14 February 2018
Personal records day
According to the results of the short program in the pairs competitions the Chinese Sui Wenjing / Han Cong are leading (82,39 points). On the second place with symbolic lag are Yevgenia Tarasova / Vladimir Morozov (81,68). Third place is occupied by the Canadians Megan Duhamel / Eric Radford (76,82).
Today Kristina Astakhova and Alexei Rogonov were the first of our duets to perform. The skate turned out excellent, without a single blot, which was duly assessed by the judges. The sum of 70.52 points became the pair’s personal record and brought the wards of Artur Dmitriev to the first place, from which in the next two workouts they were removed from the top position by the Chinese Yu Xiaoyu / Zhang Hao.
– It’s easy to skate in this arena. Acoustics are such that you can hear the fans. They gave us their energy, and it really helped. Due to certain circumstances we had to replace the pair Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov. We will try not to let anybody down, Kristina Astakhova and Alexey Rogonov answered journalists’ questions laconically as if trying not to spread emotions which will still be useful tomorrow at the free program.
– We are sorry for the banned guys, especially Ivan Bukin. He go to Sochi either, but what can we do?! It is a fate… I got sick after the championship of Europe. Thought, that I would stay in bed up until the Olympics, but life has made adjustments. Today we were set to do our job, it helped us cope with excitement, said Kristina.
North Korea’s Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik gave their performance immediately after us. The excitement around them can be compared to the Usain Bolt’s arrival. On the way to the Ice Centre the skaters were provided with a security escort, and the bus came inside the cordon apparently, in order to exclude their contact with the dangerous outside world.
Their support group were taken by other buses. Every step of the Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik were followed by plainclothesmen and after their performance the storm of applause broke out. In such situation it was difficult to keep cool, but the North Korean Champions did not bat an eye. Came out, did the job (pretty good, by the way!), waited for the ratings (very high for them) and walked away silently.
I wanted to write under escort, but it’s too strongly worded. It is more politically correct to say ‘escorted by security’.
After that we could heave a sigh of relief. The competition returned to the usual course.
The first of the top favorites on the ice went out, the world champions Sui Wenjing / Han Cong. Flawless skating, a complicated program, coupled with the hard-earned credibility in the eyes of the judges allowed the Chinese to score more 80 points. At this height, you can think of gold.
The strongest warm-up was opened by Megan Duhamel and Eric Radford. The fact that Canadians already have the Olympic gold medal allowed them to skate more relaxed. With the exception of a small blot in the triple lutz, all other elements were graded plus. If only it was done more artistically… but it’s not about the Canadian pair.
Against the background of the two-time world champions, the performance of Natalia Zabiyako and Alexander Enbert emotionally looked better. They were two points behind the Canadians due to different set of elements. For example, a triple lutz, which is in the arsenal of Canadians is worth more than a triple toe loop from the program of Natalia Zabiyako and Alexander Enbert. Nevertheless, this duo deserves the most flattering words. Not everybody can show the best skate in their life (the best total score) at the Olympics. Nina Mozer’s wards did it.
– We are pleased that we have surpassed our personal record, Natalia and Alexander immediately said in the mixed zone. The gap to the leaders is not very big (2.5 points from third place), so in the free program it is possible to get higher. We did not consider team tournament as preparation for personal. We tune to each skate as if it was the final. Two of them are behind, tomorrow is the third one. We still have a lot of energy and emotions, we are ready to fight.
Before the Alena Savchenko and Bruno Masso performed, all contenders for medals skated at the level of their personal records. In such a situation, the slightest failure could result in big trouble. And the Germans reeled! The failure in triple a salchow through Masso’s fault (he made only two turnovers) cost the duo a place in the top three. Despite the fact that even with this error Savchenko and Masso were just three points behind their best result. Until today Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov’s personal record was 80,82 points. The best result of the season was 78,83. To stay in the top, it was preferable to conquer this score.
They did it! Evgenia and Volodya skated the short program to the second concert of Rachmaninov on one breath. The judges had no chance to find at least one fault. They scored 81.68! Just 0.71 points less than the Chinese Sui Wenjing / Han Cong!
– Our quiet reaction to scores doesn’t mean that we are dissatisfied with something, noted Tarasova and Morozov. The competition is not over yet, and we must restrain emotions. You can see the level of competition for yourself. Tomorrow the ice will be very hot.
To the moment Natalia Zabiaco / Alexander Enbert are at the eighth position, but the bronze medals are within arm’s reach. Kristina Astakhova / Alexei Rogonov are closing the top ten.
We will find out tomorrow who will get the Olympic gold in pair skating. It is very intriguing!