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Sui and Han Capture Gold in a Field Plagued by Injuries

After winning two consecutive silver medals, China’s Wenjing Sui and Cong Han finally struck gold today a the World Figure Skating Championships. Sui had surgery on her right ankle and left foot last year and have missed most of the season. For them to come back as strong as they did is absolutely remarkable.

Sui and Han gave an emotional free skate performance to “Bridge Over Troubled Waters.” The team opened with a dynamic quad twist. Their only flaw was when Sui fell on the landing of their side-by-side triple salchows.

Newly Crowned Silver and Bronze Medalists

In 2016, Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot surprised everyone by claiming the bronze at the World Championships. This year the team added a throw triple axel in the free skate. They finished with the silver medal. Aliona two-footed the landing of the throw triple axel along with two other jumps, but overall they delivered a strong performance.

Russia’s Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov claimed their first world medal today, the bronze. Evgenia received 10 stitches in her leg following an accident during one of their practices. It was unclear how this team would do. They overcame beautifully and gave a wonderful performance. Tarasova and Morozov are such a strong team and I hope that they are better packaged next season.

Injuries Plagued Many Teams

2016 World Champions, Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford were also dealing with an injury. They fought through each element and finished in seventh place. It was definitely not what we are used to seeing with this team, but the fact that they did not withdraw says a lot about them. Meagan and Eric will definitely need some time off before next season to get healthy and regroup.

U.S. Team in the Top Ten

Americans Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier did not qualify for the free skate so all of the pressure was on Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Chris Knierim. They too have struggled with severe illness and have been out for most of the season. In the media call prior to worlds the team stated that they were in good physical condition, but it is interesting to note that U.S. Figure Skating flew the alternate pair team out to Finland, so there may have been some lingering concerns. Regardless, Alexa and Chris delivered. They only made a few minor mistakes and finished in tenth place.

“This is a hard competition this year for pairs so it’s no joke to be in the Top 10,” Chris said according to a U.S. Figure Skating press release. “We definitely improved on last year’s Worlds by a big margin which is very nice seeing as how we haven’t been training but for a couple months this year. It wasn’t perfect, but we weren’t coming out here to be perfect.”

One of the first questions that Alexa asked in the Kiss and Cry was if they were in the top ten. She was obviously very aware that in order for the U.S. to receive two Olympic berths for the pair teams, they would have to place in the top ten. They achieved this goal, but then it was discovered that due to the ISU Rulebook that there would most likely only be one American team for the Olympics in 2018. It will be the first time since 1924 that the U.S. only has one pair team at the Olympics. It is certainly disappointing for the Americans, but Alexa and Chris still have a lot to be happy about.

For the full listing of results and scores, visit the results page.

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