April 2003

Cream of the Crop
U.S. Ladies Field is Deep and Strong

Peggy Fleming has seen a lot of skating over the years. But when the 1968 Olympic gold medalist stepped out of the ABC-TV broadcasting booth in January at the 2003 State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Dallas, she knew she had just witnessed something special. She had just watched one of the strongest groups of American ladies skaters ever, if not the strongest.

Led by seven-time national champion Michelle Kwan, the United States fielded one of its most star-studded World Teams ever with Olympic gold medalist Sarah Hughes and Olympian Sasha Cohen. You know it's a strong team when the reigning Olympic gold medalist places second at the national championships.

Moments after Fleming had signed off from her broadcast, comparisons were being made between this team and the one the United States sent to the World Championships in 1991, when three Americans, led by Kristi Yamaguchi, swept the World podium.

Read more about the deep U.S. ladies field and in the April issue of SKATING.

Also featured in this issue ...

Synchronized Skating - Through the Years
by Julie Nikolovski

The age of 20 is a milestone - a time of maturity and embarking on new horizons. The 2003-04 season marks that milestone for synchronized skating. It will be the 20th year that this discipline has had a national championship event.

Four Continents Championships
by Tatjana Flade

The Four Continents Championships were held for the fifth time Feb. 12-16 and for the first time in Beijing. It was the first time China has hosted an ISU Figure Skating Championship. The U.S. Team claimed two medals in the ice dancing competition, with Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto beating Naomi Lang and Peter Tchernyshev for the first time in competition.

ISU Grand Prix Final
by Salvatore Zanca

In a post-Olympic year, the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final seems to take on less importance. Lately, with its three programs, it has become more of an endurance contest than a true test of skating ability. This year's competition in St. Petersburg, Russia, was affected by off-ice problems and injuries. But Sasha Cohen, who was the only U.S. skater at the event, won the Grand Prix title in her first try under new coach Tatiana Tarasova.

World Junior Championships
by Klaus-Reinhold Kany and Amy Partain

The next generation of U.S. skaters had a strong showing at the 2003 World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Ostrava, Czech Republic, in late February. The U.S. Team brought home medals in men's and pairs.