Short Dance: Italians Dance Into the Lead


When you cover an event like the World Figure Skating Championships, it's all go, go, go. Whether it's watching the events, heading to the mixed zone to get comments from skaters or attending the press conferences, the schedule is really packed.

So with that in mind, I popped out to the local convenience store before the competition began to grab something to eat when I had a minute to myself. Japanese convenience stores are small, but contain everything you could conceivably need. Sometimes though the variety even amazes me. Like today when amongst the ham and cheese and tuna sandwiches there was a fruit sandwich. As in strawberries, bananas and kiwi fruit placed between two slices of white bread.

There was much more traditional fare inside the Saitama Super Arena this morning as the short dance was held and the venue was filled with the strains of Foxtrot and Quickstep music.

Coincidentally, the avenue that took Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte and Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, the top two teams, to first and second place with 69.70 points and 69.20 points, respectively was the "42nd Street" musical soundtrack.

There was very little to choose between the Italians and the Canadians with the former shading it on the technical side and the latter on the program component scores.

They will be fighting it out with Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat who are just a point exactly behind the Canadians with 68.20. Bourzat wobbled visibly on the second part of the twizzle sequence in their “Fosse” medley short dance and without that error the French would probably have been in the lead.

"We're not 100% happy because we made two little mistakes and that was a disappointment for us. The Japanese crowd has always supported us during our career and they deserved to see better than what we did today," Pechalat commented afterwards.

Madison Chock and Evan Bates took up the mantle for U.S. ice dance by performing their Hollywood-themed short exceedingly well to position themselves in fourth overall on 67.71 points which was a new personal best.

It was a repeat of the twizzle terror that Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov suffered in Budapest at the European Championships, although this time it was in the short and Katsalapov was the victim. This dumped the Olympic bronze medalists down to fifth place on 65.67 points.

There seemed to be no hard feelings between the team who are reportedly splitting at the end of the season. They walked in to the press conference room hand-in-hand for the draw for the free dance.

If the split is true, their behaviour today was odder than that fruit sandwich.