The amazing journey of the young man from Rooty Hill and the girl from Moscow has taken them to France to compete with the best of the best – not a position either of them could have predicted a year ago.
With coach Andrei Pachin at the barrier, Harley and Katia began their short program strongly with an easy split triple twist followed by well-matched double axels and a high level, complex lift.
The planned throw triple lutz, which they successfully completed at the national championships last week, was called by the technical panel as a flip and not well in Marseille resulting in a fall by Katia and a one-point penalty.
The overall performance was more assured, with both smiling and looking comfortable in a big-time event.
“It was not too bad,” Harley said immediately after the program. “I feel much more relaxed at bigger comps now and it hasn’t really hit me yet that it’s a final event. So far, it feels like every other comp.”
Olympic Gold Medal coach Nina Mozer, who suggested the pairing late last year, was also rink-side for the Aussie pair.
“It was good having Nina there,” Katia and Harley said. “She was my coach and has helped us when we train in Moscow,” Katia explained.
Unison trouble on the side by side spin impacted their score but the overall power and improvement in the Sydney-based pair during their first season together garnered a PB and leaves them sitting in a tight race with four Russian and one Czech pair for a possible podium finish in the free program early Sunday morning, AEDT time.
Leading the event are Russians Anastasia Mishina and Vladislav Mirzoev on 64.73, followed by Anna Duksova Martin Bidar (CZE) 61.38 and in third after the short are Alina Ustmkina and Nikita Volodin (RUS) on 59.05.
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