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Kostner Claims Sixth Title at Italian Nationals

The Italian national championships took place one week after the Grand Prix Final in a rink in the southern part of Milan, which had served as the practice rink for the European championships in 1998.

Carolina Kostner from Oberstdorf, Germany won her sixth title in excellent style. She was even better than in the Grand Prix Final in China. Kostner earned program components up to a 9 and showed a flawless short program with a combination of two triple toe loops and a triple loop. Five triples were the highlight of her free program, but still no Lutz or flip.

Valentina Marchei was second with two triple Lutz’ and also a flip, but she skated in a less classy manner. The bronze medal winner Amelia Schwienbacher from Merano is a good jumper but received low program components.

Samuel Contesti is the men’s champion. He skated a flawless short program, but the second part of his free program had a few mistakes and he showed a third double Axel which is no longer allowed.

Paolo Bacchini was silver medalist, but he does not have a triple Axel. Third was Fabio Mascarello from Milan, and fourth in spite of a broken hand, Paul Bonifacio Parkinson who competed for Canada last year.

The ice dance competition had a lower level than usual because Italy’s two best teams were missing. “We have to pause because of Federica’s (Faiella’s) back problems,” Massimo Scali had told Italian federation. “But we will certainly compete again at Europeans.”

Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte changed coaches in October, leaving Lyon and returning to Italy where they worked on a new free dance to “Umbrellas of Cherbourg.” They did not compete because of a knee injury to Lanotte that also will prevent them from participating at the European Championships in Switzerland.

New champions are Paola Mezzadri’s couple, Federica Testa and Christopher Mior, who have deep edges and a good speed. The team had lived in North America for a long time.

Second were Charlène Guignard (former French ice dancer) and Marco Fabbri from the Agora Club. They were, however, not nominated for Europeans, but only for the University Games in Turkey.

Instead, their rivals Lorenza Alessandrini and Simone Vaturi got the ticket for Bern. Alessandrini and Vaturi sustained injuries at a Grand Prix event and had only been back on the ice for a short short time.

They are members of the federation president’s Forum Club. She decided to send them because she said they had better prospects and more World ranking points.

The only pair were Stefania Berton and Ondrei Hotarek who showed dynamic programs but had some problems with the throws. Their rivals Nicole Della Monica and Yannick Kocon did not compete because Della Monica is suffering from a complicated knee injury that has finished her career. Therefore the junior pair Carolina Gillespie and Luca Dematte were nominated for Europeans.

For the Gala exhibition, the organizers had invited the best Italian skaters and also Evgeni Plushenko from Russia and the Chinese Olympic gold medallists Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao.

For this exhibition the organizers and TV production crews tested the lights and sound system throughout the competition. This was very disturbing for the skaters because the time schedule was changed several times.