Hollander out U.S. berths in Olympics may suffer

Eldredge, Weiss need combined finish of fifth

March 17, 1997|By Bill Glauber | Bill Glauber,SUN STAFF

LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- Dan Hollander's World Figure Skating Championships lasted 4 minutes, 30 seconds.

Third in America, Hollander couldn't even crack the top 30 needed to advance from yesterday's men's qualifying round. He missed a few jumps. He spun out of a few landings. And then, he was gone, 18th in his qualifying group, sidelined with a bunch of other also-rans.

Afterward, Hollander, a 5-foot-2, 24-year-old with a passion for martial arts, reviewed the faults of his program and finally said, "Oh, my God. You're making me relive this."

Hollander's elimination may not mean much in this year's World Championships, but it could have an impact on next year's Olympics.

U.S. qualifiers Todd Eldredge and Michael Weiss must now have a combined placement of no worse than fifth in order for the United States to gain three men's spots at the 1998 Winter Games.

For example, if Eldredge and Weiss finish first and fourth, the United States will get the extra spot at the Olympics. But first and fifth won't be enough.

"We're worried about what we have to do now," Weiss said. "We'll worry about the Olympics next year."

The qualifiers at this year's Worlds are a tough test for all the individual skaters. Nobody gets a free pass. And everyone faces the same tension of trying for a place in the finals. The women go through the same routine today, with U.S. champion Tara Lipinski, 14, leading the way.

Eldredge, the reigning world champion, won his group, putting together a professional performance. Canada's Elvis Stojko, a two-time titlist, was second.

In the other group, 1994 Olympic champion Alexei Urmanov of Russia took off his lace gloves, hit a quadruple toe loop jump and led his flight. Russia's Illia Kulik also landed a quad and was second.

Weiss finished fourth behind France's Eric Millot.

"It's nice to actually get the feel of the arena before you hit the ice for the real competition," said Weiss, who was second at the recent U.S. championships. "Being out there, all the pressure is off."

Weiss had planned to perform a quad, but said he "didn't have enough height on the takeoff."

"For my first look at the worlds, I did well," he said. "But my jumps were a little bit off."

Still, he'll have plenty of time to work on his jumps. Weiss' World Championships have just begun.

Pub Date: 3/17/97

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