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Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay execute a death spiral during their free skate to music from Les Misérables.


and we fought through the diffi cult times,” Cas- telli added. T e fi nish was the best for an American pairs


team at the Olympics since 2006 and an improve- ment upon the 13th-place fi nish that Castelli and Shnapir achieved at the 2013 World Champion- ships.


“We couldn’t have asked for a better expe-


rience, from the start of the Games to the end,” Shnapir said. “It seems so clichéd, but we had fun. We came here to compete and when we got off the ice, we loved every moment of being here. We have no regrets.” To some it was unexpected, but success this season came as no surprise to Zhang and Bar- tholomay, who made the Olympic Team in just their third season together. T ey put out two clean performances at the Olympics and will use their 12th-place fi nish as a stepping stone for the future. “What we wanted to do was make this just like any other competition,” Bartholomay said. “We have been so consistent in training, and we turned that into consistency under pressure in competitions.” Zhang and Bartholomay were in 14th place


after skating a strong short program to “T e Car- ousel Waltz,” which featured a throw triple fl ip and a Level 3 death spiral. T ey earned an interna- tional-best 56.90 points. As a relatively new team, the Florida-based


skaters have been building throughout their part- nership, which began prior to the 2011‒12 sea- son. T e pair fi nished eighth at their fi rst U.S. Championships before earning bronze last year and silver this year. Still learning, Zhang and Bar- tholomay are taking everything they can from each competition. “We went to the Olympics to not only en-


Bartholomay and Zhang give each other a fi st bump following their free skate.


joy the experience, but to help us with our future competitions for the rest of our career,” Zhang said.


A high point in Boston at the U.S. Champi- onships, Zhang and Bartholomay’s Les Misérables free skate lifted them in the standings in Sochi. Skating fi rst, Zhang and Bartholomay executed their elements with precision. Only one of their elements received a slight negative GOE as they moved up in the standings to fi nish in 12th with 167.21 points. T e fi nish is the best for the second U.S. pairs team at the Olympics since 1998. “It was really exciting to put out two clean


programs,” Zhang said. “We’re really proud of all the hard work we put into this, and we just com- peted in our fi rst Olympic Games and handled the pressure really well.” T e performances of both Castelli and Shna-


pir, and Zhang and Bartholomay earned the Unit- ed States its best combined fi nish in pairs at the Olympics since 2006. Russia’s Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Tran-


Zhang and Bartholomay perform an eff ortless lift during their short program.


kov claimed the gold medal. T eir countrymates Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov earned the silver medal, while Germany’s Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy captured the bronze.


SKATING 19


CLIVE MASON/GETTY IMAGES


MATTHEW STOCKMAN/GETTY IMAGES


MATTHEW STOCKMAN/GETTY IMAGES


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