China's Sui/Han set new world record to lead pair skating short program at Beijing 2022

BEIJING, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) - China's two-time world champions Sui Wenjing and Han Cong finished first in the figure skating short program with a new world record score of 84.41 points at the Beijing Winter Olympics here on Friday.

China's Sui Wenjing and China's Han Cong compete in the pair skating short program of the figure skating event during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at the Capital Indoor Stadium in Beijing on February 18, 2022. (Photo: AFP)

Eugenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov of the Russian Olympic Committee were in second place, just 0.16 points behind Sui/Han.

Reigning world and European champions Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov, who won the team event on February 7, posted their season best 82.76 and ranked third, followed by another ROC pair Aleksandra Boikova/Dmitrii Kozlovskii with 78.59.

Sui/Han, the PyeongChang Winter Olympics silver medalists, skated a flawless and emotional routine to Mission Impossible 2, delivering a side-by-side triple Toeloop and throw triple Flip with all other factors in level-four.

Their fellow Chinese Peng Cheng and Jin Yang, runners-up of the 2020 Four Continents Championships, were fifth in 76.10 after being classified with a level-two death spiral despite a level-four triple twist lift, combination spin, step sequence and lift.

American pairs Alexa Knierim/Brandon Frazier and Ashley Cain-Gribble/Timothy Leduc, Japan's Riku Miura/Ryuichi Kihara, and Karina Safina/Luka Berulava from Georgia were also among the top 16 to advance to Saturday's free skate.

A total of 19 pairs have qualified to Beijing 2022 figure skating, but just 18 pairs hit the rink on Friday as Loulia Chtchetinina/Mark Magyar, Hungary's first pair in 66 years to have made the Olympics, withdrew after Magyar tested positive for COVID-19.