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Kwan second to Slutskaya

One month after failing to win the Olympic gold medal, Michelle Kwan is no longer even the world champion.

Kwan lost the title she held for the past two years, finishing second to Russia's Irina Slutskaya on Saturday at the World Figure Skating Championships.

"After the Olympics a lot of people decided not to come," Kwan said. "For me it is like, if you don't show up, you don't gain anything, but also don't lose anything. I gained a lot by coming here."

Not as much as Slutskaya, who beat Kwan for the fifth time this season to win her first world championship. Slutskaya had finished second to Kwan three times, including the last two years.

Kwan led at the Olympics after the short program but settled for the bronze medal when Slutskaya beat her out for second in the long program, giving the gold to American Sarah Hughes.

Hughes skipped the World Championships, citing lack of training after the Olympic triumph.

Fumie Suguri of Japan finished third and Sasha Cohen of the United States was fourth. American Jennifer Kirk withdrew with a hip injury before the free skating.

This was Kwan's seventh consecutive medal at the worlds. She has won four times and was the silver medalist in 1997 and 1999. It is the most medals for an American at the worlds.

"Of course, the Olympics didn't go 100 percent how I planned it," Kwan said. "But you move to the future and for me I feel the future is very bright."

Kwan is going into this season without a coach. She fired Frank Carroll in October and ended up without a world or Olympic figure skating title.

"I live with no regrets," Kwan said. "My parents have taught me that over the years. Whatever you do, make a decision and stick to it."

Slutskaya won the free skate ahead of Kwan although both did six triple jumps and didn't make a mistake. Slutskaya had six of nine firsts in the free skate to her routine from Tosca. She had all 5.8s and 5.9s except for a lone 5.7.

Kwan's routine to Scheherazade also had six triples, including two triple-double combinations like Slutskaya. But her landings were less secure than Slutskaya and the technical marks reflected it. Five of the technical marks were 5.7s, the rest 5.8s. Slutskaya had one 5.9 with seven 5.8s and the 5.7.

The championships ended with Russians taking three of the four titles.

Next year's championships are in Washington. Kwan and Slutskaya intend to stay eligible but did not commit to next year's competitive season.

"I know for sure I want to go back to school," said Kwan, who started at UCLA in 1999 but dropped classes the past year to concentrate on the Olympics. "I know I don't want to turn pro. I know I love competing."

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