Dick Button won a unanimous first-place vote from all seven judges for his performance in the compulsory figures yesterday at Paris to virtually clinch his fifth straight world's figure skating championship. Sophomore Dudley Richards, American Junior Champion, placed third in the first day of the competition, which will be decided in the free-skating exhibition tonight.
Button's point total after the five compulsory figures was 111.4, while European champion Helmut Selbt placed second with 106.7 points. Richards was close behind the Austrian skater with 104.9 points. The compulsory figures count 60 percent of the whole competition.
Today's free skating is judged on originality as well as execution. In the compulsory figures, the performers are required to do a set routine, and it is judged on both form and perfection of the figures, which are carefully examined afterwards. In Button's Olympic victory last week he showed for the first time his "triple loop," and is expected to climax today's figures by repeating his unique maneuver.
Two other Americans, James Grogan of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Hayes Alan Jenkins of Akron, Ohio, placed fourth and fifth behind Richards. Button collected seven place points, Selbt 13, and Richards 21. In this category the lowest score is best.