Eldredge, Lipinski on rebound at Lalique
PARIS (AP) _ Todd Eldredge tries to recover from sore ribs at the Lalique Trophy, while world champion Tara Lipinski looks to recover from a loss at Skate America.
The event is one of the six Grand Prix meets leading to the Champion Series final in Munich on Dec. 19-21. More important, it’s an international meeting that gives the skaters a chance to try out their routines with an eye on a bigger prize: the Olympics in Nagano, Japan from Feb. 7-22.
The competition started Thursday with the compulsory dances. The short programs for singles, pairs and dance are Friday and the free skates are on Saturday.
Eldredge won the men’s event in Skate America, but it wasn’t easy. In warmups just before the finals, he crashed and sprained his shoulder in a bad fall.
He was treated, then rushed out on the ice to compete. The 1996 world champion hit five triple jumps in a conservative but courageous program.
Eldredge rested the shoulder after Skate America and said he took non-prescription painkillers and ice treatments.
``The shoulder doesn’t feel too bad,″ Eldredge said. ``There are certain moves I can’t do yet, but for the most part it isn’t all that bad.″
Now a new problem has popped up. He has sore ribs from the aftermath of the fall and the jarring jumps don’t give him time to recover.
``From what I did to my shoulder, I pulled a muscle underneath and whenever I try to take off for my axels I feel it,″ Eldredge said.
``It’s going OK, but if I had another week, I’d be happier with it. We’d get through this competition and be fine,″ Eldredge said. ``I got plenty of time to heal it up and get well.″
If Eldredge is not up to par, he could be pushed by Russian Alexei Yagudin, who took the world bronze medal right behind Eldredge’s silver at Lausanne, Switzerland in March. Canadian Elvis Stojko won the gold.
Also in the men’s field is Igor Pashkevich of Azerbaijan, who completed nine triples at the Nation’s Cup in Gelsenkirchen, Germany two weeks ago, and France’s Philippe Candeloro.
Lipinski, who became the youngest women’s world champion when she took the title at Lausanne, is looking for her first win of the season. She was beaten easily by American compatriot Michelle Kwan last month at Skate America.
Lipinski’s coach, Richard Callaghan _ who also works with Eldredge _ said he was not disappointed with her skating in Detroit.
``She made the one mistake in the long program with the lutz, but I was very pleased with her performance,″ Callaghan said.
Kwan was the 1996 world champion, but had three consecutive losses to Lipinski last season at the U.S. nationals, Champion Series final and worlds. But Kwan had no trouble winning the first confrontation last month.
Kwan is not at Lalique, where she beat Lipinski last year. However Chen Lu of China is as she tries to continue her comeback.
Chen, the 1995 world champion, faded badly over the past year and had to go through a qualifying competition for the Olympics. She failed to make the final free program at the world championships last March and has since changed coaches.
Chen won in Vienna to qualify for Nagano, but this is her first outing against top competition this season.
In the ice dance event, four-time world and 1994 Olympic champions Oksana Gritschuk and Yevgeny Platov make their seasonal debut. They hope to become the first ice dancers to repeat as Olympic champions.
The pairs event has Russians Yelena Bereznaya and Anton Sikharulidze against world champions Mandy Woetzel and Ingo Steuer of Germany.