ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2009 ® Helsinki | |

Finland's ladies take gold and bronze, Kostner second


Kostner, Lepistö ja Pöykiö Photo: Susanne Kempf

Finland’s Laura Lepistö has won the European Championship with a total score of 167.32 points. She is the first ever Finnish skater to win the ladies’ title.

Italy’s Carolina Kostner placed second, receiving a total score of 165.42 points. Finland’s Susanna Pöykiö came third with an overall score of 156.31. All medallists beat their earlier season’s best scores for the free programme.

Lepistö, who led the race for gold after the short, handled the intense pressure of skating in front of a roaring home audience extremely well. The 20-year-old Finn skated a calm and well-rounded free program to Don Juan de Marco. She also had a few problems, and ended up simplifying her triple-triple combination and singling her triple Lutz. She was still happy with her skate and couldn’t believe that she’d won.

- This is an incredible feeling. I can’t even start to tell what’s going through my mind now, Lepistö said.

The Finnish team had set a goal of two medals, but Lepistö still said that she could never have expected for one of them to be a golden one, or her.

The 10,000 strong crowd’s reaction to Lepistö’s final spin was electric. The skater said she felt the great energy of the crowd.

- I have never experienced a feeling like that. The crowd exploded, and I had the same feeling, she said.

Italy’s Kostner, who started the competition as the number-one favourite, skated a clean and stylish free to Anton Dvorak. Her excellent speed and jumps were enough to win the free skating event, but she was only able to pull up to second place overall. Kostner doubled her triple flip and claimed to have made other errors as well.

- I’m very pleased anyway. The audience was awesome and cheered me as well, Kostner said.

Bronze medallist, Finland’s Susanna Pöykiö was slightly disappointed with her skating, but satisfied with her medal. She doubled a combination jump and a flip and told she had felt nervous on the ice, skating right after Lepistö.

- I’m extremely glad to be back at this level, and still have a chance to show these girls what I’ve got at the next competition, Pöykiö laughed.

All three agreed that the level of European ladies’ skating is currently very high.

- The American and Japanese are hard to beat, but we can fight them at Worlds, Kostner summed up the trio’s feelings.

Finland’s Kiira Korpi finished in fifth place. She had a surprise fall in the beginning of her free program and had to restart her music, costing her a three-point deduction. She was still happy to have been able to skate for her home audience.

- I guess this is figure skating drama at its best, or in my case at its worst. My blades must have crashed or something. At the end I felt good about being able to pull off the whole program, Korpi said.

All the medallists of the Helsinki European Championships will perform in the Gala Exhibiton on Sunday at 3.30 p.m.