The opening day of the 2021 ISU World Figure Skating was one that looked very different to previous competitions, but the empty seats did not dampen the occasion. The previous 12 months have been like no other for everyone, but the drive and determination shown by the skaters who are representing Great Britain is to be admired.
That commitment could not have been more apparent than in the display shown by Zoe Jones and Chris Boydaji in the Pairs Short Program. A few mistakes through the program ultimately cost them, but to have even made it to the World Championships is testament to their skill and dedication. They only began their full training in February, and certainly made up for lost time. They kept pushing and fighting throughout to end with a score of 38.79. It wasn’t enough to make it through to the Free Skate but the hard work put in over the past 5 weeks had shone through.
Earlier in the day Natasha McKay was 17th to go from a group of 39 in the Ladies Short Program. She started brightly with a well-executed triple toe, double loop combination and it set the tone for an excellent display. The opening toe + loop combination was backed up by an equally good triple salchow, as she showed the very best of her ability.
It was an accomplished performance and was well rewarded with a score of 58.15, putting her into 7th at that point. With 21 skaters still to go it was a nervous wait to see if she had done enough to make it through to Friday’s Free Skate.
When confirmation came through Natasha said: "I am super excited to have made the free skate. It has been a really tough season and I am grateful for the support of BIS and everyone within my team. My coaches have been amazing to keep me going in these crazy times and I am grateful for that.
She added: "It was strange competing in an empty stadium but the other team members from GBR were amazing and it helped me so much. I will concentrate on the free skate and give it everything on Friday"