TEENAGE figure-skater Cheltzie Lee made
a sparkling Olympic debut in Vancouver yesterday, completing
a flawless short program to join the world's best skaters in
tomorrow's free skate at the Pacific Coliseum.
Lee, 16, from Sydney, was the last skater
to qualify for the Games just a week before they began, and
is the youngest competitor in the field, but showed skill and
maturity beyond her years to glide into 18th place in the 30-strong
Performing a crowd-pleasing routine
to Michael Buble's "Feeling Good", she completed two
triple jumps, one in combination, to earn the best score of
her career, 52.16 points.
South Korea's world champion Kim Yu-Na
leads the competition with a score of 78.50, from Japanese rival
Mao Asada (73.78) and brave Canadian Joannie Rochette (71.36),
who is skating through her grief after her mother died of a
heart attack last weekend.
Lee's poise stamped her as a competitor
who will challenge for the top rankings as she gains maturity
She has already exceeded the expectations
of her coach Kylie Fennell.
"Tonight, she even surprised me
with her maturity and confidence," Fennell said.
"We've always known she had it
in her, it was a matter of putting it down on the night. We
were quietly confident going in."