Italy’s Carolina Kostner leads world figure skating championship in Milan

Italian veteran Carolina Kostner outshone newly-crowned Olympic champion Alina Zagitova to grab a slender lead after the women's short programme at the world figure skating championships in Milan on Wednesday.

Italy's Carolina Kostner leads world figure skating championship in Milan
Carolina Kostner performs in Milan. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

Zagitova, 15, bidding to top a golden debut to her first senior season in which she has won every competition, including gold in Pyeongchang four weeks ago, trails the 31-year-old Italian by a slim 0.76 points.

Kostner – competing in her 14th world championships – skated faultlessly to Celine Dion's Ne me quitte pas, hitting all her elements to score a new personal best 80.27 points, to the delight of the home crowd.

Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

Zagitova produced an elegant and solid performance to Black Swan, but looked shocked as she saw her score of 79.51 points appear – well below the world record 82.92 she achieved in South Korea.

“Honestly I was more nervous here than at the Olympic Games,” said the teenager from Moscow. “It was very difficult to go back training after the Olympic. I took time to recover.

“I was very nervous because it is my first world championships. Every competition I'm learning something new.”

She added: “Today I felt somewhat tight in my body. I think it was nerves, but I was happy I was able to give a clean performance. There were a few little mistakes but nothing serious.”

On her home ice, Kostner was in reflective mood as she looked back to her first worlds back in Washington in 2003.

Kostner performing in 2012, the year she won a world championship. Photo: Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP

Kostner has six world medals – including the gold in 2012 – with her first a bronze in 2005. She also won Olympic bronze in Sochi 2014.

“In the middle of the programme there's a passage where there is silence,” said Kostner, who finished fifth in Pyeongchang.

“I thought back to 15 years ago when I started skating internationally. Nobody in Italy followed figure skating.

“I feel so happy that people are sharing this passion with me.”

Japan's Satoko Miyahara, a former world silver medallist, is sitting third with 74.36 going into Friday's free skate. Olympic bronze medallist Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada is fourth.



Romanian billionaire and seven others die in Milan plane crash

A light aircraft piloted by Romanian billionaire Dan Petrescu crashed into an empty office building near Milan on Sunday, killing him, his wife and son, and all five others aboard.

Police and rescue teams outside the office building where a small plane crashed in the Milan suburb of San Donato.
Police and rescue teams outside the office building where a small plane crashed in the Milan suburb of San Donato on October 3rd. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

The single-engine Pilatus PC-12 had taken off from Milan’s Linate airport shortly after 1pm headed for Olbia in the north of the Italian island of Sardinia.

It crashed just a few minutes later into a building in San Donato Milanese, a town southeast of Milan, according to aviation agency ANSV, which has opened an investigation.

Witnesses said the plane was already in flames before it crashed into an office building undergoing renovations.

Petrescu’s 65-year-old wife, who also had French nationality, and their son Dan Stefano, 30, were killed.

Italian media identified the other passengers as entrepreneur Filippo Nascimbene, a 33-year-old from Lombardy, with his wife, young son and mother-in-law, who have French nationality.

Petrescu, 68, was one of Romania’s richest men. He headed a major construction firm and owned a string of hypermarkets and malls. He also held Germany nationality, the Corriere della Sera newspaper reported.

Flames engulfed the two-storey building, next to the yellow line subway terminus.

“The impact was devastating,” Carlo Cardinali, of the Milan fire brigade, told news agency Ansa.

Deputy prosecutor Tiziana Siciliano was quoted by Corriere as saying that the plane’s black box had been recovered.