Skating spotlight turns to USA's Hamilton, Sumners, and Zayak

The historic ice dancing performance of Great Britain's Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean has launched what promises to be a spectacular series of figure skating finals in the closing days of these 1984 Winter Olympics.

Torvill and Dean, who were virtually assured of the top placing after building a big lead in the compulsory figures and the short program, made it official with a brilliant free skating performance Tuesday night. To the delight of a wildly enthusiastic audience, the British couple made Olympic history by collecting 12 perfect 6.0 scores, including an incredible sweep of nine perfect marks for artistic impression.

Far behind in second place came the Soviet pair of Natalya Bestgemianova and Andrei Bukin, while the other Russian couple, Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomarenko just edged Americans Judy Blumberg and Michael Seibert for the bronze.

Now the spotlight turns to Scott Hamilton of the United States, another heavy pre-Olympics favorite who has also built a big advantage over his rivals in the compulsories and short program and seems a similar certainty for the gold in the men's long program tonight.

Meanwhile the more closely-contested women's competition got under way with compulsory figures Wednesday, to be followed by the short program today and the concluding long program Saturday night. World champion Rosalynn Sumners of the United States and her teammate Elaine Zayak, a former world titleholder, are expected to battle it out for the gold with East Germany's Katarina Witt.

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