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German All But Cinches Skating Title

Associated Press

West Germany’s Claudia Leistner all but locked up the women’s title as she took a commanding leading after today’s original program at the European Figure Skating Championships.

Leistner skated to a lively version of big-band music that earned first-place marks from the judges. She had led after the school figures.

With a factored placing of 1.0 with the free skating left, she would have to finish fourth or worse in the final program Saturday afternoon to lose the championship.

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“Skating last, I had to wait a long time,” Leistner said. “They all came back laughing or crying. But I felt good on the ice and I hope I can do it tomorrow.”

If she skates as well as she did in the original program, she will not have any problem succeeding Katarina Witt as European champion.

The next three places are extremely tight. Second was British champion Joanne Conway, who pleased the home crowd with a clean but safe routine. Third was the Soviet Union’s Natalie Lebedeva and fourth was East Germany’s Simone Lang.

Soviets have won both titles already decided. Larisa Selezneva and Oleg Makarov won the pairs event and Aleksandr Fadeev captured the men’s crown.

Fadeev won his fourth European championship since 1984 despite being penalized by a British judge for his costume in Thursday’s men’s original program.


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