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Totmianina doesn't remember fall

Canadian Press

10/25/2004 9:28:59 AM

PITTSBURGH (AP) - World champion pairs skater Tatiana Totmianina of Russia said Monday she still doesn't know what caused her to fall and sustain a concussion during a weekend skating program, though she says she doesn't fear going back on the ice.

``My head (is) in pain, my body (is) in pain, but I don't really know what happened,'' Totmianina said on CBS's The Early Show.

Totmianina fell face-first Saturday night when partner Maxim Marinin was performing a one-handed lift during the free skating program at Skate America. She was taken to the hospital and was released Sunday.

Dr. Larry Jones, chief of trauma at the hospital, said CT scans, X-rays and neurological tests were negative.

Totmianina, who had no other injuries in the fall at the Mellon Arena, and coach Oleg Vasiliev said they expect she could begin training again in Chicago in as little as 10 days.

``I'm not afraid,'' Totmianina said of getting back on the ice. ``I want to go right now.''

Marinin said he feels guilty about the fall.

``It was kind of a technical mistake, and I'm also not real clear ... what's happened because when you're in a stressful situation, competition, everything is like going very, very quickly and you do not realize what's going on,'' he said.

On Monday, Vasiliev criticized the organizers for not having an ambulance at the rink, saying Totmianina had to wait 20 minutes before an ambulance arrived.

Brian Chiera, Mellon Arena's assistant general manager, disputed Vasiliev's claim. He said there was an ambulance at the rink.

However, Chiera said the paramedics with that ambulance came inside the rink to assist Totmianina on the ice; a 911 call was placed for additional paramedics, who arrived and drove the ambulance into the arena.

Oleg Nilov, vice-president of the Russian figure skating federation, criticized new rules which he said were forcing skaters to increase the difficulty - and danger - of their programs, in order to gain better scores.

``In my opinion, (the rules) spoil the figure skating, and secondly, they lead to an unjustified risk pursuing many (difficult) elements, even acrobatic stunts,'' Nilov said.

Totmianina sported a bruise on her right eye, but joked with journalists Sunday about the move that led to her injury.

``Actually, it wasn't something unusual ... but it wasn't successful,'' she said. ``How it happened, I don't remember. ... Yesterday, I don't remember almost anything.''

Totmianina planned to rest in a hotel before returning to Chicago, where she trains.

``I think she needs to rest, one week at least - one week doing nothing, not reading, no television, no nothing,'' Vasiliev said Sunday.