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Self-trained Bui bags championship adult gold title

Ho brings home silver; Kim takes bronze; Hemingway captures pewter

Tam Bui, skating in his own costume, topped the field by 3.13 points in Scottsdale.
Tam Bui, skating in his own costume, topped the field by 3.13 points in Scottsdale. (Jay Adeff)

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By Barb Reichert, special to icenetwork.com
(04/13/2013) - When Tam Bui took the ice Saturday, his speed, energy and jumping ability quickly set him apart from the field of 12 in the championship adult gold men's competition at the 2013 U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Bui, who has been training "off and on" for the past 11 years as an independent skater, scored 36.88 points to earn the gold medal. Ken Ho (Pittsburgh FSC), the 2012 pewter medalist, skated a strong and entertaining program to earn the silver with 33.75 points. The bronze went to Brian Kim (Escondido FSC), whose 33.04 points included the highest presentation scores of the competition. Diego Hemingway (All Year FSC 32.30) earned the pewter.

Bui opened his Pirates of the Caribbean program with an Axel-toe loop-double Salchow combination, sending the crowd into wild applause. His spins were tight and crisp, whipping his long bangs across his face.

"I felt good, but I really felt like I had to fight for everything," Bui said.

Bui, who designs his own costumes, said he is self-trained, learning over the years from YouTube videos and training during $4 public skate sessions.