World Figure Skating : Witt Retains Her Title; Chin Takes Third Place

Associated Press

Defending champion Katarina Witt, performing to the music of Gershwin, came from behind Saturday to win her second straight world figure skating title.

Soviet skater Kira Ivanova was second, and American Tiffany Chin gained the bronze medal despite a fall.

Witt, 19, the Olympic gold medalist from East Germany, was third entering the final event at the six-day World Figure Skating Championships. But she had a dazzling performance in her freestyle program before a crowd of 5,700 at Yoyogi Stadium to push Ivanova into second place and Chin into third.

Witt was the only skater to wrest a gold from the Soviet Union, whose team won top places in pairs, men's singles and ice dancing categories.

Elena Valova and Oleg Vasiliev, pairs skaters, took the first Soviet gold Wednesday, followed by men's champion Alexander Fadeev Thursday and ice dancers Natalia Bestemianova and Andrei Bukin Friday.

"I'm really happy," Witt said. "I think it was my best performance."

Witt, who said she'd like to try for a third straight championship next year, earned near-perfect marks from the panel of nine judges. For artistic impression, she earned five 5.9s of a possible 6.0.

Witt said she knew the final competition was tight among herself, Ivanova, 21, and Chin, 17.

"All three had a chance to win, so I tried my best," she said.

Chin, of Toluca Lake, Calif., skated last among the women and said she was "generally happy" with her performance because she "didn't feel any pressure--it all went smoothly."

But Chin admitted she was "a little disappointed" that she had slipped from second to third place after the final event.

Anna Kondrashova of the Soviet Union was fourth, and Debi Thomas, 17, of San Jose finished fifth after faltering on three jumps.

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