Quad gunner

ANGELA MACISAAC -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:38 AM ET

Stephane Lambiel threw down the gauntlet with two quads and Jeff Buttle didn't pick it up. But that's OK.

"I can't compete with two quads," said Buttle, last month's bronze medallist at the Winter Olympics in Turin.

"At least not yet."

Buttle popped his quad attempt, only getting credit for two rotations, and then fell on his first triple Axel during last night's qualifying round of the world figure skating championships.

The top 12 in each of the two groups advanced to today's short program, which starts at 3:30 p.m., at the Saddledome.

Buttle picked himself up off the ice and completed four triples before falling on his Lutz.

He earned 137.90 points, well below Lambiel's personal best that won the morning group at 160.90.

Japan's Nobunari Oda hit eight triples to win last night's qualifying group with 144.90 points but, Buttle, the two-time Canadian champ, wasn't too concerned with his placement.

After all, his skate was a better start than the '05 worlds, where he won silver.

"My level all week's been a lot better at worlds last year," he said. "In fact, my level is better than it was at Olympics. So I feel pretty good ... I'm back in competition mode."

Lambiel, the defending world champ, wasn't even sure if he would show up in Calgary after winning silver at Olympics behind Russia's Evgeni Plushenko. He's nursing a stretched ligament in his right knee.

"When I went out to skate, I didn't have any doubts," Lambiel said. "The legs are always a bit shaky when you get out but, the second the music starts, you don't ask yourself any questions and you just go for it."

Lambiel's flawless performance was a highlight on a day when not all skaters may not have been giving their all.

The Swiss champ said he gives his best every time he's on the ice.

"My psychology is to do the best each time, to try to give everything on the day and then I'll rest during the night to be able to give everything again the next day," said Lambiel.

Emanuel Sandhu was sixth and Shawn Sawyer 10th in the other qualifying group.


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