The final figure skating competition of the Beijing Olympics opened on Friday, as 18 pairs took the ice for the short program, a two-minute skate.
Unlike the ice dancing competition that took place earlier in the Games, pairs figure skating prioritizes more acrobatic skills: jumps, overhead lifts and throws.
Friday’s competition included performances by the rival pairs Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov of Russia, the reigning world champions, and Sui Wenjing and Han Cong of China, who won world titles in 2017 and 2019.
Sui and Han are eager for redemption. They had the gold within their grasp at the 2018 Olympics, but lost by a mere 0.43 points to a German team.
The early edge on Friday went to the Chinese team, which took the lead with the free skate still to come on Saturday. Mishina and Galliamov were in third, behind their fellow Russians Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov.