Buttle beats Joubert to win men's gold

Sat Mar 22, 2008 2:08pm EDT
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By Sarah Edmonds

GOTHENBURG, Sweden (Reuters) - Canada's Jeffrey Buttle won the men's world championship gold on Saturday, with defending champion Brian Joubert rising from sixth place to take the silver in the final.

Frenchman Joubert had been given a controversial point deduction from his short program score on Friday for using music with lyrics but in the end the penalty had no bearing on the outcome of an event dominated by Buttle.

The Canadian, who won bronze at the Turin Olympics and silver at the 2005 world championships, skated a near-flawless routine to the Ararat soundtrack by Michael Danna and slapped the ice in triumph at the finish.

"It's always been a dream of mine to become the world champion, I can't believe I am," said the unassuming Buttle, struggling to hold back tears of joy.

"It's been a great week and I worked so hard for this. I really don't know what to say, it hasn't sunken in yet."

Buttle finished with 245.17 points, well ahead of Joubert's overall 231.22. Johnny Weir of the United States won bronze with 221.84.

It was Joubert, though, who brought roar after roar from the crowd as he went on the attack in his free skate, gesturing to the crowd and reveling in their cheers.

The Frenchman threw his all into a jump-filled performance to a classical rendition of Metallica's The Unforgiven and Nothing Else Matters that won him the top presentation mark of the afternoon.   Continued...

<p>Figure skaters (R-L) Brian Joubert of France, Jeffrey Buttle of Canada and Johnny Weir of the U.S. pose with their medals after the winning he men's free skating programme at the World figure Skating Championships in Gothenburg March 22, 2008. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor</p>