Figure skating – Skaters bid farewell to the Beijing Games with a sparkling show

BEIJING, Feb 20 (Reuters) – The world’s top figure skaters put aside competitive nerves and scoring concerns on Sunday as they went wild on the final day of the Beijing Olympics at a gala event which bid farewell to a competition marked by greatness and controversy.

Medalists from each discipline and a handful of other top skaters participated, but a notable absentee was 15-year-old Kamila Valieva, favorite for gold in women’s singles who dropped to fourth after being scrambled to a doping scandal. Read more

The gala gave American skater Vincent Zhou, who was forced to withdraw from men’s singles after testing positive for COVID-19, another chance to be in the spotlight on Olympic ice – albeit out of competition. Read more

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With his face painted light blue, Georgian Morisi Kvitelashvili burst onto the ice wearing a blue genie costume, claiming to have materialized from Aladdin’s lamp.

True to her typical high-octane programs, Russian silver medalist Alexandra Trusova played American comic book hero Wonder Woman, spinning furiously as her waist-length braided red hair brushed the ice .

Spanish ice dancers Olivia Smart and Adrian Diaz raised the energy level with neon latex outfits seen in 1980s exercise videos and had the crowd screaming with Flashdance’s song “She’s A Maniac.”

Keegan Messing, who could be seen running down the aisle waving a giant Canadian flag to cheer on his teammates during the competition, was also a crowd favorite, showing off a blue denim backflip and lumberjack flannel top.

When Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu took the stage in a white sequined and lace top, photographers got busy again, flapping their shutters as fans screamed from the stands.

Many Olympic figure skaters are expected to compete in the world championships next month in France.

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Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber and Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Ken Ferris

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