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Bonaly Dreaming Beyond World Championship

March 9, 1991

CHAMPIGNY, France (AP) _ After winning the European women’s championship at just 17 years old, France’s newest figure skating star, Surya Bonaly has a dream which may became reality at Munich’s World Championships next week.

″My dream is to be among the top five in the World Championship so that I can go around the world for the exhibitions,″ said Bonaly. ″That’s my dream and that’s why I must keep at it every day.″

″I’ve pinned the program of the exhibitions on the kitchen wall so that every morning I look at it before I go training and it motivates me.″ she said.

Bonaly is working hard to win that place offered to the best skaters after the world championships. Everyday she practices her technique even more than the artistic side of ice skating.

″Artistry is starting to come up but I still have a lot to modify. That’s not my big preoccupation because it will come with the time,″ said Bonaly.

Whatever happens, she feels that she has done everything to have all her chances put together. She trains up to seven hours everyday in preparing for her third world champion.

It was her exceptional jumping ability which brought her to the European title after winning the junior world championships this year and three consecutive national titles.

She became the first Frenchwoman to win the European title, last January in Sofia, Bulgaria.

This time Bonaly is heading to Munich with a title in hand. Although she knows it will be difficult, she enjoys her career and is taking it calmly due to her youth.

Although Bonaly doesn’t yet know the pressure that comes with international titles and fame, she’s learned to enjoy it. She carries on working hard just to turn her dream into reality.

″Winning the European championships is one stage in my career but it doesn’t change my lifestyle too much,″ said Bonaly.

″The world championships are going to be very difficult because many of the other skaters are 10 times stronger than me,″ Bonaly said.

″My bad side in skating is that I don’t like to be corrected. When I fall down too much I get very nervous and irritated because I like succeeding in what I do.″

Bonaly will be lined up in the world championship program with other international stars such as Germany’s Evelyn Grossmann and Tonya Harding of the United States.

Then there is the 1989 champion, Japanese star Midori Ito, whom Bonaly admires.

″I don’t think I feel more pressure because I’ll do my best and Midori is really very strong,″ said Bonaly. ″I haven’t had too many occasions to talk to her. Sometimes we talk after the competitions but she’s very shy and distant ... not like me.″

But Bonaly hopes to do something that Ito hasn’t done yet - a quadruple jump in a competition.

Bonaly tried the quadruple jump in 1990 during the European Championships of Leningrad but missed it. She has done it in training and managed it in some exhibitions.

″I’d rather be the first women to do a quadruple jump than winning the World Championships,″ Bonaly said.

At 12 years old she won a junior world championship in tumbling and still practices gymnastics.

″It helps me a lot because I have quicker reactions in my jumps,″ said Bonaly. ″There must be some jumps in the women programs. If not, the girls became little maids of skating by always doing simple things.″

Bonaly doesn’t like to do simple things. She has tried up to eight different triple jumps in her four-minute routine. Although she hasn’t done a quadruple jump yet, she has perfected a triple-triple combination.

And Bonaly is one of the few women in the world to land it along with her idol, Ito.

But before her dreams become reality, Bonaly is pleased with what she has already achieved.

″I’ll never change my place for somebody else, Later on I’ll have time to catch up and go out like all teen-agers do,″ Bonaly said.

END ADV for Weekend Release March 09-10

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