Russian tops defending champ Joubert

Updated: January 27, 2005, 5:54 PM ET
Associated Press

TURIN, Italy -- Evgeni Plushenko of Russia captured the men's title for the fourth time Thursday at the European Figure Skating Championships with a solid but unspectacular program, rallying from a poor short program to defeat defending champion Brian Joubert of France.

Skating to a recent version of "The Godfather" theme song, Plushenko had a quad plus six triples and ended with a total of 227.14 points. The Russian made four minor errors, but his style made up for it, especially some dazzling footwork.

Joubert had a quad and seven triples. But a final attempt at another triple was a major mistake, and he ended with 224.43. He led Plushenko by less than two points entering the free skating under the new scoring system used at the European championships for the first time.

Plushenko was subdued when he saw the scores indicating he had defeated Joubert.

"I said to myself, 'I should fight with myself today,'" Plushenko said. "I didn't want to compete with Brian Joubert or anyone else. I competed against myself."

In the short program a day earlier, the Russian bungled a jump combination and had a flat performance, seeming uncomfortable throughout the competition

Third went to Stefan Lindemann of Germany, duplicating the result at the world championships last March.

"I don't have anything to regret," Joubert said. "I fought from beginning to end."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press