Eurosport - Thu, 25 Mar 17:05:00 2010
Sinead and John Kerr put their Olympic disappointment well and truly behind them as they cast off the shackles in a season's best original dance at the World Figure Skating Championships in Turin.
The seven-time British ice dance champions always bring innovation and fun, but their score of 58.23 finally delivered on the quality that was slightly missing in both the European Championships and Winter Olympics.
It was a brave move to switch from their Johnny Cash-inspired American country routine back to their traditional Scottish dance but the switch paid dividends.
The twizzles that proved so troublesome in Vancouver were moved to the start of the dance and passed without error as the Kerrs maintained synchronisation throughout.
A caution on speed was the only drawback of the routine but the relief on John's face was palpable as they moved into fifth with their score.
And Sinead admitted she felt the decision to change dance had been vindicated by their performance in Turin, with the couple looking set to improve on their career best World Championship finish of seventh.
"It's been a while since we've done this dance but it's one we've always enjoyed in the past," said Sinead.
"The crowd got behind us and we felt comfortable."
Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and USA 's Olympic silver medallists Meryl Davis and Charlie White will battle it out for the top two places again after season's bests in their original dance.
But bronze looks to be out of reach for the Kerrs as home favourites Federica Faella and Massimo Scali extended their lead in third place, scoring 59.16 despite a technically sloppy dance to sit on 100.01 overall.
Meanwhile, British second couple Christina Chitwood and Mark Hanretty impressed to score the 20th best original dance.
Their score of 44.27 wasn't enough to propel them into the top 20 qualifiers for the final free dance but it was a vast improvement on Tuesday's nervy short program.
The couple were ruled out of representing Great Britain at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver after American-born Chitwood was denied UK citizenship in time for the event.
But after national runners-up Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland were given the nod for the European Championships and Olympics, Chitwood and Hanretty were handed a chance to prove their talents in Turin .
And while their score was 3.4 lower than Coomes and Buckland at the same point in Vancouver , Chitwood and Hanretty's performance suggests the young couple will have rivals battling for British supremacy when the Kerrs finally step away from the sport.