Jan Hoffmann of East Germany won a desperately close battle for the European Figure Skating Men's Championship in Zagreb on Thursday night (1 February, 1979).
Jan Hoffmann of East Germany won a desperately close battle for the European Figure Skating Men's Championship in Zagreb on Thursday night (1 February, 1979). He beat Russia's Vladimir Kovalev and Britain's Robin Cousins to give a repeat, in Yugoslavia, of last year's first three placings in Strasbourg, France.
SYNOPSIS: Placed sixth after the compulsory section of the championships on Tuesday (30 January 1979) and third following Wednesday's (31st January) short programme, twenty-one year old Cousins won this final free skating event by a side margin. But even this performance was not enough to make up for his earlier deficit. His outstanding musical sense and artistic skills won him the hearts of the audience and three "sixes" from the judges.
The Soviet skater, Vladimir Kovalev, scored fewer points than Cousins and had more`placements' but the judges' decision was final: Kovalev second, Cousins third.
Hoffmann, who took the lead from Kovalev on Wednesday (31 January, 1979), was his usual competent self in the free skating event, but commentators said that compared with Cousins his was a relatively unstylish programme. He made no serious errors but seemed to tire during the final minute of his five minute routine.
The controversy arising from the placings was expected to be settled when the three men meet again at the World Championships in Vienna next month (March 1979).