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Plushenko Captures Short at 2010 Europeans

Reigning Olympic champion Evgeni Plushenko skated into a solid first place — earning a new personal best score along the way — at the 2010 ISU European Figure Skating Championships in Tallinn, Estonia. Brian Joubert and Yannick Ponsero from France placed second and third, respectively.

Plushenko’s program to “Concierto de Aranjuez“ earned 91.30 points, a slight increase over his 90.66 score, which he earned at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. “I think it was the best performance of the season. I did the quad-triple, and that was really important,” the reigning Russian men’s champion said. “For some reason the quad wasn’t so consistent in practice here. I had a few inner doubts. The jumps are, after all, the most important thing in men’s skating, in my opinion. But, I told myself to just to go out and do it. I pushed myself. Today I beat my personal best score, but I won’t be euphoric. Tomorrow is another day, an important day.”

Joubert, the last of the 37 competitors to skate, put down a dynamic performance to “Rise” by Safri Duo, earning 88.55 points, a new personal best. “It wasn’t easy for me to skate last, especially after the kind of program that Evgeni Plushenko did,” the defending European Champion admitted. “I felt the pressure and I was nervous. I’m a little disappointed because I did a quad-double toe loop combination instead of a quad-triple. This morning in practice I didn’t feel very good, but I felt good during the six minute warm-up and the quad went really well. My program today reflects my training. I’ve worked on the footwork and the spins, and it paid off.”

Ponsero’s elegant Spanish-themed program “La Corrida” program also earned a personal best score of 82.40 points. “I did a good job today. Now I have to stay focused for tomorrow. I plan to do one quad and a clean program,” he said.

Michal Březina from the Czech Repuplic placed fourth with 79.60 points ahead of 2006 Olympic silver medalist Stéphane Lambiel (77.75).

The men’s free skate takes place on Thursday.