A Swedish slip-up during the ladies’ short program on Wednesday night secured Norwegian figure skater Anne Line Gjersem a spot in Thursday’s free skating final. Gjersem, Norway’s first female Olympic figure skater in 50 years, held onto 24th place to just make the final cut.
Gjersem scored 48.56 after her short program and looked like missing out on a finals spot, until Sweden’s Viktoria Helgesson fell twice during her routine. Gjersem’s twin sister Camille, who was part of TV2’s commentary team, burst into tears on air when she realized her sister would go through.
“Ah, this was the best thing that could happen,” 20-year-old told Anne Line told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “I’m looking forward to going again! I’ve really worked hard to get here. That I’ve now managed to qualify is the best feeling.” Gjersem said she aimed to place higher in the free skating final. Either way her achievement is something for Norway to celebrate: Gjersem is the country’s first Olympic figure skating contender since 1964.
“We must be honest and admit at one stage we probably thought that it would be a bitter 25th place, and just not enough points to move on,” said international judge and NRK’s figure skating expert, Mona Adolfsen. But it was only half a point up to the qualification spot, and everyone must do their part to go further.”
South Korea’s Yuna Kim placed first in the qualification round with a score of 74.92, just ahead of Russian Adelina Sotnikova on 74.64 and Carolina Kostner from Italy with 74.12.