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Bobek Struggles Through Free Skate
Associated Press
Friday, February 20, 1998; 7:14 a.m. EST

 nicole bobeck
 Nicole Bobeck's spirals — one of her strengths — were pretty to see, but she fell on both her triple Lutz and triple Salchow and finished in 17th. (Amy Sancetta/AP)
NAGANO, Japan — Nicole Bobek had another difficult Olympic performance today, falling twice and stepping out of two other jumps in her free skate.

Bobek broke down in tears Wednesday after finishing 17th in the short program — out of medal contention — and failing to complete any of her planned jumps. Today, she was clearly relieved that she was done, smiling and joking as she watched her marks.

Those marks ranged from 4.4 for technical merit to 5.2 for artistry.

"Write something nice please, and no pictures of falls,'' she said kiddingly.

"It was tough after the short. I really just wanted to give up and go home. I had a lot of people supporting me and telling me, 'It's all right, just go out there and go for it.' ''

Bobek, 20, the 1995 U.S. champion and bronze medalist at nationals this year, cut her first jump, a triple Lutz, to a double. She then stepped out of a triple flip, also putting her hand to the ice, before landing her only clean triple in her two routines, a loop.

Her combination spins weren't anything special, but her spirals — one of her strengths — were pretty to see. Not so pretty were the triple Lutz and triple Salchow. She fell on both.

She finished with a double toe loop instead of a triple as the music, "Victory March,'' wound down.

"Hopefully, people will remember me for how hard I tried,'' she said, "not how I did.''

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press

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