Weir takes slim lead

The Baltimore Sun

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The top two men at the U.S. figure skating championships shared one trait last night: a bad case of nerves.

But defending champion Evan Lysacek and the man he beat last year, Johnny Weir, pulled themselves together long enough to complete their short programs and set up a title showdown tomorrow.

Weir, the three-time champion, holds a lead of less than two points over Lysacek after a mistake-free performance that opened with a triple-triple jump and tacked on two more triples for a score of 83.40.

Weir said his third-place finish last year pushed him to do better. "I didn't want to be the fluke kid and the kid who chokes under pressure. It's a constant battle," he said.

Lysacek two-footed the landing on a quadruple jump and completed a double, rather than a triple, toe jump. He finished second in the 18-man field (82.05).

Afterward, a shaking Lysacek confessed that the hours leading up to his performance were "nerve-racking."

Stephen Carriere, the reigning junior world champion, is in third, with 76.66.

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