US Olympic Figure Skating 2018: America's Short Program Top Scorers, Highlights
Sui Wenjing and Han Cong put on a remarkable performance in the short program, showing off their artistry, athleticism and experience while skating to "Hallelujah."
The performance brought tears to the eyes of the two skaters, as well as many of their supporters in the crowd. As they sat in the team box awaiting their scorers, the Chinese skaters looked both apprehensive and hopeful.
As they waved to the crowd and the television cameras, they saw their score of 82.39 flash, moving them into first place.
They are in a strong position to win the gold medal in pairs skating.
If the Chinese team is going to do that, they are going to have to get the best of Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany. Those two skated with flair and pizzazz, but they did not execute as well as Sui and Han, and they received a score of 76.59.
Massot failed to complete a triple on a side-by-side jump, and that left the German pair in fourth place after the short program.
Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov had a technically sharp performance and moved into second place after scoring 81.68. Tarasova and Morozov skated as Olympic Athletes from Russia. They were error-free, but they did not skate with the emotion of the top Chinese pair.
Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford moved into third place with a 76.82, but there were several missed elements to their routine, including a landing that appeared to be mistimed.
Pairs Figure Skating Standings (After Short Program)
1. Sui Wenjing/Han Cong CHN - 82.39 (44.49, 37.90)
2. Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov OAR - 81.68 (43.97, 37.71)
3. Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford CAN - 76.82 (41.26, 35.56)
4. Aljona Savchenko/Bruno Massot GER - 76.59 (39.16, 37.43)
5. Yu Xiaoyu/Zhang Hao CHN - 75.58 (42.10, 33.48)
6. Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres FRA - 75.34 (40.67, 34.67)
7. Valentina Marchei/Ondrej Hotarek ITA - 74.50 (40.36, 34.14)
8. Natalia Zabiiako/Alexander Enbert OAR - 74.35 (40.13, 34.22)
9. Nicole Della Monica/Matteo Guarise ITA - 74.00 (40.41, 33.59)
10. Kristina Astakhova/Alexei Rogonov OAR - 70.52 (38.93, 31.59)
11. Tae Ok Ryom/Ju Sik Kim PRK - 69.40 (38.79, 30.61)
12. Julianne Seguin/Charlie Bilodeau CAN - 67.52 (35.63, 31.89)
13. Kirsten Moore-Towers/Michael Marinaro CAN - 65.68 (34.46, 31.22)
14. Alexa Scimeca-Knierim/Chris Knierim USA - 65.55 (34.18, 31.37)
15. Anna Duskova/Martin Bidar CZE - 63.25 (34.62, 28.63)
16. Annika Hocke/Ruben Blommaert GER - 63.04 (34.61, 28.43)
Chinese skaters Yu Xiaoyu and Zhang Hao were at the top of their game with their short program. They executed a series of thrilling twists, throws and maneuvers, and they scored a 75.58, moving into fifth place.
The top 16 pairs in the short programs advance to the pairs finals.
Yu and Zhang put pressure on all the skaters that followed, including Americans Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Chris Knierim, who were athletic and aggressive, but they were unable to execute many of their moves without flaws. That included an over-rotation on a triple twist, and the judges took note of that error by the husband-and-wife team.
It didn't help that they had to skate right after Yu and Zhang, who looked so flawless in their execution. The Knierems scored a 65.55, and that left them in 14th place.
While they have made it to the finals, they appear to be far out of medal contention.
One of the early highlights was the performance of Tae Ok Ryom and Ju Sik Kim of North Korea. the South Korean skating fans welcomed them with warm applause, and the skaters put on a memorable show with a score of 69.40.
More than the numbers, the effervescent execution of Ryom and Kim won over the crowd, which gave them a raucous ovation after they finished their routine.
Ryom and Kim are in 11th place.