A slight gaffe in their final routine couldn't stop the inevitable for figure skating pairs Simon Shnapir and Marissa Castelli.
Because of the commanding lead the duo built in their short program earlier in the week, Castelli and Shnapir had enough of a cushion to win their first pairs gold at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Saturday, despite a free skate that was less than perfect, the Washington Post reported.
According to a report in the Boston Globe, Shnapir caught a toepick as he and Castelli were entering their side-by-side combination spin, and he stopped to keep himself from falling. Shnapir had no chance at catching up and could only stand there — for a lengthy time — until she finished.
‘‘That was a very long moment,’’ Castelli said in the Globe report. ‘‘I didn’t know if he was going to catch up or what.’’
Natives of Sudbury, Mass., and Cranston, R.I., respectively, they were first paired as novice skaters when he was 18 and she was 15.
“Marissa and I definitely butt heads," Shnapir told the Post. "Or we did butt heads in the past. We’ve had so many ups and downs. At the beginning of this season we finally sat down and agreed we had to move forward, put the past in the past, and just look at the future.”
Their total score for the U.S. Championships was 180.61.
With their gold-medal performance Saturday, Schnapir and Castelli earned the right to compete at the upcoming world championships in London, Ontario, in March.
Schnapir and Castelli are ranked 19th in the world.