Russian pairs set as the ones to beat LILLEHAMMER 94

February 14, 1994|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,Sun Staff Writer

HAMAR, Norway -- It's a great contrast in style; classical versus drama. But whatever the outcome, the winners will probably be Russians.

Russian couple Yekaterina Gordeyeva and Sergi Grinkov took the lead after the technical program in pairs figure skating last night.

The figure skating competition for pairs will be determined after the free skating tomorrow.

Russia also holds second place with Natalya Mishkutenok and Artur Dmitriyev.

Canada's Isabella Brasseur and Lloyld Eisler are third.

Gordeyeva and Grinkov put on a great show combining huge lifts and precise jumps to take the lead. It was a vintage Russian performance with classical music and fast-paced movement.

But Mishkutenok and Dmitriyev also captivated the audience as well as the judges with a program that featured more throws and passion than usual for Russians.

Gordeyeva and Grinkov were the Olympic champions in 1988, but have spent the past 2 1/2 years on the professional circuit. Gordeyeva did not compete in 1992 so that she could have a baby.

But the pair have seemed poised and relaxed and showed the form that earned them four world titles.

"It's fun to be back at the Olympics," Gordeyeva said.

"It's something we like to do, and hopefully we can win another gold medal."

Mishkutenok and Dmitriyev were the 1992 Olympic champions, and Brasseur and Eisler are the reigning world champions.

It doesn't leave too much hope for the Americans, Jenni Meno and Todd Sand, who were sixth after last night's competition.

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