China’s Wenjing Sui and Cong Han grabbed the lead after the short program with a world record in the pairs on Friday night, February 18 at Capital Indoor Stadium.
The Chinese duo, who took the silver medal in Pyeongchang, were given a raucous round of applause after their smooth skate to “Mission Impossible 2 Orchestra Suite” by the partisan crowd on hand.
Sui and Han are on top with 84.81 points, with the Russian Olympic Committee’s Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov in second place at 84.25, and their teammates Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov in third on 82.76.
The women’s singles event is usually the final competition at the Winter Olympics, but with Sui and Han likely to vie for the gold, the Beijing 2022 organizers switched the order around to have the pairs be last this time.
Sui and Han, who are two-time world champions, are halfway to the gold and have to feel good about their chances in Saturday’s free skate.
“To be able to perform well at home in this venue we are familiar with, we are happy with the score, the spectators and the jury members,” Han stated. “It is important to us to catch the opportunities when we have them.”
Sui said she and Han hoped to exhibit their best work for the global audience that is tuning in.
“We want everybody to see the splendor, the beauty of figure skating, and also to show the style of Chinese skaters,” Sui commented.
Tarasova and Morozov, who are coached by Eteri Tutberidze, competed to “Metamorphosis Two” and are close on the heels of Sui and Han.
“I think we just felt relief that we finished the short program,” Morozov remarked. “We skated well, and we are happy with our performance.”
Mishina and Galliamov, the reigning world champions, performed to “Variations on the ballet Esmeralda,” and have a shot at the gold in their first Olympics.
“The result speaks for itself,” Galliamov said. “We tried our best to perform a clean skate, and we did all the elements, executed [them] well. All in all, we are happy with our performance.”
Added Galliamov, “We have mixed emotions because we already understand the responsibility which is required of us after the team event.”
Japan’s Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara are in eighth place with 70.85 after their skate to “Hallelujah.” They received negative grades of execution on their double toe loop, which Miura appeared to under-rotate.
“Actually, it has been a while since the team event,” Kihara stated. “We just feel happy to step on the ice again.”
The pair did well in the team event, helping Japan to capture the bronze medal.
“I just want to enjoy every moment of my free skating,” Miura commented.
Author: Jack Gallagher