2016 Worlds, Pairs

Boston’s Worlds had more than one glitch in how they ran things, but probably one of the worst was when, the day of the pairs short, they didn’t leave sufficient time for clearing and cleaning the arena after the morning practices, meaning 40 minutes before the event found us crowded in the train station on the arena’s bottom floor, the line going some way out the door, waiting to be let in.  By the time I sat down, my only wish was simply for Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford to skate a clean short program, because I loved their short this year, and I love them, but, like everyone else, I honestly didn’t think they could win.

After all, as their haters had gleefully pointed out, the two Russian teams who weren’t at Worlds last year now both were, also Wenjing Sui & Cong Han were continuing their move upward and might also win, and even Aliona Savchenko & Bruno Massot were an extra wild card thrown into the mix, and D&R hadn’t been skating well for much of the season.  And indeed, when Sui & Han brought the house down with their short, when the Russians fumbled it, it looked like they might be the beneficiaries.

But then, Duhamel & Radford’s short program was pure joy to watch.  I felt it through the arena.  A supportive heavily-Canadian audience helped, obviously, but they weren’t the only ones of their feet when it ended.  Which perhaps was when we all should’ve realized that was all these trials and threats did for D&R was drive them to get better, like they would for any good pair of athletes.  Their long program was also on the sublime side, and if their skating will never match that of some other teams, they’ve got plenty of expression and other good things to make up for it.

And really, in the free, all those other teams so touted failed to get the job done.  I was actually disappointed in that; you want more good programs(I would have liked to have seen the Americans skate better too).  I especially wonder about Savchenko & Massot.  They may have tried to temper expectations, but they’re reminding me a little too strong of her with Robin Szolkowy: lovely skating, well-done programs(gala programs especially; theirs was my favorite performance on Sunday), and then mistakes.

So we were left with our second surprise repeat of the event, and our third overall repeat, which we at least knew would be our last, with the reigning ladies champion out:

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