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Upset Victory for Canadian Ice Dancing Pair - 2003-03-29

There has been an upset win for Canada at the World Figure Skating championships here in Washington. The ice dancing couple of Shae Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz edged Russia's Irina Lobacheyva and Ilia Averbukh in the final free dance program.

The Russian couple of Irina Lobacheyva and Ilia Averbukh was leading the ice dancing competition coming into Friday night's free dance.

But Shae Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz were in second place, and in their final World Championship, they passed the Russians, and took home the gold medal that had eluded them for so many years.

Skating to the "Adagio of the 21st Century," Bourne and Kraatz earned marks of 5.7 to 5.8 for technical merit, and 5.8 and 5.9 out of six for presentation. Afterwards, Bourne said she could hardly believe they had captured the title. "It felt great, just to skate the way we did all week," she said. "I was just so excited, how we performed, and then to get those marks to win, it's just overwhelming. It's a wonderful feeling. We have been together for so long, and tried very hard, and never gave up, and we got the gold. So, it's pretty unbelievable."

Lobacheyva and Averbukh skated to a rock-n-roll medley, and took the silver medal. The bronze went to Bulgaria's Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviyski. Afterward, Averbukh of Russia said he did not think the Canadian team deserved the gold medal. "I am not happy with the result, obviously," he said. "I think, it was a political decision today, and I think it was like a reward, the medal was like a reward for the Canadian couple for a long career."

This is the second year in a row that Averbukh and Lobacheyva have finished second in a major competition. They were second behind Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat of France at last year's Salt Lake City Olympics.

The final event of the world championships, the women's long program, is Saturday. American Michelle Kwan is hoping to win a 5th world title.