Figure skating-Kostner ends Italy's wait, champion Chan booed

Sat Mar 31, 2012 9:29pm EDT
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By Pritha Sarkar

NICE, France (Reuters) - Canadian Patrick Chan crashed so hard during his free program on Saturday that an hour later he was still holding an ice pack to his bruised body.

It was a scene all too familiar to Carolina Kostner but the Italian finally ended a decade of disappointment as she and Chan were crowned champions at the world figure skating championships on Saturday.

Kostner has long been the standout female skater in Europe, winning four continental titles in the last six years, but is equally known for some spectacular meltdowns.

None was more painful than the one she suffered a hop, skip and jump away from the French Riviera at the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics, when she became the butt of jokes in her country after falling on practically every jump she attempted.

On Saturday, she finally won the title on her ninth attempt with a career-best score of 128.94 in the free skate to give her a total of 189.94 as she became the first Italian woman to win the global title.

"Being here reminded me so much of Torino but this time I was determined to make amends," Kostner told reporters.

The 25-year-old beat her closest rival, Russian Alena Leonova, by more than five points, while Japan's Akiko Suzuki trailed in third with 180.68.

"I just wanted to skate my best, straight from my heart," added Kostner.   Continued...

(L-R) Alena Leonova of Russia, Carolina Kostner of Italy and Akiko Suzuki of Japan celebrate on the podium during the medal ceremony at the women's free skating event at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Nice March 31, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard