Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomarenko, runners-up the past four years, earned two perfect 6.0s to take the original set pattern portion of the ice dance competition at the World Figure Skating Championships today.
The Soviet couple gained top marks from the Soviet and Czechoslovakian judges with a neat and tidy Charleston routine that kept them on course for the gold medal with only the free dance to come.
Second was another Soviet couple, Maia Usova and Aleksandr Zhulin, while Hungary’s Klara Engi and Attila Toth moved up to third place.
Susan Wynne and Joseph Druar of the United States stayed in fifth place but captured the spirit of the 1920s rhythm more than any other couple with a bubbly, energetic routine.
“That was a blast,” Wynne said. “The Charleston suits us. We didn’t come here to get a medal, but last year we were ninth so this is a big jump for us.”
Jill Trenary, the U.S. champion, made a solid start in her bid for the women’s title by placing second in the compulsory figures behind European champion Claudia Leistner of West Germany.
“I was a little shaky,” Trenary said. “I really wasn’t as confident as I usually am. This competition could come down to nerves, and I must hold mine.”
The original program is scheduled for Friday. Saturday’s long program, which winds up the championships, counts for 50% of the total mark.
Also today, Chris Bowman of Van Nuys was aiming to win the men’s gold medal for the United States in a three-way battle with Canada’s Kurt Browning and Alexandr Fadeev of the Soviet Union. All had an equal chance going into the title-deciding free skating program.
Leistner dominated both women’s compulsory figures and said she would try to keep the pressure on Trenary and the other leading contenders.
“They are the best figures I have ever done,” the West German said. “Winning the European championships gave me a lot of confidence. I’m not going to play safe now. I’m going to have to take risks to win the title.”