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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Nikodinov repays favor to friends

Associated Press

PORTLAND — Angela Nikodinov’s right arm is bandaged and in a sling, and the light has yet to return to her eyes. Her emotions are still fragile and raw, and tears are never far away.

It’s only been a few days since the car crash that killed her mother, and she’s taking comfort wherever she can find it. Instead of going home to San Pedro, Calif., she was at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Saturday, surrounded by the friends who already have too much experience seeing her through tough times.

“I decided to come to the arena to be there for my friends who have supported me through all of this,” Nikodinov said, reading from a statement. “I would just like to be there and do the same for them.”

Nikodinov’s mother, Dolores, was killed Wednesday morning when the shuttle van the family took from the airport collided with another car. The van struck a barrier and overturned, killing Dolores Nikodinov. Angela Nikodinov suffered abrasions, contusions and cuts to her right wrist, but didn’t break any bones or damage any ligaments. Her father, Nick, has a few minor cuts.

Pashkevich remains hospitalized. He has a concussion, a broken bone in his neck and multiple cuts and bruises. A cut on his head required stitches.

“I would just like to have some private time for my family and I,” Nikodinov said. “After a few days, I’ll be in a better position to answer all of your questions about the accident. I just want to ask for your patience and understanding.”

Tragedy and adversity have become the fabric of Nikodinov’s life. Her beloved coach, Elena Tcherkasskaia, a woman whom Nikodinov referred to as a second mother, died suddenly of pancreatic cancer in November 2001.

She missed almost the entire 2002 season with injuries, dislocating her left shoulder that February and again in September.

Former champ fails to make team

Michael Weiss is going to have to find something else to do in March.

For only the second time in nine years, Weiss failed to make the world championship team. The three-time U.S. men’s champion finished fifth in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

“I feel like I’m skating a lot better than I performed,” Weiss said.

Weiss had a lot of ground to make up after finishing fifth in the short program Thursday night. But he two-footed his quadruple toe loop and fell on his triple loop. He did two nice triple axels, a jump that normally gives him trouble, and had some nice footwork to a medley of Led Zeppelin songs.

But the two botched jumps cost him, with technical marks ranging from 5.3 to 5.6. His marks for artistry were higher, 5.5 to 5.7.


Being on the podium was Evan Lysacek’s goal for this season, but he didn’t know how realistic that was back in June.

A stress fracture in his left hip kept him off the ice for all of June and July, and forced him to do limited training until November. But the layoff sure didn’t hurt him in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Lysacek finished third, winning his first medal at the senior level. He won the U.S. junior title in 2000, and has been the silver medalist in the junior world championships the past two years.

Lysacek had a delightful program to “Singin’ in the Rain.” He singled a triple toe in combination, and doubled what was supposed to be a triple loop. But his footwork was whimsical, and he stayed in character throughout the program.

No wonder. “Singin’ in the Rain” just happens to be his favorite movie.

“I’ve seen it probably 139 times,” he said.