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Russia's Brusnikina Takes Solo Synchro Crown -- July 19, 2001

FUKUOKA, Japan. July 19. RUSSIA'S Olga Brusnikina won the synchronized swimming solo gold medal at the World Championships today to give her a full set of major titles.

The 22-year-old Russian won the gold with a combined points score of 99.434 after a near-perfect final performance.

France's Virginie Dedieu finished second with 98.287 to take silver for the second time in a row. She finished second to another Russian, Olga Sedakova, at the 1998 World Championships in Perth, Australia.

Miya Tachibana of Japan also matched her performance from the 1998 championships, finishing with the bronze after a score of 97.870.

Although Brusnikina teamed up with Sedakova to win the duet title in Perth and already holds the European and Olympic titles, this was her first solo world victory.

She was ahead on points going into the final round and won easily, impressing the 10 judges with her routine.

Three of the five judges awarded her a perfect 10 for technical merit while three more judges gave her full marks for artistic impression.

"I was extremely nervous," Brusnikina said. "It felt like ages until I heard that I was the gold medalist, but I am so happy."

Dedieu also received a perfect 10 from the Canadian judge, Sandra Roberts, for artistic impression but was too far behind to challenge Brusnikina.

"This is the first time I've got a 10 in a big competition so I'm very happy," she said.

The USA's Anna Kozlova, a Russian immigrant ho became an American citizen too late to qualify for the 2000 Olympics, was fourth.

Brusnikina's coach Elena Polyanskaya commented on the solo final.

"The level of the swimmers is extremely high now. There are many swimmers with interesting routines and every year their number is increasing. But there are only three medal positions that traditionally go to Russia, Japan, France, or the USA.

"What is needed for success is a very high technical level. A few years ago it was enough to have several ultra-difficult elements or connections of elements, between which a swimmer just swam. Now all routines of the best athletes are filled with difficulty from beginning till end without any pause. And this makes them stand out from the others.

"The second important thing is the choice of music. You may chose some lyrical songs (for example, like Korean Yoon Kyeong Jang did), but such programs look sometimes like yesterday’s swimming. The preferable music of today is rhythmic because rhythm (especially strict and fast) makes the composition spectacular and more impressive. This is not easy, but gives a certain advantage, if the program is well done.

"Of course this is not a general rule. If the coach is sure that his swimmer can technically do everything, he can follow his own ideas — to choose national melodies, popular songs, classics, etc. This is what was chosen this year by Polyanskaya for Brusnikina. She took Sheherezada’s image just because they both like this experiment with an eastern theme."


9th FINA WORLD SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS
SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMING SOLO FINAL
RESULTS

Rank Nation Name YB Pen. Score 100%

-------------------------------------------------------

1 RUS BRUSNIKINA Olga 78 TM 10.0 10.0 10.0 9.9 9.9 60% 59.800 99.667 34.650
AI 9.9 10.0 10.0 9.9 10.0 40% 39.867 64.784 99.434


2 FRA DEDIEU Virginie 79 TM 9.9 9.9 9.9 9.8 9.8 60% 59.200 98.800 34.067
AI 10.0 9.9 9.9 9.8 9.9 40% 39.600 64.220 98.287


3 JPN TACHIBANA Miya 74 TM 9.8 9.8 9.9 9.7 9.7 60% 58.600 97.800 34.300
AI 9.8 9.8 9.8 9.7 9.9 40% 39.200 63.570 97.870


4 USA KOZLOVA Anna 72 TM 9.7 9.7 9.7 9.6 9.6 60% 58.000 96.800 33.623
AI 9.7 9.7 9.7 9.6 9.8 40% 38.800 62.920 96.543


5 CAN CARVER-DIAS Claire 77 TM 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.5 60% 57.000 95.267 33.390
AI 9.6 9.6 9.5 9.4 9.7 40% 38.267 61.924 95.314


6 ESP MENGUAL Gemma 77 TM 9.6 9.6 9.6 9.5 9.5 60% 57.400 95.667 32.958
AI 9.5 9.7 9.6 9.5 9.6 40% 38.267 62.184 95.142


7 CHN LI Yuanyuan 76 TM 9.5 9.4 9.4 9.4 9.3 60% 56.400 94.000 32.737
AI 9.4 9.5 9.4 9.3 9.4 40% 37.600 61.100 93.837


8 ITA BALLAN Giada 73 TM 9.4 9.4 9.3 9.3 9.2 60% 56.000 93.067 32.550
AI 9.3 9.4 9.3 9.2 9.2 40% 37.067 60.494 93.044