Medvedeva leads Russia 1-2-3 in European figure skating

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) Javier Fernandez of Spain took a huge step toward a fourth straight European title by winning the men's short program on Wednesday, the opening day of the European figure skating championships.

Skating to ''Malaguena'' performed by Paco de Lucia and Placido Domingo, Fernardez's opening quad-triple combination was not perfect, but the following quad salchow was.

For his impressive performance, Fernandez earned 102.54 points - the highest short program score ever at a European championships. It gave him a convincing lead of more than 14 points and improved his personal best of 96.42 by more than six points.

''I am really satisfied with my program today as I as it was the first time I got over 100 in an international competition, so it was really big for me,'' Fernandez said. ''I did a little step out on the quad-triple but I got a level 4 on the steps and spins.''

The free skate takes place on Thursday.

Russia's Maxim Kovtun, who took silver last year, finished second with 88.09, while Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic was third with 84.30.

Earlier Wednesday, Evgenia Medvedeva led a Russian sweep of the top three positions in the women's short program.

The Russians dominated even though defending champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva didn't make the team.

The free skate is scheduled for Friday.

Making her debut at the top continental competition, Medvedeva earned 72.55 points despite an uncertain landing of the double lutz.

''I was a bit more nervous than usual,'' Medvedeva said. ''The European championships are new for me. I did my job but I could have done better. Overall, I'm pleased because I thought through it.''

Elena Radionova, who took silver at last year's championships in Stockholm, was in second place with 70.96 points. Anna Pogorilaya was in third, more than seven points behind Radionova.

Roberta Rodeghiero of Italy received 61.01 for fourth, ahead of Angelina Kuchvalska of Latvia.

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