(February 14, 2006)
It was an exciting finish to the pair event in Torino on Monday night.
Two-time world champions Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin, of Russia, were crowned the Olympic Champions, while two Chinese teams, Dan Zhang and Hao Zhang and Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao, won the silver and bronze medals, respectively.
The young Canadian team of Jessica Dubé, of Drummondville, Que., and Bryce Davison, of Cambridge, Ont., finished 10th overall after skating an impressive free skate.
Three-time Canadian Pair Champions Valérie Marcoux and Craig Buntin placed 11th overall.
Marcoux, of Gatineau, Que., and Buntin, of Kelowna, B.C., were the first of the two Canadian pairs to skate on Monday evening. The duo completed a strong throw triple loop, a double twist and difficult lifts, but had some trouble on their side-by-side jumps.
Marcoux and Buntin’s score of 102.59 in the free skate, combined with their point total of 55.62 in the short program, earned them an overall score of 158.21.
After beginning their program with impressive side-by-side double Axel right into another side-by-side double Axel, Dubé and Davison went on to complete a throw triple Salchow, side-by-side triple Salchows and a throw triple loop. Despite having difficulty on a couple of their overhead lifts, Dubé and Davison earned 104.23 points for their free skate, for a combined score of 159.71 and 10th overall.
This is the first year competing in the senior ranks for Dubé and Davison.
“We’re very happy with our performance,” said Davison. “The lifts were a mistake we don’t usually make, but on the whole the performance was very strong.
“We’re just happy to be here,” he added.
Totmianina and Marinin delivered an excellent program that featured side-by-side triple Salchows, a side-by-side triple toe loop-double toe loop combination, an solid triple twist, a throw triple loop and a throw triple Salchow.
Their combined total of 204.48 was a new personal best score.
“I still can’t believe it,” said Totmianina. “It was a long, long way for us and not the easiest. We skated well, we got a new personal best at the Olympic Games. We gave everything we could.”
It was frightening moment for Zhang and Zhang at the beginning of their free skate. On a throw quadruple Salchow attempt, Dan Zhang opened up the jump too early and fell hard, hitting her knee as she slid into the boards. After an interruption to the program where Zhang recovered from the fall, the couple continued their program, nailing their first element, a side-by-side double Axel-triple toe loop combination.
They also completed a stunning triple twist, side-by-side triple Salchows and good lifts. Zhang stepped out of the landing of the throw triple loop.
The duo earned 125.01 points for the free skate, bringing their combined score to 189.73, also a personal best.
“I’m very satisfied with this silver medal,” said Hao Zhang. “I’m proud of her (Dan Zhang) for being so brave and finishing the competition. This is a beautiful moment for us.”
Zhang and Zhang’s teammates, Shen and Zhao, had a comeback story of their own. Zhao had only begun jumping again in January after he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in August. Shen and Zhao, who won the bronze medal at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, hadn’t competed all year. They made a remarkable recovery in Torino, skating two strong performances.
Their total score of 186.91 earned them the bronze medal.
“It was a miracle. After many years we still will think about it and it will be an unforgettable experience,” said Zhao.
The Olympic figure skating competition continues Tuesday with the men’s short program.