. "That was even worse than falling," he said. "If I had finished sixth and skated well, I would be the first to turn cartwheels. But I didn't skate up to my expectations. And just to rub salt into the wounds, the door was open for a medal."

The fair-haired Kulik was one of only two in the field to manage a quad jump - the other being Zhengxin Guo of China. But his assurance and grace on the ice won him the prize.

Stojko, who has been criticised - and perhaps marked down - in the past for the relentlessly macho character of his routine, performed eight triple jumps without falling, but gave a performance that was laboured by his own standards. His grimace of pain at the end gave a clue.

Cousins, who trains with Stojko, offered an explanation. "Elvis has been injured for three weeks with a groin strain, but he has kept it quiet," he said. "Elvis won his battle out there. He skated brilliantly. He epitomises the term Olympic champion."

Stojko, who it was later revealed had injured himself at last month's Canadian championships, was taken straight to hospital in obvious pain after the medal ceremony.

Kulik's performance may have made the greatest impact on the judges, but Candeloro wowed the audience. They bombarded him with flowers after a performance in the character and dress of the Fourth Musketeer, D'Artagnan. The Frenchman appeared to be daring the judges - towards whom he addressed two ironic bows and sword strokes - to mark him down. In terms of presentation, at least, they were unable to resist.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'