Scoring a PB of 71.37 for their Free Dance, the Sydney couple broke into the main championship for the first time in five attempts, despite the heel of Greg’s boot splitting away in the last minute of their performance, requiring him to change feet for the final lifts in the program.
Australian Team Leader, Melina Simjanovic said their performance was mature and improved.
“Greg’s heel broke in last min of program and they kept going, which is amazing,” Melina said. “Overall they have improved so much and looking more mature. The work on the connection between each other and the audience has paid off, and their components marks show it. They are over the moon and so hyper. This result has already given them confidence and I think will be the turning point for them in their pathway to Olympic Winter Games.”
Danielle became aware something was amiss with Greg as they headed into the final section of the performance.
“Greg acknowledged to me with 45 seconds to go that something was wrong with his boot. I didn’t know what it was so told him to keep going as we went into the last lift. He did the lift on the other leg because he knew he wasn’t stable on the boot where the heel had broken. We saved the lift but the level was decreased because we did ¾ rotation instead of one rotation. It wasn’t until the end of the program when we got off that I realised just how bad his boot actually was,” Danielle recalled.
Greg, who is known as the laconic, laid back one in the team, took the mishap in his stride. “We are happy with this performance and it’s definitely an improvement from Four Continents last month. Technically didn’t bank all points we could have, but overall I feel it was the strongest this season and deserving of the PB, especially for the components. But I’ll go and get my boot fixed now,” Greg said.
With the world’s top fifteen contenders, including Vancouver Olympic Champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, earning direct entries to the final, it was left to the remaining twenty-three couples to battle for the ten places to compete in the Short Dance.
The Australians are relieved to be moving on. “As qualifying drew closer we became a lot more nervous thinking about getting over the hurdle of qualifying but we feel a lot more relaxed now, very prepared and have nothing to lose for the short. We can just go out and perform,” they said.
Danielle (22 from Strathfield) and Greg (24 from Canterbury) relocated to Bloomfields, Michigan USA in September last year to train full-time with Pasquale Camerlengo and Anjelika Krylova’s world-class stable of ice dancers to fulfil their dream of making the Australian Winter Olympic team for Sochi, 2014 after suffering the heartbreak of not qualifying for Vancouver when Greg became ill at the 2009 qualifying event.