Skating champion Ashley Cain-Gribble suffered a terrible fall and was stretchered off the ice at the World Figure Skating Championships Thursday before Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier became the first Americans to win a worlds pairs’ title since 1979.
Cain-Gribble, 26, and skating partner Timothy LeDuc, 31, went into the contest in Montpellier, southas hot favorites to take home major prizes.
They won a small silver medal at the short program earlier this week and competed against ten other partnerships in the pairs free skate yesterday.
Cain-Gribble made an anguished apology to her skating partner for the slip-up, but he was having none of it and consoled her as she was stretchered off the ice to receive doctors’ help
But during an attempted triple Salchow air spin, Cain-Gribble lost her balance and came crashing down.
The pro sportswoman had already fallen twice during the routine, but the final fall brought the couple’s program to a sudden finish.
The hard crash landing had medics dash over with a wheeled stretcher, where Cain-Gribble was urgently checked for a concussion.
As she received treatment, one spectator shouted: ‘We love you Ash!’
The brave figure skater appeared in great pain as she was wheeled off the ice by paramedics
The horrific fall wrecked Cain-Gribble and LeDuc’s chances in the world pairs event at the Figure Skating World Championships in Montpellier, south France
She tearfully apologized to partner LeDuc, who refused to accept it and instead consoled his heartbroken partner.
Cain-Gribble was taken to the hospital for ‘additional evaluation and observation’, according to US Skating.
The shocking fall overshadowed the victory by fellow Americans Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier, who take home the United States’ first world pairs’ title since 1979.
LeDuc continued the routine for a few moments before realizing his partner had fallen down
The couple had wowed judges in Montpellier, winning a silver medal in the short program prior
Knierim and Frazier hugged LeDuc as he walked off the ice following the end of the routine – and the pair’s chance at gold.
Knierim commented afterwards: ‘You realize how dangerous skating can be. Even when you are prepared, things can happen.’
Partner Frazier added: ‘Our hearts go out to them. They’re our friends first, competitors second, so we were naturally really concerned to see what was going on with them.’
The victorious couple comfortably won gold ahead of Japanese runners-up and bronze medalists from Canada.
Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier take home the United States’ first world pairs’ skating title for 43 years, breaking the record set by Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner in 1979
The pair completed a calm and collected routine after their compatriots’ fall earlier in the day
Tears of joy: once their routine was over, Knierim and Frazier wept with happiness and relief
They missed the national championships in January after Frazier tested positive for Covid, finishing sixth at the Beijing Winter Olympics last month.
Russia’s dominating skaters were banned from the tournament in France after their country invaded Ukraine in late February, maximizing the American skaters’ chances at top prizes.
Knierim and Frazier performed brilliantly to win their prize, taking 20 points more than the next-best couple.
Frazier said it was the victory was the highlight of his career and ‘even better’ than he imagined it would be.
‘For Alexa and I this was such a personal journey since we started, so to finish the season on this kind of program that means so much to us dearly’, he said. ‘I dreamed about this moment so many times but this was even better.’
#Ashley #CainGribble #stretchered #ice #fall #figure #skating #world #championship