Figure skating worlds offer 2nd chance to shine after Olympics

Carolina Kostner and Gabrielle Daleman both turned in season's-best short skates at worlds after underachieving at the Olympics. For Pj Kwong, there's nothing more captivating than a story where people capitalize on a second chance.

Kostner, Daleman bounce back after underachieving in Pyeongchang

Italy's Carolina Kostner posted a season's-best short skate after falling short at the 2018 Winter Olympics. (Luca Bruno/Associated Press)

MILAN, ITALY — It was a lucky day today at the World Figure Skating Championships, not just for the skaters but for me too.

Why you ask? Redemption.

There is nothing more captivating than a story where people capitalize on a second chance.

Coming into this event, I tried to wrap my brain around where skaters go in their heads when they know they are going to be competing again after under-performing at an event. This was the scenario for both Carolina Kostner and Gabrielle Daleman, who didn't achieve what they would have liked to at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

​As Daleman started her program, I wondered about her opening jump combination. It is a go-to element for her which she normally skates with such force and speed to make it almost look fun. The combination hadn't gone well in Pyeongchang and I thought that success in Milan would start with personal triumph in the short program.

Gabrielle Daleman looking for Olympic redemption at figure skating worlds

5 years ago
Duration 0:48
Daleman fell short of her expectations in Pyeongchang, but sits in 6th after Wednesday's short program at World Figure Skating Championships.

You could almost hear Gabrielle thinking as she approached the triple toe/triple toe combination. She needn't have bothered. She just needed to get her head out of the way so her body could do what it needed to. It worked, and for a time Daleman held the lead before settling into sixth place after the short program.

Clearly satisfied and maybe a little relieved, Daleman announced "I love my job," referring to the preparation leading up to and the competition itself. Today that love was clear to see.

Gabrielle Daleman in medal contention at figure skating worlds

5 years ago
Duration 6:29
Daleman is sitting in 6th place after the women's short program at the World Figure Skating Championships in Milan, Italy.

Kostner's accomplishments include being the first Italian woman to win world and European titles. Her ability to paint a picture on the ice through choreography is second to none.

Unfortunately, Kostner's troubled relationship with nerves has frequently gotten the better of her in competition, but not today. Her short program should be described as performance art. It is one of those times that I am thrilled to have been in the building to witness as Kostner took the lead with a season's-best score.

Italy's Carolina Kostner holds narrow lead at figure skating worlds

5 years ago
Duration 6:41
Kostner impressed the home crowd at the 2018 World Figure Skating Championships in Milan, edging out Russia's Alina Zagitova for 1st place in the women's short program.

'A step in the right direction'

Heart is one required component for success in figure skating, the other is choreography. Legendary choreographer Lori Nichol's work is responsible for both these short programs.

"I am so pleased for both Carolina and Gabby to be able to perform a clean short program, especially when not in a comfortable position," Nichol said. "They have worked so hard so to be able to see them enjoy the success of their labours is special."

"Carolina did everything she could to stay calm and stay in the moment during her skate."

World pairs champion Paul Martini agreed, but added that the two need to stay grounded.

"As good as the two women must be feeling right now, they will have to remember that the event isn't over," Martini said. "They need to not rest on it [today's success], but rather ride on it."

"The results for Kostner and Daleman today are a step in the right direction."

The women's competition concludes on Friday.


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