CALGARY, Alberta -- Stephane Lambiel of Switzerland needed every element and every second of his free skate to hold off France's Brian Joubert and win his second straight World Figure Skating Championships title.
Lambiel capped a magnificent program last night with a quadruple toe loop and four triples in the second half of his routine to Vivaldi's ''Four Seasons." He finished it off with a sizzling spin that could have melted the ice, and the Saddledome fans were on their feet long before he stopped turning.
The final skater of the evening, Lambiel lingered on the ice raising his arms, pumping his fists, and throwing kisses to fans ringing cowbells and waving Swiss flags.
He barely edged Joubert in the free skate, but had a 3.39-point edge overall.
American Evan Lysacek, who won bronze a year ago, came back from a hard fall in warmups to excite the crowd with a performance to rival his strong free skate in the Olympics. That long program lifted Lysacek to fourth in Turin; this one got him another bronze.
''I always learn more about myself through adversity than when it is easy," he said. ''I relaxed and kind of went out there and went for it."
Joubert looked like he might become the first men's winner from France in 41 years. He was bitterly disappointed with his sixth-place finish at Turin, scrapped his long program and brought back ''The Matrix," with which he said he was ''more comfortable." It didn't work that well in qualifying, when he was third in his group, but after Joubert won the short program with a James Bond routine, he blew away everyone but Lambiel in the free skate.
Three-time US champion Johnny Weir barely made it off the ice holding his back and grimacing after crashing on a triple flip. He wound up seventh; he was fifth at the Olympics.
Matt Savoie, seventh at the Olympics, was 11th here.
Earlier, the original dance that catapulted Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto to the Olympic medals podium might have cost them a world championship. Their normally sultry salsa turned flat and they finished fourth in their strongest event. That dropped the Olympic silver medalists to fourth behind couples from Bulgaria, Canada, and France.
The three-time US champions weren't quite sure why their marks were low compared to Turin, where they rhumbaed their way to second in the original dance, and held that spot through the free dance.
''We felt a better connection with this program than in the Olympics," Belbin said. ''Our technical marks were high and we had all the levels we wanted."
''It's always a surprise when the numbers come up. You don't know what to expect," added Agosto, who shrugged when he saw they remained behind Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski of Bulgaria, and Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrick Lauzon of Canada. France's Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder also passed the Americans.
Belbin and Agosto skated without the normal passion and energy that highlights their OD. Perhaps being the favorites at worlds with Turin champions Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov absent hurt their performance.
Canada's Dubreuil and Lauzon dropped out of the Olympics after she injured her hip in a hard fall during the original dance. When the same moment of their program came up, the Saddledome grew quiet in anticipation.
After the slightly changed lift was done safely and impressively, the fans roared in salute.