J. Barry Mittan, the Electronic Photojournalist

Hungary's Diana Poth Makes a Splash on World Scene by J. Barry Mittan (1998)

Diana Poth is the latest Worlds contender to come out of Hungary. Like Krisztina Czako before her, Poth has made an impact at Worlds, finishing tenth in her first appearance in 1998 and 11th in 1999. "Worlds is my favorite competition because I have my best results there," she said. Poth has never done well in the fall internationals, finishing seventh at Skate Canada and sixth at Trophee Lalique in 1998, but seems to peak for Europeans and Worlds. Her goals for 1999 included finishing in the top ten at Europeans, a feat that she accomplished with a strong fourth place showing. She hopes to compete at Worlds in Australia in 2000, but noted that "I want to do the best that I can, but it's hard to win in Hungary." Poth finished second to Czako from 1996 to 1998 before winning this year and is now being challenged by Julia Sebestyn, who finished 17th at Worlds.

Poth is a strong jumper who includes a triple toe loop/triple toe loop in her short and free programs. At the 1999 Worlds in Helsinki, Poth was the only woman to successfully land a triple-triple combination in the technical. She also does a triple lutz/double loop, a triple flip/double loop and a double axel/double toe loop combination. "The triple lutz is my hardest jump," she said. "I haven't tried a triple axel." This year, Poth is skating to "Black Velvet" in the short and "Gone With the Wind" for the long. "I saw the movie last year and liked the music," she stated. "I always pick my own music. I like modern pop music, but not techno." Poth also designs her own costumes.

Poth started skating when she was five. "My father was a hockey player and my mother wanted me to be a sportswoman so she let me try different sports. I tried swimming, tennis and figure skating. I liked tennis and skating the best," she said. "There are no pairs in Hungary and I don't really like ice dancing, so I skate by myself," she continued. Poth trains with Andras Szaraz and Eszter Jurek in Budapest. Both Tamara Teglassy and Monika Monostovi choreograph her programs. She works for about 20 hours on ice and four hours off ice each week, which includes some ballet and some running. Last season, she also spent part of the summer training in Simsbury, Connecticut.

Still a high school student, the 17-year-old Poth plans to attend university next year and begin studying to become a coach. "I plan to compete until 2002 for sure, then I want to go professional, do some shows and tours, then coach," she said.

Diana likes to swim during the summer and almost always has a tan. "I love going to the beach on holiday. Any beach -- it doesn't matter where," she stated. To relax, she likes going to movies, watching television, and going to dog shows. She has three dogs and a cat and collects stuffed dogs.

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