South Korea's figure skating pair Min Yu-ra and Alexander Gamelin finished eighth in the ice dance short program at an International Skating Union (ISU) competition here on Thursday.
Min and Gamelin marked a total segment score of 59.01 points at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championship in Gangneung, Gangwon Province, some 230 kilometers east of Seoul. Their score was eighth best among 16 ice dance teams who performed at Gangneung Ice Arena.
The other South Korean representatives, Lee Ho-jung and Kam Kang-in, took 13th place with a score of 44.57.
Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, the 2010 Olympic champions and the 2014 Olympic silver medalists, topped the short dance competition at 79.75. The reigning Four Continents champions Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the United States finished second at 76.59, followed by their compatriots Madison Chock and Evan Bates at 74.67.
The ice dance event will conclude on Friday with the free dance program.
Min and Gamelin, who skated seventh in order, had a technical element score (TES) of 32.75, and a program component score (PCS) of 26.26. Their combined score in the short program was just 0.21 point behind their career best score.
The ice dance tandem, who teamed up in 2015, finished eighth at the Four Continents last year. Gamelin is an American citizen, but is seeking naturalization to compete at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics next year with Min.
At ISU competitions, as long as one member of a tandem is South Korean, that duo can compete under the South Korean flag. At the Olympics, however, both members of a team must be South Korean citizens to represent the country.
Lee and Kam, who skated after Min and Gamelin, had a TES of 22.94 and PCS of 22.63, but received a one point deduction as Lee fell to the ice during a synchronized twizzle.
In ice dance, throws and jumps are not allowed and spins must be performed together as a team. Unlike pairs figure skating, the discipline judges more the couple's footwork and how well they move as one with a definite rhythm.
In the pairs short program, South Korean teams took the last three spots.
Kim Su-yeon and Kim Hyung-tae finished 13th among 15 teams with a total score of 49.88. They were followed by Ji Min-ji and Themistocles Leftheris, who scored 45.81, and Kim Kyu-eun and Kam Kang-chan, who had 41.06.
Sui Wenjing and Han Cong of China, three-time Four Continents champions, finished first at 80.75, while another Chinese pair of Yu Xiaoyu and Zhang Hao were the runners-up at 75.20. Canada's Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, two-time world championship winners, were third at 74.31.
The pairs' free skating is scheduled for Saturday.
The Four Continents, open to non-European athletes, will have the women's short programs later Thursday.
The ISU competition is one of the test events for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. It is also the first international figure skating event held at Gangneung Ice Arena, the venue for figure skating and short track speed skating at the PyeongChang Games. Gangneung is a sub-host for the upcoming Winter Games that will stage ice sports. (Yonhap)