Hours after learning he would be skating, Roman Sadovsky put Canada in eighth place in the figure skating team event at the Beijing Olympics.
The 22-year-old from Toronto had a shaky skate the morning after the Canadian team informed him he’d be stepping in for Canadian champion Keegan Messing, who remains in Canada awaiting a negative COVID-19 test.
“I was told to just stay ready, be prepared,” Sadovsky said on the late notice. “All season I’ve been working towards the Olympic Games. I know the Games have a team event. It’s a little bit of an endurance kind of weekend after all the programs. I came here prepared to do anything, really.”
With no room for error in the short program, Sadovsky underrotated and two-footed the landing on his quadruple Salchow — a jump he said he usually lands comfortably — to finish with 71.06 points.
“Kind of disappointing honestly,” Sadovsky said. “Only because those are mistakes that I don’t usually make. The quad Salchow is a comfort jump for me. It was very successful this season. There was just a slight mishap on the takeoff that didn’t allow me to pull in.
“Definitely your mind races a little bit (after an early mistake). Like, right after it happens. But I know from experience that you’ve got to throw that away and really stay present in the moment and that’s what I did after the first jump.”
The U.S. leads the way after Nathan Chen’s score of 111.71, just 0.11 shy of the world record held by Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu. Japan’s Shoma Uno was second (105.46), while Russia’s Mark Kondratiuk was third (95.81).
Chen scored 11.00 points for his quad flip, while Sadovsky, by comparison, scored just 4.3 on his quad attempt. Chen’s triple-triple combination scored 17.27, compared to 7.20 for the Canadian.
The ice dance and pairs programs were set for later Friday.
A couple hundred fans sat in every other seat, resembling a checkerboard, in a section of the Capital Indoor Stadium. They politely clapped during the programs — cheering isn’t permitted due to COVID-19 safety restrictions.
The teams have their own rinkside booths to cheer on teammates, and rather than await scores in the traditional “kiss and cry,” skaters rejoin their teammates when they’ve skated.
Sadovsky, the Canadian silver medallist last month behind Messing, hasn’t been told whether Messing might arrive in time for Sunday’s men’s free program — countries are allowed to substitute skaters between the long and short program.
But Sadovsky, who’s making his Olympic debut, said he’s preparing as if he’ll skate.
“I haven’t really been in touch with (Messing),” he said “We’re not that close to be honest. Nothing against him, we’re just not the closest. We haven’t been in touch and I don’t know the status.”
The men’s singles individual event begins with the short program on Tuesday.
The women’s short program is also Sunday. Medals will be awarded on Monday after the free programs for pairs, ice dance and women.
The team event — which features one entry per country in each of the four disciplines — was added to the Olympic program in 2014 in Sochi, where Canada captured silver.
A Canadian team led by ice dance stars Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won gold four years ago in Pyeongchang.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 3, 2022.