Also failing short of his tremendous upside was Japan’s reigning national champion, 18-year-old Yuzuru Hanyu, who won the world title in 2010. Hanyu flashed explosive speed and lightning quick footwork. But performing on an ailing knee, he fell on his opening quad and put a hand down another jump, ending up ninth (75.94).
There couldn’t have been a competitor better equipped to handle the calamity that befell Aaron, 21, a native of Scottsdale, Ariz., who was making his World Championship debut.
A stumble during his six-minute warmup sent Aaron head-first into the wall surrounding the rink. For a split-second, Aaron thought he might pass out. But the woozy feeling was familiar to the undersized scrapper who played junior hockey for 12 years, giving the contact sport up after breaking two vertebrae.
So as nearby spectators gasped, Aaron shook it off, like he would a hard hit with the pads on in the junior ranks. He flashed a thumbs-up and proceeded to earn a career-best score of 78.20 for a futuristic short program that opened with a solid quadruple jump, included back-to-back triples and ended with a crowd-pleasing step sequence.
“I definitely hit hard,” Aaron said later. “But I’m not here to fall or do anything besides get my goals.”
His goals: Attacking his performance, hold nothing back and finish the night within range of the world’s elite skaters. Aaron did just that, placing eighth. His score reflected high marks for his jumping ability and relatively harsh marks for the artistic components of his program. Miner earned 70.24.
Earlier Wednesday, Russia’s Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov took the lead in the pairs competition with a high score of 75.84 for their short program. Canada’ s Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford thrilled the crowd with their side-by-side triple Lutz to take second (73.61), while Germany’s Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy are third (73.47).
Americans Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim are 12th (55.73); Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapr are 13th (55.68).