Göteborg 2008: folk rhythms, a teary thank-you and the promise of tiramisu

Göteborg - day Three

Text and Photos ┬ę Titanilla Bod

Some collisions and a relieved Tanith

It’s easy to get used to good things. After the high attendance at the Pair’s short and long program, the empty seats and “only” 5372 spectators at the original dance event were a bit disappointing. So was the crowd reaction during the programs of less-known skaters – the Slavic and gypsy rhythms, which the fans in Zagreb adored, didn’t reach the hearts of Swedes. The crowd however, loved the Inka music of the Hungarian couple Krisztina Barta and Ádám Tóth. “It was fun. They started to clap in the middle of the routine” Krisztina said with a huge smile.

At the beginning of the original dance, we were afraid we’d see something similar to the Torino Olympics, because there were many falls and a collision in the first part of the start list. “Just instead of going straight, we angled towards one another in the last rotation. It was kind of funny but… we will learn from that!” said Allie Hann-McCurdy of Canada , regarding the collision in the twizzles with her partner Michael Coreno.

Cathy Reed and Chris Reed (representing Japan) collided during the step sequence. “I think I slowed down a little bit too much. I didn’t push. That goes to show how close we are skating together so we always have to watch our distance a bit.” Cathy explained.

Luckily, the medal contenders had no falls or collisions during the originals. Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto skated well, but they are still in fifth place before the free dance. Tanith felt glad after she left the ice: “I feel very, very relieved. I just lost a little bit of confidence in myself from the compulsory dance so I was very happy this one was without flaws so that I can reassure myself that I’m trained and I’m ready to do this competition.”

In the lead there is the French couple Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder. “We skated well with much pleasure and tried to have lots of energy in our skating.”, Schoenfelder said. The French have a 4 point advantage over the other couples before the free dance, but Schoenfelder wants to avoid any controversy: “We want to win the free dance so that there are no questions after it.”

Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir / Jana Khokhlova & Sergei Novitski

Tears of the reigning champ

She stepped out of her first jump, fell on the second and there was no third jump any more. Almost 10,000 spectators were shocked when the reigning world champion Miki Ando skated to the judges in the ladie’s free skate to announce her withdrawal. The Japanese skater had tears in her eyes when she thanked the crowd for their support.

Ando didn’t comment on her withdrawal - according to the medical bulleting she suffered from an acute trauma on her left leg which appeared the day of the competition in practice. She suffers from muscle strain and partial rupture.


“My heart stopped”

But Ando’s withdrawal wasn’t the only shock of the evening. Some of them were saved for the last warm-up group. Amongst the favourites was Carolina Kostner (right) who skated first. However, she wasn’t as secure as usual - most of her landings were shaky. “I felt such a responsibility I have never felt before. Still, I think it was a good skate.” Carolina said at the press conference. Despite the small mishaps she was in the lead even after Yu-Na Kim’s stunning free program – the best of the evening.

However, then Mao Asada (left) came. She planned to open her program with a triple axel, but she fell when going into the jump and almost crashed into the boards. “I don’t know what happened. I was surprised myself. My heart stopped!” Mao admitted.

Her heart might have stopped but her feet didn’t and she came back really strongly. “I just thought I had to skate like I do at practice session,” Mao said, who was very happy to win after getting the silver last year in Tokyo. However, her celebration won’t be traditional - there will be no champagne but a lot of food. “I’ll eat a lot!”, Mao laughed. Carolina Kostner immediately added: “I think they had tiramisu for dinner in the hotel today!”

Asada’s answer was a big-big smile…



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