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Sports Words Monthly
January 2002
Vocabulary from the sporting news
  Irina Slutskaya
Figure skating
Lausanne in Switzerland is holding the European Figure Skating Championships. The events taking place will act as a mini-preview of what is to come at February's Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. This report from BBC Sport's James Cowling:

Even though a couple of potential Olympic gold medallists will be missing due to injury, the competition will be one of the highlights of the figure skating season. Reigning world champion Evgeni Plushenko of Russia has withdrawn from the competition, as he has been plagued by injury all season.

In his absence, compatriot Alexei Yagudin will be going for his third European title. The three times world champion is on a roll after defeating Plushenko at the Grand Prix of Figure Skating final in December. Yagudin will be using this competition as a warm-up before the Olympics, as he missed the Russian national championships a couple of weeks ago because of a twisted ankle.

The other withdrawals are Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze of Russia in the pair's event. The two-time world champions and reigning Olympic silver medallists pulled out because Berezhnaya is suffering from an ankle injury. With them out of the picture, the title is up for grabs.

Irina Slutskaya of Russia will be aiming for her fifth European ladies' title. Her main competition at this event will be former world champion Maria Butyrskaya, also from Russia. Slutskaya is gold medal favourite for next month's Winter Games along with Michelle Kwan of the United States. Although the Muscovite has only lost one event this year, her skating has been less than stellar.

The WordsListen
if someone is a potential champion then they have a good chance of winning

Reigning world champion
the person who won the championship the previous year and is therefore still the current champion

  plagued by injury
an athlete who is plagued by injury has had many injuries

on a roll
a period of a number of successes which gives an athlete confidence


out of the picture
not able to be in the competition

  up for grabs
available for anyone to win
someone who is expected to win is a favourite.
very good
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