Liveblogging the pairs free skate - Macleans.ca
 

Liveblogging the pairs free skate

Will Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison find a way onto the podium?


 

7:19 p.m
Gearing up to live blog pairs figure skating. The fun starts at 8 p.m.

7:52 p.m
For those just tuning in: Last night was the pairs short competition. Going into the free skate tonight, Canada’s got Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison in 6th & Anabelle Langlois and Cody Hay in 7th.

7:55 p.m
OK I did an admirable job on my pizza. Now I can devote myself this. t-6 minutes.

7:56 p.m
Contrary to popular belief (among my mom, at least) I did not get stuck with this sport. I fought tooth and nail for it.

8:03 p.m
So this is where we’re at:
1st: Xue Shen & Hongbo Zhao (China)
2nd: Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy (Germany)
3rd: Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov (Russia)
4th: Qing Pang & Jian Tong (China)
5th: Dan Zhang & Hao Zhang (China)
6th: Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison (Canada)
7th: Anabelle Langlois & Cody Hay (Canada)

8:07
It’s no big shocker that the Chinese are dominating. Still, it’s a big deal that Shen and Zhao set the world record last night for the highest score ever earned on a short skate: 76.66.

8:07
Wohoo. Germans are up. Is that outfit serious?

8:08
You heard it: Don’t land the side-by-side triple toes, and you can kiss it all goodbye.

8:09
Seriously though it looks like she said: I want to wear a pretty red dress. And he said: done, but for your information, I’m going to kick it like a gladiator.

8:11
My god, I love a good death spiral.

8:13
I love olympic commercials. I love that Rona made it financially possible for the Olympians to train. I would like to use Rona paint. As per the suggestion of that Sex and the City lady, I would also like to travel to British Columbia.

8:15
Ukranians.

8:16
Is it just me or does someone ALWAYS skate to this song?

8:18
The commentators aptly point out that this is a really slow routine. There’s definitely a lack of spunk factor here, although the lifts are beautiful.

8:19
That’s the problem with this ‘Pearl Harbour’ song, it just keeps going and going…

8:20
The team has only been together for two years, apparently. That makes sense. It seems like it takes a long time to build chemistry on the ice.

8:21
Jeez, I sound like a sports commentator.
On the plus side, her outfit was sooo Halle Berry Oscars circa 2002. Nice.

8:22
OK so the technical score wasn’t great. She landed some of her jumps with two feet.  That’s no good.

8:23
The Estonians skating to West Side Story? After the Ukranians skated to Pearl Harbour? There is great cultural confusion tonight.

8:24
That was a perfect landing. These two look so young and baby-faced. They’re lovely. I like them.

8:25
The dance part of their routine seems a wee bit stiff. The pair combination spin was quite slow.

8:26
They saved it by going clockwise AND counter-clockwise. That will earn them extra technical points.

8:28
They saved their triple salchow until near the end of their routine. That’s a plus.

8:29
Let’s take a moment during this commercial break to take note of the spelling of ‘salchow.’ It’s pronounced sow-cow. That’s very strange. I had to Google it.

8:27
This is their first Olympics together. They look like they’re having so much fun. And I love the pizazz at the end.

8:31
The Estonians automatically lost 2 points for landing that  salchow with two feet. So they’re 2/3 now.

8:33
The Poles started off with their hardest jump: side by side double toe. They nailed it. And some fancy lifting follows.

8:33
Ugh-oh, a fall. They’ve fallen out of sync now. And he’s talking to her, which is interesting. I don’t think I usually see the skaters talking to each other during the routine.

8:36
Triple lutz was perfect. And then…. HE FALLS! His toe-pick catches and HE falls. Without cause! Just skating in a straight line. That’s got to feel bad.

8:38
(Although CTV has comforting words: “He probably has a good sense of humour. Might even have a good chuckle about that one later.” Ummm… I’m going to go with: No. He probably won’t have a good chuckle later about falling over himself at the Olympics.)

8:47
You know you’re out of things to stay when you start talking about how thick the boards lining the ice are… and how far you have to reach to pass a water bottle across them. (Thanks, CTV)

8:49
We’ve got Great Britain, nailing a throw triple toe. The pairs are slightly out of sync on their side-by-side spins. But at least they’re decked out in colonial looking garb. Their country could ask for nothing more.

8:51
They have a sort of engaging routine here. I think the music choice was poor and there isn’t a terrible amount of rhythm or flow. But they’ve done some unusual jumps. And had a unique backwards entry to their last lift.

8:55
The British coaches married after skating together. Why does it seem like all the pairs get married? Or, marry their coaches. In what other workplace do colleagues wed at such an extraordinary rate?

8:56
1st place for the Brits, as of now.

8:57
The French team is up. She was born in Scarborough. And wow, she’s stunning.

8:58
So for their side-by-side triple salchows (tehee) he tripled and she doubled. The judges will mark that as a double.

9:00
This pair is really making up for a rocky start. This is stunning choreography. And they just nailed the most beautiful lift of the evening.

9:01
First standing ovation of the night.

9:04
Their death spiral was really hot. The death spiral is a required move, but for some reason it still excites me a lot.
Now, here’s a great factoid: there is a variation of the “Death Spiral” known as the “Love Spiral.”

9:05
OK I changed my mind. I love the Swiss. They are so ballsy. Beige plaid overalls!

9:06
My mother is not impressed with above comment. Her view: “They look like f***ing lederhosen.”

9:07
This is such a fun routine. We’ve seen a real string of sap-tasticness tonight. This is a welcome change.

9:08
That was a bad fall. And they’re starting to slow down a bit. How can they be slowing down with this music? It’s so darn chirpy!

9:09
Even while head-bopping, I can tell a sloppy side-by-side spin when I see one.

9:10
I liked the idea of this routine, but the execution was lacking. They seemed out of sync for most of it. And there were too many stumbles.
OK, I just learned that she’s only 16. Now I feel guilty. Oh, and she’s giving the cameras a backwards double thumbs up. Adorable.

9:16
As the commentators point out, the U.S team is going at a much faster pace that the previous teams. We’re told she messed up a jump yesterday – and that this is why they are placed so low. But, that they’re a better team than what they’re rank indicates.

9:17
I realize I’m not being very feminist friendly. SHE didn’t mess up a jump yesterday. THEY messed up their jump yesterday.  Today, they are skating beautifully. WAY out of the others’ league!

9:21
CTV just showed us the Canadians warming up on side-by-side treadmills. I never would have guessed that skaters warm up by cycling… or that they even need their heart rates to be up when they start.

9:24
Not that you need anything extra to make figure skating exciting, but…. here’s something that could work.

9:28
We’re still on break (the ice is being cleared).
So, onward with our education: Here’s some guy’s review of the five worst falls ever in figure skating.

9:43
Ok we’re back with another American team.

9:44
I like when teams go strong to start. They’re triple twist was nice.

9:45
Throw triple lutz, her hand touched down. And then their spins were a little far apart.

9:46
Is it OK for me to say that they totally did a botch job on his make-up? His skin looks orange and patchy from where he shaved. I digress… Their spread-eagle entry into the star was very impressive.

9:48
He looks like he might be the strongest male we’ve seen tonight – physically. Those lifts are LONG. He looks like he could lift her for days. Even nearing the end, when his arms must be burning.

9:49
Technically, it wasn’t a stellar routine. But these two are jacked. That’s cool.

9:52
114.06. Their personal best.
This pair is extremely emotional.

9:53
Russians are up. OK, she just stumbled on her first jump. And, they barely held on to their first throw. But I’m completely mesmerized. This dancing is stunning.  This is real choreography.

9:54
These two are dancers. She looks like a little Russian ballerina; I see signs of classical training.

9:56
Best lift of the night.

9:56
Bad fall on her bum!

9:56
Summary thus far: elegant dancing… but the two mess up each and every technical point of their routine.

9:57
Maybe they’re out of practice because he was banned for 18 months for taking an illegal substance!! (He claims his father gave him a headache pill and that there was no real doping violation).

10:01
Ukraine!

10:03
This guy is a mammoth. And that was a huge throw across the ice.
It’s very touching to see this giant balding Neanderthal skate with such… tenderness. Sigh.

10:04
They win my award for best throw thus far. (The much-coveted random blogger says it’s so award.)

10:05
A one-handed lift near the end of the routine.

10:08
No big deal, he rocks a tight black v-neck and giant dangling cross necklace. No big deal.

10:09
Ukrainians are first right now. And Italy is up.

10:10
Side-by-side triple salchows. She falls flat on her arse! After nailing it in practice all week.
Nice spiral routine, though. They are perfectly coordinated.  That’s not something we’ve seen a lot of tonight.

10:11
Side-by-side axels. Perfection.

10:12
Here comes the next round of random blogger awards. I grant the Italian team… Best Comeback Award. Sure, they had a godawful fall on their first jump. But they bounced back and they’ve been dead on since. I can’t imagine that they’ll lose too many technical points – beyond what they’ll be docked automatically for that fall.

10:18
The Canadians are warming up! Let’s send some good karma into the universe for them.

10:25
CANADA. Skating to Grand Canyon Suite.

10:26
Oh, she lost it on the side-by-side triple salchows!

10:27
But she landed that triple throw beautifully. This team was not expected to be in the running, and it’s amazing that they’re in 7th at all!

10:27
What nice, reserved Canadian costumes these are.

10:28
Anabelle is adorable. She just came back from ankle surgery. What a trooper.

10:29
That was a stunning lift. He covered a ton of ice with that one.
They seem very relaxed. It’s nice to see.

10:28
Sad. They didn’t make their big throw: the triple flip. There goes their chances…

10:30
Or, as CTV says, they “succumbed to the Olympics spotlight.”

10:30
Very romantic, the way she clutched his chest at the end. My hearts a’flutterin.

10:31
Also, props to him for covering so much ground with those lifts. He’s not half the size of the Ukranian behemoth.

10:33
A persona best for the team!

10:34
Dan Zhang & Hao Zhang of China.
Opening up with… a near face plant!

10:36
Man, that girl is airborne. That was a HUGE triple twist.

10:36
Throw triple loop landed with easy. She’s very graceful.

10:38
Their combination spin is very nice. I always like that move where the guy puts one leg over the girl and kind of sits on her. (Whodda thunk!)

10:39
My, he does not look happy! Then again, that fall will cost them any chance they had of medalling tonight.

10:41
Come on, man. Crack a smile! Crack a smile! You just ook first place!

10:42
We’ve got another Russian team. They’re placed 8th right now.

10:42
They’re skating to Love Story.
You know what I’m not in love with: men who leave a wee triangle of hair under their bottom lip.

10:43
Back on track: she’s gone down on their side-by-side triple salchows.

10:44
She was fired into that throw triple loop and she landed it perfectly.

10:45
Throw triple salchow she touched a hand down… but barely.

10:45
Do all Russian women have tight blond buns and red dresses? I think, maybe.

10:45
The commentators worry that they were too close on those side-by-side spins. Them be sharp blades!

10:46
Ooh. A mid-routine smooch.
This was quite a sensual routine, if I do say so myself.

10:49
I will give a prize to whoever can answer this question: what is the record for the world’s longest live-blog ever?
Just asking…

10:50
CANADA! Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison.
Skating to The Way We Were.

10:51
Amazing triple twist.
The commentators tell us that they’re getting back to a “storytelling” style tonight. As opposed to…? We are told they are very emotionally involved in this routine. Again, as opposed to….?

10:51
Stellar side-by-side jobs.

10:52
NOOOOOOOOO. A FALLLLLLLLLLLL. My hopes are dashed, dashed away.

10:53
She has had a lot of problems with that throw. I’m surprised they didn’t find some way to switch it up within the routine.

10:53
And she two-foots a landing. My goodness.

10:53
They look swell though. Reminds me of my school uniform days.

10:54
Triple loop. Nailed. Bravo.

10:54
They are very elegant dancers. These lands are so soft.

10:55
They look so sad. And they just skated away from each other. Come on. Smile!
She’s going to cry? No she’s not. Don’t cry!

10:56
Sorry, I need to collect myself.

10:57
OK not a great night for them. But better than this fateful night a few years back.

10:58
187.11.
No way they will medal.
(Also bonus points for whoever can figure out when ‘medal’ became a verb. Or was it always?…)

11:02
This routine was meant to recreate the story told in “The Way We Were,” the 1973 romantic comedy staring Barbara Streisand and Robert Redford. The movie was about an anti-war activist (Streisand) who falls for a writer (Redford) while in university. Summary: the two lovers fall in love and get married, but eventually drift apart because of their radically different political views.

This is what Davison said of their routine yesterday:
“Like in the movie, two people fall in love. . . it doesn’t end up working out and they end up leaving each other and the famous scene of walking away from each other at the end, that’s kind of been Jess and my story. That’s why it’s such an easy story for us to tell, because we’ve lived most of it, on the emotional side of things.”

11:09
So maybe they weren’t being poor sports at the end when they skated away from each other instead of smiling and embracing? Maybe it was part of the routine! That’s my angle and I’m sticking to it.

11:10
Oh wow. That Cheese Whiz commercial just made my stomach churn. Melted Cheese Whiz on a hot dog?

11:15
Four teams left.
OK, let’s learn something about the Chinese team now in first. I like these two for three reasons:
1) They set the record for highest score EVER last night… even though they are both in their 30s!
2) The couple actually retired from figure skating, but came back to try their hand at the 2010 Games.
3) They aren’t Russian. I know, I know. But the Russians ALWAYS win. (12 consecutive Olympic golds, to date.)

11:21
The Russians are up: Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov.
She gave up her citizenship (Japanese) to skate for the Russian team. That’s figure skating dedication, Russian-styles.

11:22
Throw quad salchow…..Oooooh. She tripled AND touched down.

11:22
Immaturity alert: Does the Russian’s last name HAVE to be Smirnov?

11:23
Those side-by-side spin routines were dead on! And they were the perfect distance apart.

11:23
What an interesting move there. This really is such an elegant team.

11:23
The music has picked up. They are hip-hopping around. Oh here’s what just happened:
1) He fell on the first part of their side-by-side double axel.
2) They left out the second side-by-side double axel.

11:24
CTV: “It’s becoming a nightmare.”
She’s down again.
My goodness, Russia!

11:25
The costumes make no sense. He’s in a grey body suite/collared shirt. She is in an oriental-style red number.

11:26
They are hugging. Hug away! My bet is that they won’t podium. (If medal is a verb, can’t “podium” be a verb?)

11:27
I’m getting a lot of sexual innuendo from this CTV commentary. Is this just me?

11:28
He has a nice face. Very chiseled.

11:29
Are you KIDDING ME?
The Russians just took the lead.
They fell a million times. When DIDN’T they fall?
I’m crying foul. FOUL, I say.

11:29
Germans are up.

11:30
HUGE pat on the back for skating to Out of Africa.

11:30
Side-by-side triple toe: he stumbled and she doubled. Nice flip followed though.

11:31
Prize for whoever can figure out the answer to this question: Have there been an unusual amount of wipe-outs this year? Didn’t falls used to be rare?

11:31
Same problem from the short program: lack of unison on those side-by-side spins. You’d think that would be the least of their worries – spinning. And yet it’s something we’re seeing a lot of tonight.

11:32
Yes, TV network I agree that they seem “dispassionate.” I know! The Germans: dispassionate! Weird…

11:33
I’ve seen better death spirals.

11:34
This choreography seems quite drab. I would have expected something that stands out more from a pair ranked so highly.

11:34
OK so I guess the winner will be the pair that doesn’t wipe out more than twice? This is a sad state of affairs. I miss Olympics figure skating a la 2002.

11:36
Commentators: “The main problem has been their long program.” Ummm… there are only 2 programs. They kinda need to nail the long one.

11:37
Germans are in 1st now. But it won’t be good enough.
Also, does he REALLY need to pick his nose now in front of the camera? Narsty…

11:38
China is up! Qing Pang & Jian Tong. (In 4th from yesterday).

11:39
This is such inspiring music. The song is Impossible Dream. They’re dressed in red. And they’re ravishing and flourishing and all those adjectives that sound like that.  And the music picks up speed and they are incorporating a kind of salsa dance thing in there. (I’m tired. Is this a good enough picture that I painted for you?)

11:40
Perfect triple twist.

11:41
I like that she’s smiling. Nay, grinning! From ear to ear. She’s lovely.

11:41
Holy F***! That was a wild jump. She covered half the ice.
And then a perfect triple loop.
I’m in love with the Chinese team.

11:42
The crowd goes wild.
Perfect!

11:43
If my arse wasn’t glued to my couch, I would be giving the team a standing ovation.

They’re DEFINITELY going to ‘podium.’

11:45
They’re in first! That means the PRC is definitely placing first (since the only other team to go is also a Chinese team). The Russian run has been broken!

11:46
Xue Shen & Hongbo Zhao are up! China again.

11:47
There has been a plethora of red tonight.

11:47
Nailed the first jump.
… And the second side-by-side jumps.

11:48
Her face is so expressive. I like it!

11:48
Lifts for days….

11:49
Oh no. Error. Error. Error. Mess-up on a lift.
That may have just cost them gold.

11:49
Although they just did a beautiful flip.
And a beautiful throw triple loop.

11:50
Phew! Barely landing the throw triple salchow.

11:51
Jeez, that was smooth.
Turn to your significant other right now and take bets: Will that slip-up on the lift cost them gold?

11:52
CTV commentator: “The year of the tiger begins with a roar.” Indeed.

11:53
This definitely is not the appropriate time, but… Going back to my post about Cheese Whiz…. Look at the possibilities!

11:54
It’s it!

THEY WON

11:55
These two are adorable! So happy!
Can you believe these two came back from RETIREMENT?
No Scrabble competitions and early bird specials for them….

11:56
Canada placed 6th and 9th. Snaps.

11:58
OK thanks to anyone and everyone who tuned in! My mom said nobody would real my blog. But the 5 comments up right now prove her wrong. Mwahaha.

Don’t forget: Maclean’s will be live blogging each and every figure skating event of the Games!


 
Filed under:

Liveblogging the pairs free skate

  1. When did they start grabbing their skates every five seconds, and when are they going to stop doing that?

    • As long as they don't start grabbing like baseball players (pitchers in particular, I believe) I'm OK with some hand on skate action.

  2. The Brits win my vote so far for favourite outfits.

  3. Great question, but no answer here !! Did someone change the rules and require the skaters to have only slow music….it's
    like everything seems to be in slow motion. Sorry the Canadian pair found trouble.

  4. Hey, putting shoulder back in! Drink!

  5. Best death spiral all night.

  6. Don't have (& don't want) a TV – thanks for your blog; it allowed me to participate in the excitement. Well done.

  7. I agree with you, one of the best run. Thanks for sharing the timeline.