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Kostner Claims Second Consecutive European Title

Carolina Kostner of Italy captured her second consecutive European title by the slimmest of margins over Switzerland’s Sarah Meier on Saturday evening. Finland’s Laura Lepistö skated to bronze in her European debut.

Kostner, the first skater in the final flight, nailed a beautiful triple flip-triple toe-double loop combination in the first seconds of her program but doubled her next jump, the Lutz. She singled a toe loop in combination with her second double Axel and the final combination spin was wobbly. She earned 111.97 points for the free skate, ranked only second best of the evening, and earned 171.28 points overall, enough to claim the gold.

“I am very, very happy with my gold medal. It has been a tough week,” the 20-year-old said. “It was a new situation for me. It wasn’t easy last year, but I always want to go forward, not backward, and so I wanted to win again. It has been a hard week to stay concentrated. My performance was not the best, but I feel confident (for Worlds). I think I can keep up with the best of the world.”

Meier, the second last skater in the final flight who stood in fourth place after the short program rallied back in the free. Performing to “La Folie in Black” and “Red Autumn,” by Tokuhide Niimi, the Swiss champion skated her best performance of the season. She won the free skate with a season high score of 113.00 points and moved up to second place with 169.44 points overall.

“I am very happy that I won the silver medal. Last year I was a little disappointed (with silver). This year, I realized that it is harder to win a second medal,” the 23 year old said. “Everybody was stronger than last year, and it’s hard to win any medal. I knew that everyone had skated really well. I gave a 100 percent in my program, and I just made an error on the triple flip. I’m especially proud of my two triple Salchows after missing it in the short program. I was very nervous.”

Lepistö, 19, skating to “Don Juan DeMarco” scored 108.69 points for the free skate, setting a new personal best for herself and took the bronze with 165.65 points.

“This is my first time at the European Championships. I knew that with good performances I had a chance to be on the podium, but I didn't expect it. I'm very speechless now,” Lepistö said. “I saw that Julia (Sebestyen) skated very well and I already thought I would be fourth. I crossed my fingers. I'm happy that it went this way and I was the one who was lucky.”

Sebestyen finished fourth with 162.89 points. Kiira Korpi of Finland did not have a good free skate and dropped from second to fifth with 162.22 points. Valentina Marchei from Italy was sixth with 153.34 points.