Team skating extravaganza set for JLC

ERIC BENDER -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:19 AM ET

The competitive cut, thrust and flair of some of the world's top figure skaters is coming to the John Labatt Centre Dec. 4.

Global Spectrum, management group for the JLC, is bringing the World Team Challenge, a judged international competition among teams from Canada, the United States, Russia and Europe, to London.

The lineup includes a host of big-name skaters.

"This is a judged competition, not a show," said marketing director Dave Harris.

The men's competition will feature four-time world champion Kurt Browning against Olympic champ Alexei Yagudin of Russia, eight-time British champion Steven Cousins and former world champion Todd Eldredge of the United States.

Pairs skating will see a rematch of Canadians Jamie Sale and David Pelletier with Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze of Russia. Both couples were awarded gold medals after the judging controversy at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.

Also in the pairs will be Kyoko Ina and John Zimmerman of the U.S. and Radka Kovarikova and Rene Novotny for Europe.

Canada's Jennifer Robinson, a six-time national champion, will face Olympic women's champion Oksana Baiul of Russia, world champion Maria Butyrskaya of Russia and world medallist Caryn Kadavy of the U.S.

"Competing against the best in the world brings out the very best in you and that is an element that you miss when you retire from amateur skating," Browning said. "The World Team Challenge rekindles that competitive fire on the ice and the fans love to see it. I think it brings back some fond memories for skating fans ."

This will be the third annual competition. It was held two years ago at B.C. Place in Vancouver and last year in Winnipeg.

Tickets go on sale Monday at the JLC box office, by phone at 1-866-455-2849 or on the Internet at www.johnlabattcentre.com


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