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Russians Win Pairs, Americans Get Bronze

March 21, 1996

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) _ Russia’s Marina Eltsova and Andrey Bushkov made their first win of 1996 a big one, taking the World Figure Skating Championships pairs competition, with Americans Jenni Meno and Todd Sand rallying for a bronze medal.

Eltsova and Bushkov, fourth at Europeans and second in three other events this year, finished first with four judges Wednesday night. Oddly, four other judges voted for another Russian pair, 1994 world champs Evgenia Shishkova and Vadim Naumov, who didn’t even win a medal; their marks with five judges were weak enough to drop them to fourth.

Germany’s Mandy Wotzel and Ingo Steuer, leaders after the short program, took the silver for the second time in four years. First with only the judge from Germany, they might have lost the gold when she fell badly on a throw double axel, their only real mistake.

Although Eltsova and Bushkov had a mediocre conclusion to their free skate, worth two-thirds the total score, their side-by-side jumps and lifts were strong, as was their presentation.

Three-time U.S. champions Meno and Sand held onto their bronze of 1995 by moving up from fifth place after the short program. They hit all of their major elements and the only bobble came when she skipped a double loop in the middle of a jump sequence.

Skating to ``Nessun Dorma,″ the same music they used a year ago _ but, as Meno repeatedly said, ``with much more passion″ _ the couple that was married last summer jumped past Shishkova-Naumov and the third Russian pair, Oksana Kazakova and Artur Dmitriev, who wound up fifth.

Dmitriev won the 1992 Olympics and two worlds with another partner. He seemed headed for a medal Wednesday night until his new colleague fell twice, then an upside-down lift had to be cut short.

Kyoko Ina and Jason Dungjen, the U.S. runners-up for the last three years, were sixth, improving two spots over last year.

The other American pair, 14-year-old Shelby Lyons and Bryan Wells, 25, wound up 10th in their first international.

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