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Tracking Down Midori A Major Chore

March 19, 1996

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) _ Midori Ito is back onstage at the World Figure Skating Championships. Once she leaves the ice, however, Ito wants no part of the spotlight.

The 1989 world champion and 1992 Olympic silver medalist from Japan won her qualifying group Monday with what she admitted was not her best. She also did her best to avoid the media, even though she is, by far, the biggest star among the women.

At first, Ito declined all interview requests. So did her coach and the rest of the Japanese contingent.

Then she relented and went on Japanese television for an interview with the Tokyo Broadcasting System. But she was not available for any other television outlets, including the world feed.

Ito then was cornered by about a dozen Japanese media members and spoke pleasantly for a short time with them. Her comments then were translated by an American employee of Tokyo Broadcasting into English well after Ito left the Edmonton Coliseum.

Oh, yes. She said she would grant no more interviews until after the women’s short program on Friday.


ON THE INTERNET: Want to chat with Tonia Kwiatkowski, the U.S. silver medalist? Try the internet.

Want to read Kwiatkowski’s weekly journal on life in the figure skating world? Try the internet.

Kwiatkowski, who was fourth in her group in Monday’s qualifying, has her own web site. It includes visuals from the 25-year-old skater’s career, as well as Kwiatkowski’s thoughts on the sport.

``I don’t even have a computer,″ Kwiatkowski said with a giggle. ``I usually write it out and fax it to someone in Seattle.

``I started right after nationals and will do it until the week after worlds. There’s been a lot of great response. A lot of people have seen it and shown me the articles they print out of their computers.″

To reach the web site, access http://espnet.sportszone.com.


YOUTH ON THEIR SIDE: Tara Lipinski, 13, is the youngest skater at the world championships, but hardly the only fresh-faced teen-ager.

Pairs skaters Olga Boguslavska of Latvia, Jekaterina Nekrassova from Estonia and Shelby Lyons of Oswego, N.Y., all are 14. Singles skater Hyung-Kyung Choi of South Korea is 15. So is Boguslavska’s partner, Juri Salmanov.

The youngest man at worlds is Japan’s Takeshi Honda, who won his qualifying group Sunday. Honda will be 15 on Saturday.


SRO AT PRACTICE: Even the practice sessions, particularly those featuring Canadian skaters, have been well-attended on the first two days of the world championships.

On Monday, the practice rink was nearly three-quarters full when Elvis Stojko, Sebastien Britten and Marcus Christensen skated. They each drew loud ovations, with Stojko getting a standing ovation after his short program.

The previous day, Stojko was inundated by flowers thrown on the ice after he practiced. ``I’ve never seen that before,″ he admitted.

When Americans Rudy Galindo, Todd Eldredge and Dan Hollander worked out, the crowd was nearly as large and boisterous, particularly for Eldredge’s superb performance.

But dozens of the fans weren’t even watching the action on the ice. They were lining up to get autographs from Brian Boitano, who was seated in an upper section of the arena.

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