Petkevich Gets Fifth In World Competition

John Misha Petkevich faltered in his specialty, the free skating, and ended up fifth overall in the world men's figure skating championships yesterday at Lyons France.

Petkevich, generally considered the most exciting free skater in the world, could only manage fourth in this part of the event. Last year he placed second. Petkevich was fifth Wednesday in the compulsory school figures, which constitute the other half of the championship.

Ondrej Nepal of Czechoslovakia turned in a flawless free skating performance, taking 5.9's (6.0 is perfect) from all the judges and won the men's title. Patrick Pera of Lyons. Sergei-Chetverukhin of Russia, and Jan Hoffman of East Germany were also ahead of Petkevich.

Petkevich was not pleased with his performance. He over-rated on a double Salchaw, a jump that is one of the most difficult parts of his program, and he threw a single Lutz instead of a double.

Not overly depressed about his loss. Peckevich seemed more concerned over the political implications of the judging.


Highlights from the world figure skating championships will appear on ABC's Wide World of Sports from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Sat, on Channel 7, Dick Button, who narrated the skating show at Harvard, will announce.

East Europeans dominated the panel.

The American team is so upset over Petkevich's plight that it is thinking of not accompanying the world figure skating tour, which mainly visits East European countries.

Ken Shelley of California and Gordie McKellen of New York finished eight and ninth respectively in the men's event.