French ice dancers Guillaume Cizeron and Gabriella Papadakis finished in second place at the end of the first half of their competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics, despite Papadakis’ costume coming undone for much of their routine.
The skaters’ short dance on Monday afternoon, which aired Sunday night stateside, was marred by the wardrobe malfunction, in which Papadakis’ top appeared to come unclasped from around her neck — resulting in part of her left breast being briefly exposed on the ice.
While the mistake did undercut their final score of 81.93, it was more than good enough for second place, behind Canada’s Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue’s score of 83.67. No other ice dancers broke 80.
The two pairs, along with the American Shibutani siblings, are widely seen as podium contenders.
“It’s just frustrating to miss a few points just because of a costume issue,” Cizeron, 23, told reporters afterward next to a teary-eyed Papadakis, at one point wrapping an arm around her waist.
“It’s not what we get ready for when we train. But you know, I’m so proud that we managed to pull out a program like that even with a difficulty like this,” he said. “And we just look forward to a new day tomorrow and we have our chances to win and we’ll just do our best.”
It remains unclear what caused the problem, which occurred relatively early in their short dance.
“My costume opened up,” Papadakis, 22, explained later to the press.
“It was difficult. It’s the first time that something like that happened,” she said. “I tried to stay focused and finish without anything [else happening].”
Cizeron, who took nearly all questions from a group of reporters after their skate, said the outfit was “in our thoughts all along the program, a little bit. I think the twizzles [a move in ice dancing] is the only thing that kind of affected us the most because, you know, when you rotate it’s kind of hard to keep your dress on when it’s open.”
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Only one reporter asked them about something besides the wardrobe problem — to which Papadakis immediately responded, audibly grateful, “Thank you for not talking about the dress anymore.”
“We do what inspires us and we really try to create programs that we can have fun with,” Cizeron said of their performance, “and I think it is, it has to be different from what other skaters have done before. We’ve got to keep the sport modern and new and that’s what is exciting about figure skating as well and ice dancing particularly.”
Other skaters soon rallied to Papadakis on Twitter. American ice dancer Meryl Davis, the 2014 gold medalist with partner Charlie White, wrote: “My heart is broken for G/G today. For something like a costume malfunction to hinder this moment for them is utterly devastating.”
Canadian pair skater Meagan Duhamel replied to Davis, writing, “Devestating …. a costume malfunction can be such a disturbance mentally. I’m sad for them that this happened at this moment. :-(”
Asked how she was feeling after the short dance, a still-tearful Papadakis said “not great” and then laughed.
They will next return to Olympic ice on Tuesday for the free dance.
The 2018 Winter Olympics are airing live on NBC. To learn more, visit teamusa.org.