March 2003

2003 State Farm U.S. Championships
New and old champions alike shine in Dallas


Grace and elegance. Thrills and spills. The senior competition at the 2003 State Farm U.S. Championships had it all. Michelle Kwan won her seventh U.S. title. Michael Weiss jumped from fourth place to win the men's title after the top three men had major problems in the free skate. Tiffany Scott and Philip Dulebohn won the gold in the pairs competition for the first time despite not skating a clean free skate, while Naomi Lang and Peter Tchernyshev won their fifth straight title in the ice dancing competition.



Ladies

For a post-Olympic year, the field of ladies was strong and a bit unusual. Olympic champion Sarah Hughes returned to competition - she is the first U.S. woman to return to the U.S. Championships the year after winning an Olympic gold medal.

Michelle Kwan, the 2002 Olympic bronze medalist, also returned. When asked early in the week about being considered an underdog going into the competition, Kwan said it didn't matter because she felt prepared.

"I've been the favorite, the underdog, the little jumping bean," she said. "Any one you choose will be fine with me. I've had my ups and downs at nationals, but I feel mentally and physically prepared this time. I don't feel like I'm hanging on."

Read more about the 2003 State Farm U.S. Championships in the March issue of SKATING.

Also featured in this issue ...

2003 State Farm U.S. Championships: Junior and Novice
by Marge Reynolds and Sandra Stevenson

Find out what happened on the junior and novice levels of competition at the U.S. Championships. Shifting standings were the story of the junior event - only the pairs who were in first after the short held on to win after the free skate. Meanwhile, 72 novice skaters demonstrated their skills during opening rounds of the U.S. Championships at Reunion Arena.

Backstage Pass
photos by Jenny Driscoll, Laura Fawcett, Paul and Michelle Harvath, and Amy Partain

Backstage pass takes you backstage at the U.S. Championships with behind-the-scenes photos from before, during and after the event. See what the top skaters in the nation were doing when they weren't out on the ice performing.

European Championships
by Salvatore Zanca

Entering the 2003 European Championships this year in Malmo, Sweden, the buzz was about changes in the post-Olympic period. By the time Evgeny Plushenko won his third title, the answers to the questions were simple - nothing much had changed. Russia swept all four titles just as it did from 1997-99.

Proposed Changes to the Qualifying Competition Structure
by Amy Partain

A few years of work will culminate this May when the 2003 Governing Council of the U.S. Figure Skating Association considers a proposal to restructure the U.S. Figure Skating qualifying competition system.