Winter Olympics: Lilah Fear & Lewis Gibson avoid Valieva distractions in ice dance

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Hosts: Beijing, China Dates: 4-20 February
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button and online; listen on BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Sounds; live text and highlights on BBC Sport website and mobile app

Britain’s Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson avoided being distracted by the turbulent times in their sport to claim a top-10 spot in the first part of the Olympic ice dance competition.

The focus at the figure skating returned to sport for a few hours on Saturday against the backdrop of the failed drugs test of Kamila Valieva.

The Britons scored 76.45 to sit 10th before Monday’s free dance.

“We’re super proud of the skate,” Gibson told BBC Sport.

Skating to a Kiss medley, the Britons looked like they had enjoyed every second of their performance in the rhythm dance, where the top-performing skaters were French four-time world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron with 90.83.

fear and gibson
Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson finished seventh at the 2021 World Championships

“It’s our first Olympics together,” Gibson said. “I want to remember it just loving every second, enjoying it all and not looking back with any regrets over what we did, in the preparation or in the performances.

“And I think so far we’ve done a good job of that.”

Skating under shadow of Valieva case

It was the first figure skating competition since the revelations of 15-year-old Valieva’s failed drugs test that has overshadowed the Games – and it was hard to escape the issue at the Capital Indoor Stadium.

Even while the event was going on the Court of Arbitration for Sport was busy announcing that its hearing on the Valieva case would be taking place on Sunday, with a decision to be announced on Monday.

And on the ice, Valieva’s coach Eteri Tutberidze’s daughter Diana Davis was in action.

Fear and Gibson said they had managed to avoid being distracted by the matter.

“We haven’t been exposed to it a lot,” Fear said. “I think we’re very isolated within our team and within the Olympic bubble. There is so much encouragement and uplifting energy anyway.”

Gibson added: “We have been so focused on doing what we’ve been doing, a schedule and a plan of just going back to the rink and training, eating, sleeping. For us, all the disciplines are very different and we’ve just been having fun here.”

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