Elevating performance

ROB BRODIE -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:12 AM ET

LONDON, Ont. -- Fedor Andreev has seen a lot of things in figure skating.

But a competitor stuck in a elevator?

"Nothing like that has ever happened to me. Thank goodness," said Andreev, 22, of Ottawa, after having his skate time moved up last night when North York's Eric Radford suffered that mishap at the John Labatt Centre.

"That's a first for me, absolutely a first," added his veteran coach, Richard Callaghan.

Officials moved up the skaters behind Radford, and allowed him to skate last in the flight of their men's qualifying group at the Canadian figure skating championships.

If it bothered Andreev, it didn't show.

"Less waiting time for me," he said. "It was fine."

SEVEN-MONTH WAIT

Then again, this is a guy who's been waiting a year to lace them up again for real. Andreev suffered a back injury training quadruple jumps during the spring at his current base in Rochester Hills, Mich., which knocked him off the ice for about seventh months.

He only resumed jumping in November, and had to withdraw from two scheduled international tests.

"It was crippling," Andreev said of the injury.

Last night's effort, which included only four triple jumps but some superb spins and footwork, was a triumph of sorts.

"After a year of not competing, to go out and have a performance like that ... It was great," said Andreev. "I'm totally happy."

Andreev was a bronze medallist at the 2003 nationals in Saskatoon and finished fourth a year ago, but placements aren't the goal here. He finished fourth in his group with 112.59 points, behind Edmonton's Ben Ferreira (125.08), Tillsonburg's Chris Mabee (118.56) and former Minto skater Shawn Sawyer (114.46).

"I just want to go out and have a good time," said Andreev, seventh overall heading into Friday's short program. "You have no idea (how much he missed skating). I'd go into the rink and see all the other skaters out there ... it was so disappointing."

Minto's Brennan Martin finished 17th in the group (52.35) and didn't advance.

GOOD FIRST STEP: Siobhan Karam and Joshua McGrath are right where they want to be. Skating well and one step closer to their first Canadian title. The Minto Skating Club duo scored 34.13 to win the junior compulsory dance. That was 2.33 points better than Allie Hann-McCurdy and Michael Coreno of the Gloucester Skating Club. Karam and McGrath are the favourites for the second straight year, but aren't thinking that way. "Of course, we want (to win)," said Karam, 18, of Ottawa. "We know we have pressure on us. But we just want to skate our best and hopefully, the results will come after that." She and McGrath, 19, of Greely, have won two straight bronze medals in the event. The original dance is today.


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