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2022 Olympic Winter Games

by Klaus-Reinhold Kany



Team Event After Day 1

(5 Feb 2022)  Day 1 of the figure skating competitions at the Olympic Games 2002 in Beijing brought the short program of the men and the pairs and the Rhythm Dance of the teams. They were held even before the opening ceremony of the Games. The USA and not Russia took the lead with 28 points, which is a small surprise. Nathan Chen won the men’s short program and won 10 points, which could be expected if he makes no big mistake. The victory of Madison Hubbell & Donohue Zachary (10 points) over the reigning ice dance World Champions Victoria Sinitsina & Nikita Katsalapov from Russia, however, is a surprise. And in the pairs short program, Alexa Knierim & Brandon Frazier took third place (8 points), which is the best possible position if everything runs normal, which happened. Provisional second is Russia with 26 points ahead of China with 21 points, Japan with 20 points and Italy with 18 points.

Short Program Men

Nathan Chen opened his short program to “La Bohème“ by French-Armenian singer Charles Aznavour with an excellent quad flip, followed by a very good triple Axel. The three spins (all with level 4) were impressive as well. The step sequence (also level 4) even had three GOEs of +5 and six GOEs of +4. In the second half, he performed a very good combination of quad Lutz and triple toe loop. His components had an average of 9.6 with one perfect 10.0 from the Russian judge for interpretation of the music. 111.76 points were a personal best for Chen.

"As we've seen since 2018 (Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018), even if someone doesn't have the best skate, we have an incredibly strong team to back us all up. That's certainly the case this time around. I'm happy I did my part and skated as good as I can,"  Chen said of his performance.  And of

Team U.S.'s  medal chances he said, "We can walk away with a medal for sure. What color? It's hard to say, but I have faith in my teammates and I know they're going to do the best they can do."

While it had been assumed prior to the Games that Chen would only skate the team short program, skating the free program remains a possibility."There's a lot of different variables in play. I don't even know exactly what team is going to be put out for the free program, so it's hard to say," he said.  "Either way is cool for me. We have a really strong team, so we have a lot of chess pieces to play with, and whatever is the strongest piece at that time is the strongest piece at that time."

Shoma Uno from Japan finished second, earning 105.46 points. His quad flip was excellent, his combination of quad toe loop and triple toe loop very good and his triple Axel outstanding. His components were around 9.3 with two 10.0 from the Japanese judge. The new European champion Mark Kondratiuk from Russia is third with 95.81 points. His quad toe loop was almost clean, his triple Axel good and his combination of quad Salchow and triple toe loop very good. His components were around 8.6. Morisi Kvitelashvili from Georgia came fourth with 92.37 points. His combination of quad Salchow and triple toe loop as well as his quad toe loop were good, his triple Axel a bit shaky.

Daniel Grassl from Italy placed fifth with 88.10 points. His quad Lutz got a small edge warning and was near an under-rotation. His combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop was good, like his triple Axel. Boyang Jin from China is sixth with 82.87 points after performing a so-so combination of quad Lutz and double toe loop and falling on the quad toe loop. Michal Brezina from the Czech Republic is seventh after popping the Salchow which was planned quadruple. Roman Sadovsky from Canada finished on eighth position with 71.06 points. Canada’s champion Keegan Messing could not come to China yet after having a Covid-positive test in Canada and waiting for a negative test result. Paul Fentz from Germany ended up ninth with 68.64 points. Ivan Shmuratko from the Ukraine was tested positive at the arrival in China and was not allowed to compete.

Rhythm Dance

U.S. dancers Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue won the Rhythm Dance with 86.56 points. Dancing to a medley of Janet Jackson, they performed in an outstanding way and had components of around 9.5 with one 10.0 from the Spanish judge. Their presence on the ice was fabulous. All five elements were excellent and had mainly GOEs of +4, although only the lift and the twizzle sequence had a level 4 and the three step sequences a level 3.

In response to leading in the Rhythm Dance Hubbell said, "We felt there was an opportunity here to not only set ourselves up for our own personal accomplishment in medalling, but giving that gift also to the other Team USA athletes. I know that we each carry that responsibility but also privilege."  "There's so much depth, and we certainly wanted to do our part, because there are other (USA ice dance) teams that could have taken (part) in this, and it's an honor to be able to share it," she added. 

"This was a particularly wonderful way to begin the Games," she said, not only with our personal best (score) and season's best, but just to enter this competition in a different way with our teammates as supporters and not competitors."

The reigning World Champions Victoria Sinitsina & Nikita Katsalapov finished second with 85.05 points. Four elements were outstanding, but Katsalapov stumbled a bit on the parallel midline step sequence which got only GOEs of +1 or +2. This cost them around two points. Their components were around 9.55, the highest ones in the field. Charlene Guignard & Marco Fabbri from Italy placed third with 83.83 points. They had the highest levels of the field, but their GOEs were mainly +3 and their components around 9.2. Their expression was a bit weaker.

"Everything went well," said Katsalapov, describing their performance, "but (with) this one mistake that I made during the program, I gave first place to my competitor for free. But only today. (With) just this one mistake, I'm really annoyed, but we learned a lesson."  Added Sinitisina, "We did pretty well. We did amazing in training and amazing on the ice today, but we did have a mistake in the second half of the dance, a small one. But we learned a lesson and we will move forward from that."

Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier from Canada came fourth with 82.72 points. They had a lot of mimicry, but their levels were a bit lower. Shiyue Wang & Xinyu Lin from China are fifth with74.66 points, Natalie Taschlerova & brother Filip Taschler from the Czech Republic sixth with 68.99 points and Misato Komatsubara & Tim Koleto from Japan seventh, earning 66.54 points. Maria Kazakova & Georgy Reviya from Georgia finished on eighth place with 64.60 points. Oleksandra Nazarova & Maksym Nikitin are ninth with 64.08 points and Katharina Mueller & Tim Dieck from Germany ended up tenth with 63.62 points.

Short Program Pairs

The decision between the Russian and the Chinese pair was very close. Finally the Chinese Wenjing Sui & Cong Han won with 82.83 points. They had six excellent elements including a triple toe loop and a triple throw flip, only their spins was only very good. Their components had an average of 9.5.

The reigning World Champions Anastasia Mishina & Aleksandr Galliamov from Russia were second with 82.64 points They had a bit more precise elements including a triple Salchow and also a triple throw flip. But their components were only around 9.4, which made the difference.

U.S. pair skater Brandon Frazier had very well recovered from his Covid 19-sickness during U.S. National and was with partner Alexa Knierim in excellent shape again. Six of their elements were very good, including the triple throw flip. Only their triple toe loop was only good. Therefore they finished third with 75.00 points. Riku Miura & Ryuichi Kihara from Japan are fourth with 74.45 points after also giving an excellent performance. Kirsten Moore-Towers & Michael Marinaro from Canada came fifth with 67.34 points and the young Georgian team of Karina Safina & Luka Berulava sixth with 64.79 points.

Nicole Della Monica & Matteo Guarise from Italy placed seventh with 60.30 points after Della Monica doubled the Salchow and fell on it. Jelizaveta Zukova & Martin Bidar from the Czech Republic finished eighth, earning 56.70 points after Zukova fell on the triple toe loop. Sofia Holichenko & Artem Darenkskij from the Ukraine ended up ninth with 53.65 points. The German pair of Minerva Hase & Nolan Seegert could not compete because Seegert had tested positive at his arrival in China.