With former World Champions going head to head, the pairs competition was bound to be intense. It did not disapoint.
Before we got to the Pang/Tong vs. Savchenko/Szolkowy faceoff, Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford took the ice, despite his broken nose after the short, and they were wonderful! I can’t imagine skating at all after the hit he took, but they came out and did a beautiful — high! — triple twist, and sailed from there. I was very proud of them, as was Meagan. At the end, she said to Eric, “I’m so proud of us!”
The other Canadians skated well, also, hitting both throws beautifully to finish just behind Duhamel and Radford.
Americans Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig had a rough go of it. He fell on the side-by-side triple toe, and she fell on on throw. They had a strong second half, though, but the mistakes were too much to overcome.
Russians Kavaguti and Smirnov skated their magical free skate with an elegance that very few ever master. But, a fall on one of their throws kept them from gaining much ground.
The American champs Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin skated their “Ava Maria” program for the final time, and I was once again moved to tears. There is something so much greater than elements to this program. It means something, and that is worth more than any component mark can explain. Of course, it helps that they hit their elements in superb fashion, the only mistake being a slight hand down on the second throw. They moved up to fiinish 6th overall — the best showing for US pairs since 2006. I’m already excited about what they can do next season.
Savchenko and Szolkowy skated first of the gold medal hopefuls. There was a lot on the line, and they were skating from “behind” — just about a point out of first after the short. They left no doubt with this program, though. They are the best in the world! They notn only hit every element, but they truly made it look easy. They have such complex choreography, and every technical element is made harder by what they do going into and coming out of it (a la Patrick Chan). They set a new overall world record with 217+ points, taking the gold once again.
Pang and Tong skated just after the Germans, but as has happened much of the season, they just never looked “on.” Mistakes on both sets of side-by-side jumps were more than enough to give up the title, and instead they fell had to wait on the Russians to skate to see where they would finish.
Bazarova and Larionov skate with great, traditional Russian elegance. But again, mistakes riddled throughout dropped them behind Kavaguti/Smirnov.
Then came Volosozhar and Trankov. …WOW. These two were obviously quite accomplished in their pairs careers before this season, but to skate together as they did after this season only together is mind-boggling. They were in it from the first moment, and they sustained the technical demands equally to the artistic and emotional demands. The energy from the home crowd certainly helped, as they gained momentum as the program went on. When they hit the final pose, the building erupted in a well deserved standing ovation that only grew louder as the scores were announced.
They were the “dark horse” entering this competition, but with that silver medal performance, they proved they belong at the top of the world!
So, it was the Germans Savchenko/Szolkowy with gold, Volosozhar/Trankov the silver, and Pang/Tong the bronze.
Find complete pairs results here: http://www.isuresults.com/results/wc2011/CAT006RS.HTM