Robin Cousins and Scott Hamilton were talking about takin VTC one more shot before the next generation of skaters pushed them out. Debi Thomas is making her personal farewell tour before entering medical school in the fall. Brian Boitano promised to push his fight to regain Olympic eligibility so he could shift his focus to those Games.
You might not recognize the NutraSweet World ProfessionaFigure Skating Championships when it convenes at the Capital Centre next December for its 13th installment. Heck, even NutraSweet is reconsidering its hefty financial commitment.
And so Saturday night's installment of the competition played like a highlight film of the best that this event has to offer.
Boitano won the men's competition for the fourth time, but he abandoned the dramatic, swashbuckling style that fits his powerful legs so well for the quick-footed techniques of Hamilton and Cousins -- and nearly lost to them.
"It was a reach for me, but I am proud of myself," said Boitano. For him, that meant three triples instead of five in the program, but a trio ofouble Axels in quick succession that would have left anyone else in a heap.
"My forte is strong and slow. That quick-footed stuff is what Robin and Scott do best. But I wanted to stretch and grow," he said.
Thomas won again, too. It was the third and perhaps the happiest pro title for a skater who has been unable to leave her attitude in the dressing room since she lost the gold medal to Katarina Witt at the 1988 Olympics.
"Give all the credit to Scott [Hamilton]," she said Saturday, as she won a $40,000 first prize that will go a long way toward medical school tuition. "He told me this was my last year, get rid of the anger and just have fun."
Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov, the Soviet gold medalists in 1988 who were married in April, won the pairs title Saturday night. But it is another newly paired duo that bears watching.
Cindy Landry and Peter Oppegard, who used to skate with Jill Watson, have been together less than a year, but they finished second by combining that steamy stuff that made Barbara Underhill and Paul Martini champions here with some of the most daring acrobatics this competition has seen.
During the skaters' "pinwheel" and "Detroiter," the packed house sucked almost all the air out of the building. In each, Oppegard spun her above his head -- with just one hand in the small of her back -- at frightening speed.
"I'd have never let you go," he assured her after.
The ice dancing competition will be worth watching, too, as the battle continues between the traditional, so delightfully executed Susan Wynne and Joseph Druar, America's Most Adorable Couple, and the brooding modern ballet of Natalia Bestemianova and Andrei Bukin, who won again this year.
Perhaps the U.S.-Soviet couple of Renee Roca and Gorsha Sur, emerging choreographers together just a year, will settle the debate.
Brian Boitano 99.4; Scott Hamilton 98.7; Robin Cousins 98.6; Brian Orser 97.3.
Debi Thomas 98.8; Denise Biellmann 97.6; Rosalyn Sumners Caryn Kadavy 96.8.
Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov 99.6; Cindy Landry anPeter Oppegard 98.3; Kitty and Peter Carruthers 97.5; Elena Valova and Oleg Vassiliev 95.8.
Ice dancing Natalia Bestemianova and Andrei Bukin 49.4; Natalia Annenko and Genrikh Sretenski 49.2; Renee Roca and Gorsha Sur 48.9; Susan Wynne and Jo
seph Druar 48.5