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Slutskaya Leads Butyskaya at Russian National Figure Skating Championships - 2001-12-28

Two-time Grand Prix champion Irina Slutskaya of Russia leads countrywoman Maria Butyrskaya after the short program at the Russian National figure skating championships in Moscow.

Slutskaya finished her short program with 0.5 factored placings after landing off balance on a triple lutz jump. Butyrskaya, a former world and European champion, had to place both hands on the ice to keep from falling out of her triple lutz jump.

Elena Sokolova is in third place after the short program after completing a triple-double combination jump.

Meanwhile, in the men's competition, Yevgeny Plushenko leads after landing a quadruple-triple combination. Countryman Alexander Abt is in second place after landing a quad-double jump in his short routine.

In the ice dancing competition, Irina Lobacheva and Ilya Averbukh are in the lead after the compulsory dance. The meet continues Friday with the women's long program, the original dance and the pairs short program.

The top two finishers in each event win a berth to the European championships. A third competitor will be chosen by the Russian coaches. A similar format will choose the Russian Olympic squad after the European championships.