- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Figure skating on his home turf certainly agrees with Fairfax resident Michael Weiss.
The reigning U.S. champion hit two quadruple jumps and six triples yesterday and easily won the first of two men's qualifying groups on the initial day of competition at the World Figure Skating Championships at MCI Center.
As expected, Russian Evgeny Plushenko won the second qualifying group at the championships, which run through Saturday, with two quads and eight triples.
Weiss slightly two-footed both his quads, but had an otherwise clean and energetic performance, much to the delight of the 70 friends and family members who watched from a skybox at the arena.
"That's what we've been talking about for the past few weeks: three clean programs and a gold medal," said Weiss, who managed to hold the No.1 spot despite skating early. "I've got one under my belt now."
He wasn't the only American skater to dazzle. Ryan Jahnke landed eight triples in a seamless performance that exceeded expectations. He finished third behind Weiss and Japan's Takeshi Honda.
American Tim Goebel also qualified after finishing second behind Plushenko. Nicknamed the "Quad King," Goebel showed he still has it by landing two of the four-rotation jumps, an improvement from the U.S. nationals in January when he unexpectedly landed none. After an injury-filled season, Goebel, who won silver at last year's worlds, was happy with his placement.
Yesterday's qualifying rounds are worth 20 percent of each skater's final score. Plushenko, the heavy favorite, opened with an untouchable quad toe triple toe triple loop combination, despite a minor knee injury that didn't appear to bother him much yesterday. He will still be the skater to beat when the men's short program begins tonight at 7.
Notes When International Skating Union president Ottavio Cinquanta was announced at MCI Center, fans booed to show their disapproval of the interim judging system, which relies on anonymous judging and random score selection. The fans booed again later while an announcer explained the rules of the system. …
Other skaters who advance to tonight's short program include Switzerland's Stephane Lambiel, Russia's Ilia Klimkin, Canada's Emanuel Sandhu, China's Chengjiang Lee and Min Zhang, and France's Brian Joubert. …
Weiss has been working with a hypnotist to help his mental game. When Plushenko was asked if he used a similar technique, his coach Alexei Mishin said, "If somebody needs a psychotherapist, he is sick."

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