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2022 Olympic Winter Games

by Klaus-Reinhold Kany

Alexa Knierim & Brandon Frazier



ROC and China in Virtual Tie in Pairs Short Program

(19 Feb. 2022)  The pairs short program had a very good level.  The top nine pairs including the two U.S. teams gave very good performances and came near their best.

Two times World Champions and 2018 Olympic silver medalists Wenjing Sui & Cong Han from China took the lead with an outstanding and speedy program and a new world record of 84.41 points. All seven elements were outstanding, five of them were even awarded with some GOEs of +5: the triple throw flip, the triple twist, the lift, the step sequence and the backward outward death spiral, all with level 4. The side by side triple toe loop and the parallel spin were excellent as well. They skated to the orchestra suite of the TV series “Mission Impossible.“ The components had an average level of 9.6, with three 10.0. The linking steps were excellent, their interpretation as well.

Han commented, “We performed our best at the Olympics in our home country. It laid a good foundation for our free skating tomorrow. We will prepare properly and enjoy the Olympic stage and the different feelings it brings.” Sui added, “It wasn’t really about the world record but our joy on the ice as well as to amaze the audience, judges and whoever watches our competitions. In the last group only we had an Olympic medal in the individual event. This is where we are coming from and why we were able to put on a good short program.“

Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov from Moscow were outstanding as well and are second in a tight decision with 84.25 points. They also had more points than the previous record. Competing to “Pygmalion and Galatea,“ the name thay give their program to “Metamorphosis Two“ by Philip Glas and to “Experience“ by Ludovico Einaudi, they even had 0.08 more technical points than the Chinese pair, but 0.24 lower component points. Their best element was the triple twist as usual, this time with eight GOEs of +5. Their triple throw loop has a base value of 5.0, .30 points less than the throw flip of the Chinese pair, but they got seven GOEs of +5. Four other elements were outstanding and all had level 4. The triple toe loop was only good with GOEs of mainly +2. Their components were around 9.5 with two 10.0.

Morozov explained, “I think we just felt relief that we finished the short program. We delivered and we are happy with how we skated and the results were good as well. We had some good and not so good competitions during the season. We kept improving and we worked towards the Olympic Games and we showed the result of our work today.”

Anastasia Mishina & Aleksandr Galliamov from St. Petersburg in Russia, World Champions in 2021 and European Champions in 2022, sit third with 82.76 points. Their elements were at least very good, the best was the triple throw flip with six GOEs of +5. Their components were around 9.4. Galliamov said, “We got a seasons best, we did all we had, we will go through it with our coaches later, now we will just rest and start fresh tomorrow from scratch. Participating in the team event was helpful for us. It was nice skating in that wonderful atmosphere and we felt the ice before our individual performance, it was like a practice today.” Mishina added, “It's the usual gap of ten days since the Team Event between competitions, so we skated like we were at a new event, We take it easy, we don't expect some super comfortable conditions, we have great ice and a great village.”

The third Russian pair of Aleksandra Boikova & Dmitrii Kozlovskii, also from St. Petersburg, placed fourth with 78.59 points. They skated to “Swan Lake“ by Peter Tchaikovsky. Six elements were at least very good, including the side by side triple Salchow. But Boikova touched down on the triple throw flip which still got GOEs of mainly +1. Their components were around 9.1. The second Chinese pair of Cheng Peng & Yang Jin are fifth, earning 76.10 points and competing a faultless program with mainly GOEs of +3 to a modern and vocal version of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata,“ sung by Alicia Keys. Their components were around 8.8.

Both U.S. pairs gave excellent and fresh performances in good speed. Alexa Knierim & Brandon Frazier of Irvine, California, are on sixth position with 74.23 points and skated to “House of the Rising Sun.“ Six elements were very good, including the triple throw flip. The triple toe loop had no ideal landing, but it was on one foot. The triple throw flip and the triple twist were their best elements with GOEs mainly of +3. Their components had an average of 8.4.

Ashley Cain-Gribble & Timothy  Leduc of Euless, a suburb of Dallas, Texas, came very close to their teammates and sit seventh with 74.13 points. They were the only pair to skate a side by side triple loop which worked well. Their best element was the step sequence, but Cain-Gribble landed the triple throw Lutz on two feet. They used the soundtrack of “The White Crow“ about the Russian ballet dance Nureev. Their components were around 8.5 and should have been higher. Cain-Gribble explained, "In the last 24 hours I've been able to get all the care I need to put on a strong performance today. We were like, 'It's been six years of work to get here', and we weren't going to let any moment get away from us,” She referred to an ankle injury which she suffered during the week before. This was the main reason why they did not compete in the team event.

Riku Miura & Ryuichi Kihara from Japan, who train with Bruno Marcotte in Oakville, Canada, placed eighth with 70.85 points and six very good elements, but she doubled the toe loop. Karina Safina & Luka Berulava from Georgia are on ninth position with 66.11 points. Nicole Della Monica & Matteo Guarise from Italy sit tenth with 63.58 points after she fell on the triple throw loop. Vanessa James and Eric Radford from Canada are 12th with 63.03 points after she doubled the toe loop. The other Canadian pair of Kirsten Moore-Towers is 13th with 62.51 points after both skaters fell on the triple throw loop. It is not the first time he made this mistake.

Only 18 instead of 19 pairs competed because the Hungarian male skater Mark Magyar was tested positive on Covid-19 after the arrival in Beijing two days before the competition. He therefore could not compete with Ioulia Chtchetinina, who has beside the Hungarian also the Russian citizenship and competed for Switzerland for some years. The Czech pair Elizaveta Zukova & Martin Bidar and the Austrian pair Miriam Ziegler & Severin Kiefer did not reach the final.