CROWDED ICE

TWO YOUNG SKATERS WIN NATIONAL TITLES, BUT THEY FACE LOTS OF COMPETITION IN THE POST-KERRIGAN ERA

A few years from now, an event like the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, which ended a week ago in Providence, Rhode Island, may seem dated. A couple of hundred young people who have prevailed in regional contests slug it out for a national medal, with no monetary reward-how quaint. The nationals have always had pride of place, the only event in the sport to be regularly televised and, for an American skater, the imprimatur of success. Yes, there is a world championship, and every four years the perihelion of the Olympics. But to be national champ has meant being at the...

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