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U.S. pair solid sixth in world short program

March 23, 2010 |  4:25 pm

A strong performance in the short program put U.S. pairs champions Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett in sixth place at the World Figure Skating Championships in Turin, Italy, on Tuesday.
With a clean, lively interpretation of music from Stravinsky's "Firebird," the Floridians scored a career-best  60.52 points.

Although that left them more than eight points behind the fifth-place team, Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao of China, it was a marked improvement over their performance at the Olympics, where Denney and Barrett were 14th after the short program with 53.26 points.  They wound up 13th.

The second U.S. pair at the world championships, Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig, were ninth in Tuesday's short program at 57.74.

China's Pang Qing and Tong Xian, silver medalists at the Olympics, are the short-program leaders at 75.28.   Olympic champions Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo are not competing at the world championships.

Only three of the 13 teams that finished ahead of Denney and Barrett at the Olympics are missing from the world championships, giving their sixth place Tuesday more credibility.

Denney, 16, thought a previously undisclosed injury to her partner had been a factor in their poor Olympic performance.  She said Tuesday that Barrett had strained his ribs during a severe bout of coughing that resulted from an illness at January's U.S. championships.

"We were limited on some of our training," she said.  "When we got home from the OIympics, we were able to train and get back to our normal, daily regimen, so we were much better prepared coming into this competition."

-- Philip Hersh

Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett open their short program with an impressive triple twist, earning the fourth-highest score among the 25 pairs for that element.  Yuri Kadobnov / Getty Images