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Miss Universe stripped of title

For the first time in its 52-year history, the Miss Universe Organization has fired the woman wearing its crown.

Oxana Fedorova, 24, a Russian law student, was ousted four months after she won the pageant, the organization said.

Spokeswoman Mary Hilliard McMillan said the organization would not comment on the reason until today, when the first runner-up, Miss Panama Justine Pasek, 22, is expected to be crowned.

Fedorova denied she had been fired and said she gave up the title herself.

"The duties of a world beauty are wonderful. However, my prime goal is my studies and career in Russia," Fedorova, who is pursuing a graduate degree in civil law, told RTR state television. "I know I will remain Miss Universe for Russian citizens and for myself."

Addressing what the network said were rumors that she had secretly married and was pregnant, Fedorova said: "I want a family, I love family, but it is a dream for me. I was never married. I have not had children. I hope that this dream will come true in the future."

Miss Universe cannot be married or have children, according to pageant rules.

Tuesday 24th September 2002

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