It came down to a choice between Yuka Sato's artistry and dynamic footwork and Surya Bonaly's gymnastic jumping, and the judges gave the women's world figure skating championship to Sato Saturday in Chiba, Japan.
Bonaly at first refused to join Japan's Sato and bronze medalist Tanja Szewczenko of Germany on the awards podium. Afterward, she quickly took off her silver medal.
Asked later what message she meant to convey, the French skater said: "It's not right."
When Bonaly tried to succeed with technique, she said she had been told she wasn't artistic enough.
"When I change to just normal skating, that's not good, too. I don't know what I have to do. It's crazy," she said.
The vote was close. Sato received higher artistic marks--six 5.9s and three 5.8s--and the first-place votes of five of the nine judges. She got technical marks of 5.7 and 5.8.
Bonaly got mostly 5.8s and 5.9s for her technique in an ambitious program that included a triple toe loop-half loop-triple salchow-double toe loop sequence and back-to-back triple jumps. She touched her hand to the ice, however, on one later triple loop, and had landed on the ice before completing the last turn of her triple-triple combination.
Her artistic marks ranged from 5.5 to 5.9, and four judges ranked her first. But one rated her third, behind Szewczenko.
She arrived late at the medalists' news conference and said she was "fed up."
"This is a championship, not (a place) to do just like everybody else. It's not right," Bonaly said.
Sato completed a clean sweep with her first-place in the freestyle program after earlier winning her qualifying group and the technical program. She finished fifth in the Olympics, one place behind Bonaly.
Michelle Kwan of Torrance, at 13, the youngest competitor ever to represent the United States in the world championships, skated well.
She completed a demanding freestyle program, landing six of seven triple jumps, as she improved from 11th after the previous day's technical program to eighth.
"I'm really happy that it ended this way," she said.
Kwan was encouraged by her ability to rebound from a poor technical program.
"I tried to say to myself, 'What's done is done,' " she said of her mental preparation for the four-minute freestyle program. "You can't rewind or record over it."
Asked what she learned from her first major international competition as a senior, she said: "Whether you're nervous or not nervous, you still have to go out there and try your best. You have to have energy out there.
"I would have liked to have been more aggressive this week. I'm even more motivated to go home and work hard."
There was pressure on Kwan because she needed a top 10 finish to assure that the United States would be allowed to send two women to the 1995 World Championships at Birmingham, England. If she had finished 11th or lower, the United States would have had only one woman representative.
The United States had only three top 10 finishes in Chiba and failed to win any medals for the second consecutive year. Not since 1963-64 had the United States failed to win medals in consecutive World Championships.