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Lambiel turns back on official competitions

Swiss figure skating champion Stéphane Lambiel has ruled himself out of competing for the next two years by signing up for a United States gala show.

The two-time world champion came out of a brief retirement in 2009 to compete in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, but came home empty-handed after finishing fourth.

By joining the Thin Ice show in the US, which starts later this month, he will not be allowed to take part in International Skating Union official competitions for the next two seasons, according to his spokesman Marc Lindegger.

Thin Ice is aired on the ABC television network and matches up former champions in couples skating, with a prize of $60,000 (SFr64,000) for the top pair. Lambiel will be skating with Shizuka Arakawa, a Japanese 2006 Olympic winner.

Lambiel recently told the Blick tabloid that he thought his competitive life was over and told the Lausanne-based Le Matin newspaper that he planned to take part in galas in the future. and agencies

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