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Switzerland wins figure skating gold

Lambiel is the first Swiss man in five decades to win a figure skating title Keystone

Stéphane Lambiel has become the first Swiss man to win a figure skating title in more than half a century.

Lambiel took gold in the free skate event at the World Figure Skating Championships in Moscow on Thursday evening, his first medal in a major competition.

Silver went to the Canadian Jeffrey Buttle, with the American Evan Lysacek earning a bronze medal.

It’s the first time Switzerland has won gold since Denise Biellmann in 1981. The last Swiss man to win gold was Hans Gerschwiler in 1947.

Lambiel’s best previous international finish had been a fourth place.

The Swiss skater showed great flair as he executed two quads, which offset two triple axels that he scaled down to singles, in his programme set to music from King Arthur.

“It felt so good and so light,” said Lambiel.

On Tuesday, he won the men’s short programme after a top performance in the qualifying round on Monday.

The 19-year-old French speaker, who comes from the southern canton of Valais, was 5.62 points ahead of second-placed Frenchman Brian Joubert before Thursday’s event.

Defending champion Evgeni Plushenko of Russia was in third place, but pulled out of the free skate event with a groin injury hours before it was due to get underway.

Lambiel was second last to perform on the ice, but impressed the judges with his smooth and polished performances.

The young skater attributed his success partly to his coach, Peter Grütter, who has trained him for most of the past ten years.

swissinfo with agencies

Stéphane Lambiel:
Swiss junior champion 1998 and 1999, Swiss champion 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005.
2001/02: 4th in European Championships in Lausanne and 15th in Salt Lake City Olympics.
2002/03: 5th in European Championships in Sweden.
2003/04: 4th in World Championships in Germany and 6th in European Championships in Hungary.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR