Ice Network

French duo fights through costume malfunction

Team skates cautiously after strap on Papadakis' dress comes undone
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Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron believe they would be closer to Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir had a part of her dress not come undone during the team's short dance Monday. -Getty Images

French ice dancer Gabriella Papadakis suffered a wardrobe malfunction during the Olympic short dance Monday, a mishap that likely caused her and partner Guillaume Cizeron to lose ground to main rivals Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada, who sit in first place.

At the very beginning of the couple's short dance to a pair of Ed Sheeran songs, the strap around Papadakis' neck came undone.

"I felt it right away, and I prayed," Papadakis said.

Marie-France Dubreuil, one of the team's coaches, said the issue with Papadakis' costume prevented the skaters from really attacking the program.

"It had an effect on their performance because instead of dancing and being in the moment, they were just trying to keep it together," Dubreuil said. "So there was not the freedom of movement that they normally have."

When she met with reporters afterward, Papadakis appeared visibly shaken by the incident.

"It was pretty distracting. It was my worst nightmare happening at the Olympics," Papadakis said. "It happened in the first few seconds of the program, and I told myself I didn't have a choice, I had to keep going, and that's what I did, and I think we can be proud of ourselves."

Papadakis and Cizeron, who won world titles in 2015 and 2016 and defeated Virtue and Moir for the first time in head-to-head competition at the Grand Prix Final in December, were awarded 81.93 points on the day.

But, they believe, it could have been more.

"It's frustrating to miss a few points just because of a costume issue. It's not what you get ready for when you train," Cizeron said. "I'm so proud we managed to pull out a program like that even with a difficulty like this."

Papadakis and Cizeron still have a reasonable chance of overtaking Virtue and Moir, the 2010 Olympic champions who posted a world record mark of 83.67 in the short dance to take a 1.74-point lead over the French. In the free dance at the Grand Prix Final, Papadakis and Cizeron came out 1.76 points ahead of the Canadians.

Cizeron said, "Tomorrow is a new day, and we'll do our best as always. There is nothing we could do about this (costume issue). We just have to keep going."