'Nerves of steel': French skater finishes routine despite wardrobe malfunction
Josh K. Elliott, CTVNews.ca
Published Monday, February 19, 2018 9:13AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 20, 2018 6:35AM EST
There are no good slips in figure skating, but French skater Gabriella Papadakis suffered perhaps the most embarrassing kind of slip when her breast emerged from her costume during a pairs routine in Pyeongchang on Sunday.
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The offending outfit was a fringed, sequined green costume that appeared to come unhooked under the hand of Papadakis’ partner, Guillaume Cizeron, partway through their short program performance. Papadakis later said she knew immediately that the wardrobe malfunction had occurred, but did not interrupt her routine to correct it. Instead the pair pressed on, though their performance appeared to suffer as Papadakis tried to avoid shaking the loosened costume out of place with her spins and dips.
“I felt it right away and I prayed,” Papadakis said after the performance. “That was about what I could do.”
Viewers who watched it live saw the full shape of Papadakis’ left breast emerge in the final seconds of the routine, as the pair skated to Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You.” Papadakis came out of a complex lift manoeuvre and put her arms out in a flourish, with her left nipple clearly visible. The costume had clearly slipped to one side.
The two continued through the last 10 seconds of their performance, which culminated in a dramatic dip with Papadakis leaning back in Cizeron’s arms.
The live feed cut to a close-up of Papadakis in the dip position, with her nipple quite obviously protruding from the edge of the costume and holding it to one side.
The Canadian and American rightholders of the footage have since apologized for the unexpected nudity. Both pointed out that it appeared without warning during a live broadcast at approximately 11:20 p.m. ET. The footage has since been edited for rebroadcast.
The French pair were considered a threat to Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir coming into the competition, but ended up finishing second to the Canadians.
Both teams were coached by Canadians Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon.
Dubreuil said Papadakis’ “unfortunate” wardrobe malfunction occurred because the hooks at the neck of the costume had come undone.
“She has nerves of steel,” Dubreuil told The Canadian Press. “I don’t know of any other girl who would have finished the performance the way she did, even with the top completely outdone.”
Dubreuil also praised Cizeron for trying to keep the top in place so they could continue with their skate.
“Even with that being a huge distraction they still managed to pull off 81-point-something points,” Dubreuil said. “I’m really proud of that.”
Papadakis’ nipple slip touched off a flurry of conversation on social media late Sunday. Some were shocked by the wardrobe malfunction, while others were eager to praise the skater for keeping her composure. A few criticized the broadcasters who replayed the performance in slow motion, perhaps without noticing the slip.
The whole world has seen Gabriella Papadakis’ nipple, but I mean good thing they didn’t show it a second time... in slow motion.... as a close up— Avery Elliott ️ (@aveismehname) February 19, 2018
Elaine Benes can totally relate to what just happened to Gabriella Papadakis at the Olympics just now. pic.twitter.com/V6j6yaphfi— Jim Barrero (@jimbarrero) February 19, 2018
Gabriella Papadakis skating a full short program with a wardrobe malfunction is true heroism— sham corb (@samcorb) February 19, 2018
As female figure skaters costumes get smaller, a nip slip happens to Gabriella Papadakis on the biggest stage in the world. Maybe don't make athletes wear costumes that skimpy. #Olympics— Colin Perret (@ColinPerret) February 19, 2018
Poor Gabriella Papadakis. How distracting for her to try and skate with that happening to her dress.— twissles (@slowseptember) February 19, 2018
wow just woke up to news of what happened to my queen gabriella papadakis @ her & guillaume's olympics sd & honestly-- wow, the epitome of grace and professionalism. im not even surprised that she was so elegant under pressure. A QUEEN. #GabriellaPAPADAKIS #GuillaumeCIZERON— Aubrey (@exo_stentialism) February 19, 2018
South Korean skater Yura Min also suffered a wardrobe malfunction earlier in the Games when her costume became unclasped, although viewers ultimately saw far less of her than they did of Papadakis.