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KWAN SCORES PERFECT 4.0 IN CLASSROOM

Michelle Kwan, who attained perfection on the ice earlier this year, was perfect in the classroom as well.

Kwan, the 17-year-old figure skater who received a record 15 perfect 6.0 scores at the 1998 U.S. Championships, learned this week she earned straight A's and a perfect 4.0 grade-point-average this semester.

A high school senior, Kwan's cumulative GPA (grades 9-12) now is 3.5. She is privately tutored through an independent study program at Rim of the World High School in Lake Arrowhead, Calif.

Kwan, who will graduate in June, plans to take college courses next fall while continuing to skate.

Elsewhere, the World Figure Skating Championships took another hit Friday when Olympic men's champion Ilya Kulik of Russia withdrew with a back injury.

Kulik's absence means three of the four gold medalists at last month's Winter Olympics will not be skating in the meet that begins Sunday in Minneapolis.

Women's champion Tara Lipinski of the U.S. (fatigue and illness) and dance champions Pasha Grishuk-Evgeny Platov of Russia (turning pro) are the other absentees.

Kulik, 20, the third youngest men's Olympic champion in history, may leave Olympic-style skating for a purely professional career after he recovers.

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