World Figure Skating : Soviet Couple Wins Dancing Gold; U.S. Pair 3rd

Associated Press

Natalia Bestemianova and Andrei Bukin, Olympic silver medalists, won a gold medal in ice dancing Friday at the World Figure Skating Championships, while Americans Judy Blumberg and Michael Seibert captured the bronze.

The silver went to the Soviet pair of Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomarenko, who were bronze medalists at the 1984 Winter Games.

Meanwhile, women will skate for the singles title today, with Soviet Kira Ivanova, 21, in first place, followed by Tiffany Chin, 17, of Toluca Lake, Calif., and East German Katarina Witt, 19, the Olympic gold medalist and defending world champion. Debi Thomas, 19, of San Jose, Calif., was fifth entering the final event.

Ivanova is the 1984 Olympic bronze medalist, but both Chin and Witt are known to be superior freestyle skaters and could overtake her for the top spot. Chin did not compete in last year's World Championships at Ottawa because of a foot injury. She finished fourth at the Sarajevo Olympics.

The gold won by Bestemianova and Bukin is the third so far for the Soviet Union at this six-day championship.

Alexander Fadeev won the men's singles title Thursday, and Elena Valova and Oleg Vasiliev captured the pairs gold on Wednesday.

"All our lives and training were devoted to coming in first. We are very happy now," Bestemianova said.

The Soviet couple now owns the title held by Britain's Olympic gold medalists Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, who have since turned professional.

Bestemianova and Bukin glided through the ballet "Carmen Suite," a change in style from previous performances.

"Our skating routine changes every year. It's no good if we do the same thing every year," Bestemianova said.

Klimova and Ponomarenko, who are married, skated to Latin music. Blumberg, 28, and Seibert, 25, who live in New York, skated to an original composition entitled "Fire on Ice."

"We skated well throughout the competition," Seibert said. "I felt the four minutes went easily despite a few minor mistakes."

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