FIGURE SKATING: With the final Olympic quota places on offer, figure skaters from across the world converged on the Bavarian enclave of Oberstdorf, Germany overnight.
Brooklee Han was Australia’s first athlete to compete, taking part in the ladies’ individual short program.
Han, who earlier in the year was unlucky to miss qualification at the World Championships by just one place, executed a quality short program, skating to the music Prayer for Taylor by Michael Smith and Titanic Symphony by Richard Clayderman.
Despite falling on her triple loop, Han recovered her composure to finish her routine with poise and control, earning 48.74 points.
At the end of the short program, Han was in 10th place overall – fifth placed of those athletes seeking qualification. With her free program set to get underway in the early hours of Saturday morning (AEST), Han will now look to refocus and set her sights on maintaining the top-six berth needed for Olympic qualification.
Danielle O’Brien and Greg Merriman, Australia’s first ever ice dance couple to qualify for the free skate at a World Championship, produced a truly outstanding performance.
After debuting their new program at the recent Skate Down Under event in Sydney, O’Brien and Merriman looked to have ironed out any nerves they may have shown then, nailing their routine to finish on 50.52 points, in 6th position overall.
The short program, danced to the Finnstep, was performed to music from The Cotton Club – a movie about jazz music in Harlem. The pair from Sydney, who have been competing together for 15 years, did not miss a beat in their routine, producing clean steps with spirited presentation.
With 18 couples seeking one of only five spots on offer, O’Brien and Merriman are currently sitting in third place, behind Agafonova and Ucar of Turkey, and Huang and Zheng of China.
With the free program worth more points, and the strong couples from Japan, Slovakia and Spain nipping at their heels, the Aussie duo will have to put together a near perfect routine to ensure they lock in their ticket to Sochi.
Competition continues as below:
Friday 27 September
Men’s Short Program: Starts at 08.30 local time (16.30 AEST)
Ladies’ Free Program: Starts at 17.55 local time (01.55 AEST Saturday)
Saturday 28 September
Men’s Free Program: Starts at 08.54 local time (16.55 AEST)
Ice Dance Free Program: Starts at 15.15 local time (23.15 AEST)
The event is being live streamed on the International Skating Union's youtube channel here>>>