Eurosport - Tue, 23 Mar 15:13:00 2010
It may have come a month too late, but ice dancers Sinead and John Kerr scored a season's best compulsory dance to place sixth at the World Figure Skating Championships in Turin.
The Scottish siblings disappointed to finish eighth at their second Winter Olympics in Vancouver last month but bounced back with a score of 37.36 in Italy.
Having placed first and second after the first dance, Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and silver medallists in Vancouver Meryl Davis and Charlie White look set to battle it out for the top two places again in Turin.
But after impressing to knock 0.16 of their score from the British Championships in Sheffield in what they consider their weakest of their three dances, the Kerrs remain in the hunt for bronze.
Home favourites Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali, France's Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat and Russia's Jana Khokhlova and Sergei Novitski all stand in their way in third, fourth and fifth respectively.
But the Kerrs, who finished seventh in Los Angeles last year, are just 3.29 points off third place and are staying positive ahead of Thursday's original dance.
"The top five is our goal for the event and we know it's going to be tough but bronze is what we're realistically aiming for here and that was a good start," said Sinead, who admits the couple are postponing a decision on their retirement until after Turin.
"There's some great other couples out there though and Federica and Massimo will get great support.
"But we've changed our original dance to a Scottish one and hopefully that will get a good reaction from the crowd and the judges.
"It was definitely an advantage for us not skating in the same group as either of the Italian couples but we're confident in our ability and felt like we could go and perform."
Meanwhile, British second pair Christina Chitwood and Mark Hanretty placed 24th after a score of 24.70.
Making their World Championship debut, the duo were technically sound throughout but, after starting strongly, their speed faded as the dance progressed.
A stutter from Hanretty midway through the routine also cost the duo points as they scored 4.76 less than their season's best from December's NRW Trophy in Dortmund.
And with the top 20 progressing to the final free skate, Chitwood and Hanretty need to recover 1.92 on 20th placed Estonian couple Caitlin Mallory and Kirstjan Rand with their original dance.
Figure Skating World Championships:
Pairs Short Programme - Tuesday 6.10pm LIVE on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and Eurosport Player
Men's Short Programme - Wednesday 1pm LIVE on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and Eurosport Player
Pairs Free Programme - Wednesday 5.30pm LIVE on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and Eurosport Player
Original Dance - Thursday 11.45am & 2.45pm LIVE on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and Eurosport Player
Men's Free Skate - Thursday 8pm LIVE on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and Eurosport Player
Ladies Short Programme - Friday 12.30pm & 2.45pm LIVE on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and Eurosport Player
Free Dance - Friday 8pm LIVE on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and Eurosport Player
Ladies Free Skate - Saturday 6pm on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and Eurosport Player
Exhibition - Sunday 6.15pm on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and Eurosport Player