'Miss Universe' is a Shooting Enthusiast!

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edited May 2002 in General Discussion
Raven-Haired Miss Russia Is Miss Universe
Thu May 30, 1:13 AM ET
By Frances Kerry

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (Reuters) - Miss Russia, raven-haired post-graduate student Oxana Fedorova, won the Miss Universe (news - web sites) 2002 title at a glittering ceremony in Puerto Rico on Wednesday night, sweeping away a field of 74 other candidates with her elegance and charm.


Reuters Photo

Miss Universe Pageant

In second place was Miss Panama, Justine Pasek, while Miss China, Ling Zhuo, finished third. China, the world's most populous nation, had never sent a contestant to the glitzy pageant before.

The winners were announced at the end of a gala night of parades in figure-hugging swim suits and shimmering evening gowns in San Juan, capital of the U.S. Caribbean territory of Puerto Rico.

Crowned with a diamond and pearl-encrusted crown and smiling hugely, 24-year-old green-eyed Fedorova walked the catwalk before a cheering crowd and then launched within minutes into her year of flashing cameras and celebrity.

It was the first time a Miss Russia had won the contest, which is run by the Miss Universe Organization, jointly owned by property tycoon Donald Trump and CBS Television .

Fedorova, who has a law degree and is working on a doctoral law thesis on civil law at the Russian Ministry of Interior University, gushed to reporters about how happy she felt. Speaking in Russian and using a translator, she smilingly noted she wanted to improve her English.

Visa problems meant she arrived a bit late in Puerto Rico for the three-week run-up to the contest, Fedorova said, so the national pageant director told her "either you won't get there at all or you will win Miss Universe.

The results were decided by how each of the leading five women in the contest responded to a series of questions, ending with one they all had to answer -- "what makes you blush?"

"When I say the wrong things, " said Fedorova, to the laughter of more than 6,000 festive pageant-goers in the packed Robert Clemente Coliseum.

Fedorova looked stunning, but with her academic credentials and poise, she has the sort of accomplishments Miss Universe organizers say they look for to get beyond an image of a pageant queen as focused on looks alone.

A show business perennial launched by a swimsuit company 51 years ago, the event draws a global television audience that organizers estimate at 600 million people in 176 countries.

Fedorova, statuesque in a floating white dress on Wednesday night, is a volleyball and shooting enthusiast who lives in St. Petersburg. She wants to own her own law firm one day.

She won a year's salary, a wardrobe allowance, use of an apartment in New York and travel and public engagements around the world that include fund-raising for AIDS (news - web sites) research. Travel starts with a trip to Kenya in two weeks' time.

"I really want to be associated with children's causes," said Fedorova. "Today's girls are tomorrow's mothers; they need to be taken care of."

Puerto Rico's Denise Quinones won last year's contest, also held in San Juan, to the joy of many on this island of 3.8 million people. The flag-waving crowd cheered Quinones on her on her last walk as Miss Universe on Wednesday night.

The contestants spent three weeks practicing for the contest and taking part in preliminary rounds that narrowed the field down to just 10 of the 75 contestants. Those were not announced until the contest was underway on Wednesday night.

Then those 10 were winnowed down to five women, who faced a test of quick wits and steel nerves to answer questions in a matter of seconds -- and show a bit of style at the same time.

Panama's Justine Pasek, a 22-year-old model, won huge cheers when asked the question "what other country would you like to represent?"

"I would love to represent Puerto Rico," she said. "I am very grateful to this enchanting land."

Salsa star Marc Anthony warmed the crowd with two songs, acrobats soared overhead between parades and the family of Miss Ecuador, Isabel Ontaneda Pinto, brought 3,000 roses for women in the audience, making for a night on the town in San Juan.

But Wednesday night's result was a surprise -- and something of a disappointment for many in the audience, who had favored Miss Dominican Republic, the bubbly beauty Ruth Ocumarez, or their own Miss Puerto Rico, Isis Marie Casalduc. Neither of them made it to the final 10 contestants.

"It was disappointing," said Carmen Rodriguez, 65, from San Juan. "We wanted Isis to win."

"But Miss Russia is very beautiful, and I liked her reply about what made her blush, which was very sincere."

photo's http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=index&cid=702


"If cowardly and dishonorable men sometimes shoot unarmed men with army pistols or guns, the evil must be prevented by the penitentiary and gallows, and not by a general deprivation of a constitutional privilege." - Arkansas Supreme Court, 1878
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