A class above
There is no real surprise that Kim is in the lead after Thursday’s short program. Her quality of skating and the construction of her program is so superior that even with a downgraded triple lutz and a fault on her triple/triple combination, she is still ahead by 4.34 over her closest competitor, 2007 world champion Miki Ando of Japan. Look for Kim to continue to dominate in the free.
The 2006 world champions from China, Qing Pang and Jian Tong had a bumpy time in the short program, giving away a total of two points off the total score as a result of a fall and a music time deduction. They trail the Ukrainian team of Tatiana Volosozhar and Stanislav Morozov, who made the move to German coach Ingo Steuer this summer. Steuer is also responsible for the 2008 world champions from Germany, Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy.
Zhang and Zhang impressive
But the real story in pairs competition so far was the powerful short program skated by the 2006 Olympic silver medallists Dan Zhang and Hao Zhang of China, whose performance led the points in both technical and program components scores. With a lead of almost seven points in the short program, Zhang and Zhang will be hard to catch in the free.
In ice dance, 2008 European champions Oksana Domnina and Maksim Shabalin of Russia lead after the compulsory dance in their first event since missing last year’s worlds in Goteberg, Sweden, due to Shabalin’s ongoing knee problems.
In second are training mates and rivals, Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto of the United States. Ironically, their coaches, Natalia Linichuk and husband Gennadi Karponossov, 1980 Olympic champions, inherited both teams from other coaches after the season’s close. It seems that each ice dance team was looking for more attention in a bid to set them apart from their competitors. Despite the Domnina and Shabalin’s lead, this one may be too close to call.
The men’s short program will take place on day two of competition.
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