Really, not much to be smiling about

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:22 AM ET

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The question was \'Why are these guys smiling?\'

They\'re ninth and tenth.

Jeffrey Buttle threw an arm into the air and had a great grin on his face when he was done. But at least one judge wiped the grin off his face by placing him 14th with eight skaters remaining in the short program at the World Figure Skating Championships here last night.

\"I\'m sure that judge will get a letter,\'\' the Canadian said of an official reprimand.

We\'d love to tell you the identity of the judge in question, but they are anonymous here this year lest offending judges be fingered for cheating or incompetence. Others judges had him as high as second at that point of competition.

In the end the Sudbury, Ont. skater sits ninth after the short program - one position ahead of Canadian champion Emanuel Sandhu who came off the ice with a big smile.

AND THE MARKS WERE ...

The judges marks ranged from 4.6 to 5.4 on the technical line and 5.0 to 5.7 on the artistic line for Buttle and 4.5 to 5.3 technically and 5.3 to 5.6 artistically for Sandhu.

The two Canadians are not even close to being in contention for tomorrow\'s free skate final where Evgeni Plushenko of Russia, Timothy Goebel of the U.S. and Takehashi Honda of Japan rank 1-2-3 after the short program.

Both Canadians had flawed quads, Buttle ending up with two hands down and Sandhu stumbling.

\"I\'m definitely happy,\'\' said Buttle. \"It was my best short program of the season. I recovered from a slight mistake on my quad and a lot of what I did was good. There were a couple of questionable judges marks, but some good ones, too, so I\'ll take the positive and move forward.\'\'

Buttle said he had no idea he ended up in front of Sandhu who finished fifth to his sixth in their qualifying group Monday.

\"I didn\'t look who was ahead or behind,\'\' he said.

GLAD THAT PART\'S OVER

Sandhu expressed relief.

\"I\'m glad that part is over,\'\' he said.

\"It wasn\'t perfect. The quad was the worst one I\'ve done this week.\'\'

Sandhu, who scratched himself due to injury at the Salt Lake Olympics and did not compete at Worlds in Japan last year, was ninth at the Vancouver 2001 championships.

Buttle, in his first Worlds last year, was eighth.

Today Jennifer Robinson and Joannie Rochette begin competition in the ladies qualifying events. Tonight Anabelle Langlois and Patrice Archetto, now skating out of Edmonton\'s Royal Glenora, who finished sixth in the pairs short program Monday, compete in the pairs free skate final.


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