Chi­nese duo, North Korea skaters se­duce in pairs

Kuwait Times - - Sports -

GANGNEUNG: Chi­nese duo Sui Wen­jing and Han Cong se­duced the judges and fans on St Valen­tine’s Day in the Olympic pairs yes­ter­day. World cham­pi­ons Sui and Han pro­duced a per­sonal best to lead the short pro­gramme ahead of to­day’s free skate.

Their rou­tine to Leonard Co­hen’s Hal­lelu­jah earned 82.39 points to give them a slen­der cush­ion. Sui dis­closed that nerves had al­most got the better of her. “I was very emo­tional to­day. Even when I was putting on my make-up, I was al­ready cry­ing. I just felt very ner­vous. But after we got on the ice and fin­ished our rou­tine I re­alised there’s all there is to it.” Less than a point adrift after de­liv­er­ing their own ca­reer best came Ev­ge­nia Tara­soza and Vladimir Moro­zov.

The dou­ble Euro­pean cham­pi­ons are rid­ing a crest of a wave after help­ing Olympic Ath­letes from Rus­sia claim their first sil­ver of the Games in the team event. Team gold went to Canada, in large part thanks to the ef­forts of Mea­gan Duhamel and Eric Rad­ford, who sit third.

Rad­ford, the first openly gay Olympic gold medal­list, and Duhamel, are al­most five points back after their dance to the U2 an­them With Or With­out You. Duhamel had a mini-mo­bile drama be­fore skat­ing, drop­ping her phone into a toi­let bowl on her way to the rink.

“That’s right. No better way to hum­ble me be­fore the big­gest skate of my life,” she tweeted. She later mar­velled at how the stan­dard in pairs had sky rock­eted.

‘RIDICU­LOUS MIS­TAKE’

“The fact that you need to score over 63 to make the long pro­gramme just shows that. Not too long ago, we scored 63 points and it got us fifth in the world in the short pro­gramme.” In fourth came Ger­many’s Aljona Savchenko, hop­ing to fi­nally hit the pairs jack­pot at her fifth Win­ter Games, with her French-born part­ner Bruno Mas­sot. They hold the world record in free skate but will need a huge per­for­mance on Thurs­day to trou­ble the top three after Mas­sot down­graded a triple sal­chow to a dou­ble. “It was not hard, phys­i­cally at least. I don’t know what hap­pened,” Mas­sot said. “We came for the gold, not for an­other medal. These are the Olympic Games, that hap­pen only ev­ery four years and I can­not ac­cept that I have made this ridicu­lous mis­take.”

North Korean skaters Ryom Tae-Ok and Kim Ju-Sik were cel­e­brat­ing the best per­for­mance of their lives, fin­ish­ing 11th and join­ing the top 16 in go­ing through to the free skate. Sup­ported by the 200plus strong band of North Korean cheer­lead­ers, Ryom and Kim wowed the crowd with an excellent ex­e­cu­tion of their short pro­gramme to the Bea­tles clas­sic A Day In The Life.

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