China's Han, Sui break record but face close Olympic figure skating final
Chinese figure skaters Han Cong and Sui Wenjing smashed their own world record for the second time this Olympics to lead the pairs short programme before a roaring home crowd in Beijing on Friday.
The two-time world champions, who are chasing their first Olympic gold after winning silver at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games, scored 84.41, beating the new mark they set last week at the team event.
But before they could get too comfortable, Russia's Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov scored 84.25 -- also overshooting the old record -- and are breathing down their necks in second place.
It was history repeating itself -- at the Pyeongchang 2018 Games, the Chinese pair also finished first after the short programme, followed closely by Tarasova and Morozov.
Their compatriots, the reigning world and European champions Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov, are in third place ahead of Saturday's free programme.
The small but vociferous crowd in the Capital Indoor Stadium erupted in cheers when Han and Sui entered the rink, waving flags and shouting "Come on China!"
The pair, who have skated together since they were teenagers, propelled themselves across the ice to a pulsating "Mission Impossible" soundtrack.
Finishing their punchy, flamenco-inflected routine, they looked pleased -- but also slightly anxious -- as they awaited their score.
Galliamov and Mishina, who had skated before them, had scored highly, nudging up against the previous world record with their score of 82.76.
But it was not the younger Russians that nearly caught Han and Sui -- instead, it was fellow veterans Tarasova and Morozov, who took to the ice next with an ethereal "Galatea and Pygmalion" programme.