Figure skaters Sui/Han wins China 2nd silver medal

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Figure skaters Sui Wenjing/Han Cong won China a second silver medal at PyeongChang Olympics on Thursday in pair event with 235.47 points after free skating, 0.43 points away from the top of the podium.

Sui Wenjing (L) and Han Cong of China compete during the pair skating free skating of figure skating at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games, in Gangneung Ice Arena, South Korea, on Feb. 15, 2018. Sui Wenjing and Han Cong won the silver medal in the pair skating event with 235.47 points in total. (Xinhua/Han Yan)

The silver came after Liu Jiayu snatched the silver medal of the women's snowboard halfpipe for China on Tuesday and became the first Chinese snowboard Olympic medalist.

Rebounding from the disappointing fourth finish in short program, world championships runners-up Aljona Savchenko/Bruno Massot of Germany won the gold with a personal best of 235.90 points, while team gold medallists Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford of Canada took the bronze medal with 230.15 points. The Canadians also become the first in the Olympic history to successfully finish a throw quad Salchow.

Leading in short program, Sui/Han was hopeful to become the second Chinese pair to claim the Olympic gold in this event, after their coach Zhao Hongbo paring his wife Shen Xue won the title in Vancouver 2010.

Skating to the classic Turandot by Giacomo Puccini, the Chinese duo, the last but one to skate, suffered a major setback when Han under-rotated a double toeloop in a planned combination of triple Salchow plus two double toeloop jumps at the beginning.

The hesitation-caught Sui stumbled on the following side-by-side triple Salchow jump, which killed the pair's "gold" dream in the advance, given a flawless routine by the German duo before theirs.

But the Chinese pair refused to cave in and finished the rest of the program with passion and infectious performance, giving a vivid depiction of the Italian musical bout the love story of a proud Chinese princess.

"It's a great, great pity for us. We are so close to the championship regarding the final score," the 25-year-old Han told Xinhua. "But we have great respect to the German and Canadian pairs, standing on the podium with us. They were competing with my coach Zhao before. They never give up, which is, for us, a great encouragement. We will show you the best of us at Beijing Games."

Wearing a big smile on her teary face, Sui, 22, showed satisfaction with the Olympic debut and appreciation to the supporters, those in China, particularly.

"It's my first Olympics and I'm happy with what we have done so far. It's an incomparable experience. I have come so far to be here after 15 years of skating, and it's worthwhile," said Sui.

"I know a lot people back in China hope we can win. First of all, I want to express my appreciation to my motherland and say thank you to my coach, my team and my fellow countrymen and second I wanna say 'please be patient. See you four years later in Beijing' ," she added. Thursday's final also proved unforgettable for the German pair, especially for veteran Aljona Savchenko, a five-time Olympian and twice bronze winner, who knelt onto the ice and buried her face into the hands when the music of La Terre Vue Du Ciel stopped.

"I can't still believe the dream come true. I never give up," Savcheko told a post-game press conference. "You never know what happen. I will fight to the end. It's all I know. Fighting."

"It's just amazing especially to come back from the 4th place to the 1st place," said Bruno Massot, proud of his first Olympics and the coming-from-behind victory. "We had a meeting yesterday, all team. Tomorrow is another day. We have to attack the free program like tigers. Today we really enjoy our free program."

Another Chinese combination, Yu Xiaoyu/Zhang Hao, who have paired up for less than two years, finished 8th with 204.10 points. The first-time Olympian Yu, 22, succumbed to nerve and fell onto the ice after a triple Salchow jump and a throw triple Salchow.

For the host South Korean spectators, their hearts went for Ryom Tae-ok/Kim Ju-sik from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). The confident pair refreshed their personal best with 193.63 points before a loud, adoring DPRK female cheer squad, to finish the 13th out of 16 pairs.

In the team event competition on Monday, Canada won the gold medal, with the OAR claiming the silver and the United States the bronze.

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