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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ukrainian Wins Men's Title At European Championships

SOFIA, Bulgaria -- Ukraine's Viacheslav Zagorodniuk has emerged from the shadow of former Soviet and Ukraine peers to win his first major title at the European Figure Skating Championships.


Zagorodniuk landed six triple jumps cleanly Thursday, less than a few others in the final free skate worth 50 percent of the total score. But his polished routine in a dress cadet uniform to music by Chopin earned him the best overall marks, including a string of 5.8s and 5.9s for artistic impression.


The 23-year-old from Odessa had taken a bronze and silver the two previous years in the Europeans and skated often in the shadow of 1992 Olympic champion Viktor Petrenko when both competed for the Soviet Union and later Ukraine.


"I was trying to show how a solider feels when he receives a letter from his beloved," Zagorodniuk said.


Russians took second and third, although the runner-up was a surprise. Igor Pashkevitch moved up to second ahead of defending champion Ilya Kulik who scaled down five triples to doubles in his program and was fortunate to salvage third.


Steven Cousins of Britain, third entering the night, dropped to fourth with France's Philippe Candeloro fifth.