Pairs In The Medal Hunt

Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy

There was a good crowd in the arena for the pairs short program, which got under way at the unfortunate hour of 10:00 a.m.

As expected, Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy took the lead with their "Pink Panther" program. The Germans are appearing in their 10th Worlds and skated solidly, if not spectacularly. They executed a triple flip throw, a triple twist and triple toe loops, rounded off with Level 4 for all elements and earned 79.02 points.

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford find themselves in a much better position than they were in Sochi and look like gaining another podium finish after capturing bronze at Worlds last season. The Canadians had the most technically challenging routine of the segment with a triple Lutz throw and side-by-side triple Lutz jumps to add to their other elements.

They are in second place with a new career best of 77.01 points. Perhaps there should be bonus points for composing your own program music as they skated to a piece written by Radford in memory of a former coach.

Hot on the heels of Duhamel and Radford are Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov. The Olympic silver medalists sit in third with 76.15 points after putting down a clean short to "Surrender" by Jesse Cook. The Russian team is competing in its very first World Championships.

The pairs and the rest of us will be back for the free tomorrow at the slightly better, but still ungodly hour of 11:30 a.m., Japanese time.