February 23, 2010 / 5:44 AM / in 9 years

Ice dancers reverse the gender roles

Britain's John and Sinead Kerr (front) perform in the ice dance free dance figure skating event at the Vancouver Winter Olympics February 22, 2010. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Women rarely get the chance to wear the trousers in the traditional world of ice dance but Briton Sinead Kerr turned things topsy turvy Monday with an unusual lift in the Olympic competition.

In their free dance to Linkin Park’s Krwlng, Sinead held her brother John by his legs while he was upside down as she glided across the ice in a routine that told the story of a recovering drug addict.

Called a “reverse lift,” the move drew some of the biggest cheers of the day, including when it was replayed on the big screens at the Pacific Coliseum.

They have been doing the lift for years in exhibitions but not in competitions because the scoring system does not differentiate between who is doing the lifting, simply awarding marks for the difficulty of the position the lifter is in.

“This year a new rule came in where you could have a free lift, which counts toward choreography so we thought that would be perfect as it’s always a crowd-pleaser,” Sinead Kerr told Reuters.

“I’ve always been pretty strong anyway ... so I feel like I’m pretty solid on my feet. John does a lot of the work anyway — he jumps and I catch, it just kind of looks like I’m lifting but I’m not physically lifting him and he is doing nothing.”

John added: “It’s only really open to the teams where there isn’t such a huge size difference, if it’s like a little girl and a big man...”

Italians Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali ended their routine with a reverse cantilever, where she carried him on her knees, but it did not provoke the same applause as the Britons.

Editing by Miles Evans

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