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Preaubert says he's fit to compete

French bronze medalist practices well despite injury

Alban Préaubert struggled at Euros, but he's healthy now and ready to compete at worlds.
Alban Préaubert struggled at Euros, but he's healthy now and ready to compete at worlds. (Getty Images)

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By Lynn Rutherford, special to icenetwork.com
(03/19/2008) - Just three weeks ago, Alban Préaubert was off the ice, resting his injured back, and he was still uncertain as to whether or not he'd be able to participate in the 2008 ISU World Figure Skating Championships this week.

Now, with the benefit of some medical injections, he's practicing in Gothenburg.

"I had a back injury, so it was difficult to prepare [for worlds]," Préaubert said at the men's short program draw Wednesday.

"I had to stop skating for one week. I had to have an injection in my back, and I could not train with the pain. It has not been easy, but I really wanted to come here."

The French bronze medalist, who placed 11th at the 2007 World Championships in Tokyo, joins defending world champion Brian Joubert and French silver medalist Yannick Ponsero on the French men's team.

Préaubert stressed that he would not have entered the event if he had not thought he could compete well.

"I am able to do good things and skate good programs," said the 22-year-old. "Otherwise, my substitute, Kim Lucine, would have come. I would have been a good sportsman about the situation.

"My triple Axel is OK; my triple-triple [combinations] are very good. When I do run-throughs of my programs, I am not too tired."

The skater comes to worlds armed with a new short program, one that his coach, Annick Dumont, together with an off-ice dance teacher, choreographed to Gary Moore's "Parisian Walkways."

"I like this new program very much," said Préaubert. "We decided to make the change just after Europeans. It is in a different style, more romantic, more in the way [to maximize points] in the judging system."

The Frenchman placed a disappointing 11th at the 2008 European Championships this January; he had been sixth the previous season. According to Dumont, many judges and officials did not approve of his rather eccentric short program, choreographed last summer by Nikolai Morozov to music from the soundtrack of The Addams Family.

Préaubert had hoped to show his "Parisian Walkways" program at the recent AEGON Challenge Cup in The Hague, but he decided against testing his back that soon.

"I was off the ice the week before that competition, so I preferred to train quietly in serenity at home," he explained.

"I was not ready then, but I feel ready now."