Chinese take slim lead on Russians after pairs short program

Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik of North Korea react after their scores are posted following their performance in the pair figure skating short program in the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Chinese pair of Sui Wenjing and Han Cong skate flawless short program to take slimmest of leads after 1st day of pairs competition at Pyeongchang Olympics

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — The Chinese pair of Sui Wenjing and Han Cong skated a flawless, season-best short program to take the slimmest of leads over Russian skaters Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov after the first day of pairs competition at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Sui and Han scored 82.39 points for their breathtaking, almost ethereal version of the Leonard Cohen song "Hallelujah." The reigning world champions slid into an embrace on their knees as the music came to its dramatic conclusion, holding the pose as the crowd roared its approval.

Tarasova and Morozov, skating last among the 22 teams, scored 81.68 points to a piano concerto by Rachmaninov. That also was a season-best for the pair, and keeps them in contention for the gold medal heading into Thursday's free skate at Gangneung Ice Arena.

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada were third with 76.82 points, less than a point ahead of German favorites Aliona Savchenkno and Bruno Massot, whose technical scores took a massive dip when the French-born Massot did a double salchow instead of the planned triple.

That cost them about four points, possibly putting gold out of reach.

There were seven couples within three points of the Canadians, which means there could be quite the dramatic race for the podium. Among them are Yu Xiaoyu and Zhang Hao of China, who scored a season-best 75.58 points to "Swan Lake," and Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres of France, whose Ed Sheeren version of "Make It Rain" left them pumping their fists as they skated off the ice.

The biggest cheers of the day came earlier in the competition — and were choreographed.

That's because North Korean skaters Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik made their figure-skating debut, accompanied by their nation's orchestrated cheering section. They clapped enthusiastically for even the most simple of elements during the warmups, then roared when the couple finished its program to English rock musician Jeff Beck's rendition of "A Day in the Life."

As soon as the pair's scores were read, their cheering section left in single file.

The only American pair, Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Chris Knierim, struggled a bit after helping the U.S. win team bronze. She over-rotated a bit on their triple twist lift, he stepped out on their side-by-side triple salchow, and she put a hand down landing their throw triple flip.

It hardly dampened the married couple's Valentine's Day enthusiasm, though. He gave her a giant, white teddy bear in the kiss-and-cry area while awaiting their scores, and she gave him a big kiss.


More AP Olympic coverage:

Other News

Troubled year in power for Coe confronting critics, Russia

Aug 10, 2016

Entrusted with cleaning up a sport mired in sleaze and doping deceptions has proved far trickier for Sebastian Coe than the pursuit of gold on the track

Coe not sure if fans will pack stadium for Olympic track

Aug 10, 2016

Even away from doping, there's little good news for track and field right now

Rugby couple put respect in front and center in Olympics

Aug 10, 2016

Isadora Cerullo has become a celebrity around Rio, more for what happened on the sidelines of the Olympic rugby stadium than for her performances on the pitch

ChillHype brings to you the latest trends, viral, and entertainment news. We create a happy community and keep every Malaysian connected. Let’s chill and catch up with the hype together!

Contact us: