Sui Wenjing/Han Cong (CHN) performing in the gala exhibition at the 2021 Asia Open Figure Skating test event for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics at Capital Indoor Stadium in Beijing, China. @Getty Images
2018 Olympic silver medalists Wenjing Sui/Cong Han of China headline a deep Pair Skating field. The final Figure Skating event at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games promises another highlight at the Capital Indoor Stadium Friday and Saturday.
Sui/Han aim for gold, but face stiff competition
The Olympic Winter Games on home ice is what two-time World Champions Wenjing Sui/Cong Han (CHN) have waited for ever since Beijing was awarded the Games. Sui/Han have been a top team since they started their international career, first as juniors, then at the senior level: The couple has collected three ISU World Junior titles, a record of six ISU Four Continents titles and five ISU World medals, including two gold.
Wenjing Sui/Cong Han (CHN) skate in the Pair Skating Short Program Team Event during the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China. @Getty Images
The Chinese team skates to the Flamenco “Nyah” in the Short Program and to “Bridge Over Troubled Water” in the Free Skating. Sui/Han set a new highest score in the Short Program in the Team Event in Beijing 2022 with 82.83 points. Their seasons best total score is 224.55 points and they look ready to crown their spectacular career with Olympic gold – and to follow in the footsteps of their coach Hongbo Zhao, who with his partner Xue Shen, won China’s first and so far only Olympic Figure Skating title in 2010.
However, a trio of strong Pairs from ROC is ready for the challenge. Anastasia Mishina/Aleksandr Galliamov have been on the rise since the past season when they came more or less out of nowhere to claim the World title in their debut at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships, beating among others Sui/Han. Mishina/Galliamov, who are coached by the legendary Tamara Moskvina, continued their dominance this season and won the ISU European title last month in Tallinn (EST). The young couple from St. Petersburg who skates to “Esmeralda” and “The Snowstorm” holds the highest total score with 239.82 points.
Anastasia Mishina/Aleksandr Galliamov (ROC) skate during the Pair Skating Free Skating Team Event at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China. @Getty Images
Young and experienced ROC couples
Two-time European Champions Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov are the only of the ROC teams that competed at Olympic Games before, they ranked fourth in PyeongChang 2018. The two-time World silver medalists come to Beijing 2022 with a seasons (and personal) best of 236.43 points and their programs “Pygmalion and Galatea” as well as “Lighthouse”.
Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov (ROC) perform during the Pairs's Short Program at the 2022 European Figure Skating Championships in Tallinn, Estonia. @AFP
2021 World bronze medalists Alexandra Boikova/Dmitrii Kozlovskii who train with Mishina/Galliamov are the third top Pair from ROC. The 2020 ISU European Champions have a seasons best of 227.23 points.
Alexandra Boikova/Dmitrii Kozlovskii (ROC) perform during the Pairs's Short Program at the 2022 European Figure Skating Championships in Tallinn, Estonia. @AFP
Other contenders include two-time ISU Four Continents medalists Cheng Peng/Yang Jin (CHN) and Kirsten Moore-Towers/Michael Marinaro (CAN), up and coming ISU Grand Prix medalists Riku Miura/Ryuichi Kihara (JPN), Ashley Cain/Timothy LeDuc (USA) and Alexa Knierim/Brandon Frazier (USA).
The attention is as well on Vanessa James/Eric Radford (CAN), who skate together only in their first season as a team, but both are very accomplished: She is the 2019 ISU European Champion with former partner Morgan Cipres (FRA) while he is the 2018 Olympic bronze medalist with Meagan Duhamel (CAN).
Vanessa James/Eric Radford (CAN) skate during the Pair Skating Free Skating Team Event at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China.@Getty Images
A total of 19 Pairs representing 13 ISU Members are competing. The Pairs Figure Skating competition starts Friday with the Pairs Short Program.