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U.S. pair gains, but remains far from world skating elite

By Philip Hersh

Despite his fall on their opening side-by-side triple jumps, the U.S. pair of Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett finished a respectable seventh at the world championships Wednesday in Turin, Italy.

It was two places better than their finish at the 2009 worlds and six better than their 13th at the 2010 Olympics. Three teams that finished ahead of them in Vancouver did not compete at the world championships.

Of course, even an 11-point improvement on their previous personal best score still left the U.S. champions looking like a triple-A team compared to the big leaguers in the top five.  Reason for optimism: this was only their second full year skating together. 

Denney-Barrett's 172.47 was 23 points behind fifth finishers Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao of China, 31 points behind bronze medalists Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov of Russia and nearly 40 behind new world champions  Pang Qing and Tong Jian of China.

The other U.S. team, Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig, were 9th at 165.96, meaning the U.S. will have two pairs spiots again at the 2011 worlds.

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