Aussie ice dancers deliver

In a blistering performance full of bounce and attack, Australian ice dancers Danielle O’Brien and Greg Merriman delivered the performance of their careers so far in the Short Dance segment of the Winter Olympic Qualifying event in Germany this morning, scoring 50.52 points, leaving them in 6th place overall and more importantly third of the countries still to qualify for Sochi 2014.

Australian Ice Dance champions Danielle O'Brien and Greg Merriman with coach Massimo Scali.

Australian Ice Dance champions Danielle O’Brien and Greg Merriman with coach Massimo Scali.

Only five qualifying spots remain for Ice Dance at the Winter Olympics in Sochi and with 17 countries vying for those all-important spots, the pressure is on.

Danielle and Greg, who hail from Sydney’s inner west but now train in Detroit, USA laid their skating on the line in their “Finn Step” for the Short Dance and will need to back up their outstanding performance tomorrow in the Free Dance, to cement their Olympic dream.

Danielle and Greg perform their Finn step at Canterbury Ice Rink in Sydney last month.

Danielle and Greg perform their Finn step at Canterbury Ice Rink in Sydney last month.

Leading the field of 22 teams are Canadians Alexandra Paula and Mitchell Islam, who also train in Detroit, on 59.06 points.  In 4th and 5th place are the much-improved  Chinese team of Huang and Zheng followed by Agafona and Ucar from Turkey.

If O’Brien and Merriman qualify to the Olympics in Sochi next February, they will be the first Australian ice dancers to do so since 1988.

By Belinda Noonan

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