Todd Eldredge's steady, solid performance was enough to earn him his second straight men's championship Sunday at the 1991 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
Eldredge got first place votes from six of the nine judges and erased a loss to Christopher Bowman in Friday's men's short program. Bowman got only one first-place vote Sunday, finishing second in the freestyle and overall.Eldredge, Bowman and third-place finisher Paul Wylie will go to the World Championships in Munich next month. Wylie, a sentimental crowd favorite, got two first-place votes for his freestyle performance and bumped Mark Mitchell out of third place overall for the trip to Munich.
This year's nationals boiled down to a duel between Eldredge, the 1990 champion, and Bowman, the 1989 champ. Eldredge, 19, a low-key fisherman's son from Massachusettes, won by executing seven triple jumps and looking rock-solid on his other moves. It was unspectacular but proficient.
Bowman, 23, grew up in Hollywood and has a history of flashy moves. He let loose some showmanship to go with his high, impressive jumps but seemed slower than he was Friday and his usually top-notch marks on performance were slightly off Sunday.
Eldredge probably won on the strength of his two triple Axels, both done with aplomb. He received six 5.9's from the judges on technical merit.
"After the second triple Axel I was so relieved," Eldredge said. "It felt so good. I was confident about my skating. I was comfortable with myself."
It was an especially sweet win for Eldredge, confirming that his 1990 nationals win, with Bowman out with an injury, was not a fluke.
He said Sunday's performance erased all doubt that he could outduel Bowman.
"This might show everybody that's not true," Eldredge said. "I knew that wasn't the case. I knew I could do it. When I saw him skate, I knew I'd have to do the best I could to win, and I did."