BEIJING — Jean-Luc Baker took an extra moment at center ice, a big grin on his face. After a four-year journey the Kamiak High School graduate and his partner Kaitlin Hawayek successfully navigated themselves through the Winter Olympics.
Hawayek and Baker skated a clean program during the free dance, which took place Monday morning in Beijing and Sunday evening Pacific Time, to finish 11th overall.
Hawayek and Baker, who entered the night in 11th following Saturday’s rhythm dance, skated an elegant program to piano music composed by Frederic Chopin in the free dance, earning a score of 115.16 to place 11th in the free dance. They finished with an overall score of 189.74. The gold medalists, Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France, finished with an overall score of 226.98. Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov of the Russian Olympic Committee (220.51) took silver and Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of the U.S. (218.02) earned bronze.
Hawayek and Baker, who took the bronze medal at each of the past four U.S. Figure Skating Championships, targeted a top-10 finish. Although they came up just short of that, they performed two clean programs on the world’s biggest stage. They also fulfilled their Olympic dream in a season that had a late start because of a concussion suffered by Hawayek during training last July.