GANGNEUNG, South Korea -- South Korea's ice dance team of Min Yu-ra and Alexander Gamelin on Monday performed a clean short dance to grab a ticket to the free dance at the ongoing PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
The duo scored 61.22 points to rank 16th in the short dance at Gangneung Ice Arena with the 17-day Winter Games entering its last phase.
It was slightly behind their best score of 61.97 set last year but much higher than the 51.97 points they earned in the team event last week as Min struggled with an untied costume.
Out of the 24 ice dancing teams, the top 20 will be given the chance to show their free dance Tuesday.
Three-time world champions and former Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada earned 83.67 to take the lead.
South Korea`s ice dance team of Min Yu-ra and Alexander Gamelin skate in the figure skating short dance at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in Gangneung Ice Arena on Feb. 19, 2018. (Yonhap)
Reigning European champion Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France were just 1.74 points behind the Canadian couple, while Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of the United States came in third with a score of 77.75.
Min and Gamelin started the short dance 12th in Group 3. At the time, they needed at least 59 points to qualify for the free dance on the following day.
Behind the loud applause and cheers by the home fans, they showed fluent pattern dances, footwork and lifts during the 2:58 program to a Latin mix of "Despacito" by Luis Fonsi, "My All" by Mariah Carey and "Mujer Latina" by Thalia.
As their score was announced, Min burst into tears.
"Right after I finished the performance, I started crying already, and I saw my coach, and he was crying already," Min said. "It was like a huge explosion of emotion."
The free dance ticket is important for them, as they can now dedicate their free dance music "Arirang" to the supportive Korean fans.
"We made our 'Arirang' free dance for this competition and for the Korea audience," said Gamelin, who received Korean citizenship before the PyeongChang Olympics. "I really wanted to give back to this country that has given me so much and so much opportunity. I really need to give my best back to Korea."
The Korean folk ballad has been at the center of controversy in the Olympics due to several words referencing the country's eastern islets of Dokdo. They cut out the line not to offend Japan.
For the costume malfunction, which irritated her in the team event, she made her preparation perhaps too perfect before the most important competition in her life.
"It's all stitched in. I can't get out of here," she said, laughing. "Thirty minutes before the competition, I got dressed and stitched it all in just in case." (Yonhap)