Copyright 1999 Plain Dealer Publishing Co. The Plain Dealer View Related Topics December 15, 1999 Wednesday, FINAL / ALL SECTION: SPORTS; Pg. 3D LENGTH: 263 words HEADLINE: BOBEK'S BID FOR BYE IS REJECTED BYLINE: By AMY ROSEWATER; PLAIN DEALER REPORTER BODY: Any chance Nicole Bobek had of competing in the upcoming U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Cleveland ended yesterday when her application for a medical bye was rejected. The 1995 national champion and world bronze medalist requested a bye from sectional competition, a qualifier for nationals, because she had a sinus infection. Because she is not skating in sectionals and did not receive a medical bye to skip them, she cannot compete for the national title. The U.S. championships are Feb.6-13 in Gund Arena. "Unfortunately, you won't be seeing her in Cleveland," said Bill Fitzpatrick, chairman of a three-member competitions committee which reviewed Bobek's bye application. "She's a wonderful skater and we're never pleased when a talented skater can't compete. But basically because she has not skated in the past two years, we couldn't give her the bye. She had a complete void in the qualifying procedure." Fitzpatrick said he did not talk with Bobek but said her Florida-based coach, Kerry Leitch, thanked Fitzpatrick "for going through the process." Bobek missed the 1999 nationals in Salt Lake City with an ovarian cyst. This season, she skipped both of her international assignments in France and Germany when she said her white blood cell levels were low and she was too ill to compete. Shortly afterward, however, she skated in a made-for-TV event. She then entered the Canadian Open, a pro-am event, but withdrew during the warmups with a sinus infection. Her last nationals were in 1998 when she finished third and made the U.S. Olympic team.