Weiss cuts his fears short, takes second Beats short program woes to trail only Eldredge

January 07, 1998|By Don Markus | Don Markus,SUN STAFF

PHILADELPHIA -- As Michael Weiss walked over from the hotel to the CoreStates Center for his afternoon skate yesterday, he wore a big smile on his face.

When his wife, Lisa, asked what he was smiling about, Weiss said, "This is what everybody has been talking about for the past 13 years, since the first time I was asked, 'Do you want to go to the Olympics?' "

Weiss, 21, took a big step last night toward being one of the two male skaters to represent the United States in Nagano, Japan, next month by overcoming what had been a significant career obstacle.

Beset by mistakes big and small in the short program at previous major championships, Weiss skated a solid routine at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Weiss made only one slight stumble coming out of a triple Axel-triple toe loop combination and finished the night second behind four-time U.S. champion Todd Eldredge.

"I think it gives me a lot of confidence," said Weiss, who came into the competition second behind Eldredge in the selection process to determine who'll go to Nagano.

Admittedly, Weiss was thinking about his past miscues in the short program. He also was thinking about the fact that doing only triple Axel-double toe loop combinations had hurt him before.

"The way skating is going, you have to skate a triple Axel-triple toe loop," he said.

With the help of the strength he has gained through weight training, Weiss was able to hang onto the triple toe loop enough not to have a significant deduction.

"It has a lot to do with having done it before," said Weiss. "Everything is not perfect in practice all the time. When you can still pull it out when you're slightly off, that will help you down the road."

It will help Weiss tomorrow night. He needs to hang onto second place to make the Olympic team since Eldredge, a former world champion, will likely go regardless of what happens in the long program.

Even with a strong hold on second after former U.S. champion Scott Davis faltered badly in his routine, Weiss plans to go ahead with his much publicized attempt at the quad Lutz, a jump that no male skater has ever landed.

"I've always been one to go after things," he said.

Locally speaking

In the junior ladies competition, 15-year-old Christy Taylor of Bel Air finished tied for last among the 14 skaters. Taylor, who won the recent South Atlantic Junior competition, is a student at the University of Delaware. In today's compulsory dance program, Jayna Cronin of Timonium will skate with Yovanny Durango. It is their second competition together.

In full bloom

For the past two weeks, Leslie Kremp has been getting ready for the championships. She's not a skater, she's a florist.

A member of the local organizing committee called Kremp a year and a half ago and arranged for her to handle the floral arrangements for what was described as the biggest sporting event in Philadelphia in years.

Between now and Sunday her 12 employees will handle 20,000 flower stems. That includes arrangements for hotel suites, parties and, of course, bouquets for the ice kings and queens, as well as red roses for spectators to heave onto the ice.

Due to their danger on the ice, no staples can enter the building.

So yesterday, a crew wrapped 750 roses and then taped them tightly shut. Nothing's coming out of those packages.

Men's senior, short program

1. Todd Eldredge, .5. 2. Michael Weiss, 1.0. 3. Scott Davis, 1.5. 4. Shepherd Clark, 2.0. 5. Trifun Zivanovic, 2.5. 6. Timothy Goebel, 3.0. 7. Dan Hollander, 3.5. 8. John Baldwin Jr., 4.0. 9. Derrick Delmore, Fort Washington, 4.5. 10. Matthew Kessinger, 5.0. 11. Ryan Jahnke, 5.5. 12. Jere Michael, 6.0. 13. Matt Savoie, 6.5. 14. ++ Michael Chack, 7.0. 15. Eric Bohnstedt, 7.5. 16. Jeff Merica, Annapolis, 8.0. 17. Michael Edgren, 8.5. 18. Brian Buetsch, 9.0.

Dance, junior compulsories

1. Jamie Silverstein-Justin Pekarek, .4 factored placements. 2. Melissa Gregory-James Shuford, .8. 3. Cerise Henzes-Walter Lang, 1.2. 4. Crystal Beckerdite-Raphael Kelling, 1.6. 5. Alison Newman-Michel Klus, 2.0. 6. Katherine Jorck-Matt Healy, 2.4. 7. Katy Hill-Benjamin Agosto, 2.8.

U.S. Figure Skating Championships

Where: CoreStates Center, Philadelphia.

When: Through Saturday.

What: Part of the selection process for this year's U.S. Olympic team.

TV: Pairs short program (delayed), tomorrow, midnight-1 a.m., ESPN2; ladies short program (delayed) and men's free skate (live), tomorrow, 8 p.m.-11 p.m., chs. 2, 7; ladies short program (delayed) and original dance (live), Friday, 8: 30 p.m.-10: 30 p.m., ESPN; free dance (live), Saturday, 4: 30 p.m.-6 p.m., chs. 2, 7; pairs free skate (delayed) and ladies free skate (live), Saturday, 8 p.m.-11 p.m., chs. 2,7.

Tickets: Call 215-336-2000

Pub Date: 1/07/98

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