Victoria Kavaliova and Yurii Bieliaiev of Belarus used borrowed skates during their ice dance short program Thursday night at Budweiser Gardens after theirs were lost in transit.
Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue still have a chance to win gold in ice dancing at the World Figure Skating Championships but they’ll have to perform a remarkable free dance Saturday.
The local duo had trouble with both their synchronized twizzles – that didn’t synch – and in the no-touch step sequence, they were also off.
It was enough to leave them more than three points behind American rivals Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who set a world record with 77.12.
“It only takes a millisecond to get out of control,” Moir said.
“We’re further behind than we’d like to be,” Virtue added.
Virtue and Moir’s program was still impressive, though.
Davis and White performed a superlative routine to Giselle Thursday night before a crowd with tons of American flags.
They were smooth and composed throughout the program.
It was well rehearsed and felt like a theatrical production on blades, so inventive and magical.
Even the U.S. team was surprised at their excellent performance.
“We’ve sort of impressed ourselves,” White said. “There’s a certain maturity that comes along with experience.”
Canadian teammates Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje were charming in their short dance performed to The Sound of Music soundtrack and scored a solid 67.54, despite Weaver coming back quickly after suffering a broken fibula in December. “The sky’s the limit,” she told the media after the routine. They are in sixth place.
The crowd gave an especially long ovation to Belarus couple Viktoria Kavaliova and Yurii Bieliaiev, who barely made it to London and then had to compete with someone else’s skates.
“At first we didn’t get our Visa in time. We only got it Monday last minute and flew Tuesday from Minsk to Frankfurt, but a lot of flights were cancelled because of snowfall. We were re-booked on a different airline,” Kavaliova said.
“We just made the plane last minute but our luggage didn’t get here. We arrived Wednesday morning in London, but had no luggage.”
Volunteer Adam Jones gave Bieliaiev his skates and Paul Moir (Scott Moir’s uncle) lent his daughter’s skates to Kavaliova.
Bieliaiev’s skates were single blade, though. “They are longer and have a toe pick and I didn’t have enough time to adapt. I was five or six years old the last time I skated in this kind of boots.”
Still, they were pleased to be on the ice, they said.