Figure Skating – Chinese gold at home ends tough skating competition

BEIJING, Feb 19 (Reuters) – China’s Sui Wenjing and Han Cong ensured the controversial Beijing Games figure skating competition ended with a bang on Saturday by winning the pairs title for the sport’s latest gold medal much to the delight of local fans.

Feverish cheers and thunderous applause filled the Beijing Capital Indoor Stadium as the pair’s free skating score was announced in Mandarin, giving China their first figure skating trophy since pairs Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo in 2010.

Sui and Han won silver four years ago in Pyeongchang.

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Partners for 15 years – their entire careers since they were children – the duo were clearly in their element at home as they performed a string of standouts.

Their opening quadruple twist in their free skate to “Bridge Over Troubled Water” sent onlookers into a frenzy, with cheers erupting between hushed moments as they executed most of their jumps and throws with pinpoint accuracy. watchmaking.

Sui lost her temper as soon as she wrapped her arm around Han’s neck for the final pose of their routine and started crying – perhaps fearing her failed landing on the side-by-side triple Salchows would hit them. steal gold.

Sui said she lost over 3kg to be able to pull off the quad twist lift.

After a nervous wait in the kiss and crying, the couple broke down in tears of joy and relief, crying upon hearing their score. Their final tally of 239.88 beat the previous world record of 239.82 held by Russians Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov, who won bronze with 237.71.

“I’m so happy today,” Han said. “After four years of preparation, we finally realized our dream in Beijing. It’s a memorable night and our dream came true at home.”

Russians Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov won the silver medal with 239.25 points – just 0.63 points behind Sui and Han.

But the emotions of finally securing an Olympic medal as a couple after their near miss four years ago caught up with Morozov as he knelt on one knee at the end of their gripping routine and began to sob as a tearful Tarasova skated around him.

“We did what we could do. Everything,” Morozov said, commenting on the very thin margin that separated the gold and silver medals.

It was a happy ending for host country China after the Games’ figure skating competition was thrown into turmoil over the doping case of Russian teenager Kamila Valieva.

The 15-year-old, now back in Russia, was cleared to compete in the women’s singles event despite testing positive for a banned substance ahead of the Games. She finished in fourth place amid all the drama.

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Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim and Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber, Additional reporting by Muyu Xu Editing by Toby Davis and Andrew Cawthorne

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