- Cape student sues, accuses school officials of slamming her to ground multiple times (04/28/16)46
- Bob Evans restaurant in Cape Girardeau among chain's 21 closings (04/26/16)9
- Missouri House votes to allow concealed weapons without permits (04/28/16)7
- Police report filed, but no charges in incident at Cape Central (04/29/16)37
- Two hurt in motorcycle wreck on Interstate 55 (04/25/16)1
- Senator introduces bill for I-57 that would connect Sikeston with Little Rock (04/28/16)4
- Law firm requests information about Cape's traffic cameras (04/25/16)2
- Local lawmakers split over failed medical marijuana bill; voters may have a say (04/26/16)19
- Local company makes eco-friendly kitty litter that cuts cat-box smell (04/25/16)
- Man accused of pointing BB gun at Chaffee resident (04/26/16)2
Historical throw lands Inoue-Baldwin in Winter Olympic Games
ST. LOUIS -- So they're long shots for a medal next month at the Turin Olympics.
Rena Inoue and John Baldwin gave fans something to remember Friday night by successfully landing one of the most difficult maneuvers in pairs figure skating.
Their throw triple axel was a first. No other couple -- not even the Russians and Chinese who have dominated this event -- have performed one.
Yet it wasn't the history they cared about most at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
"Rena and I knew what we had tonight," Baldwin said. "We knew it wasn't going to be easy and we knew we had to pull off the best performance of our lives. But more importantly -- the Olympics are important to us -- but even more important was this title. This competition came first for us; the Olympics was second.
"To accomplish what we did tonight and get that title back, that's what we wanted, and we did it."
They landed the 3 1-2 revolution throw midway through their free skate, helping them jump from fourth place after a weak short program to their second U.S. crown in three years.
"We want to put our mark on the sport and push pairs figure skating to next level," Baldwin said.
Two U.S. Figure Skating officials confirmed no other couple has done the move in competition.
Finishing second were Marcy Hinzmann and Aaron Parchem, who also were second in the short program. That was good enough for their ticket to Turin when an international committee selected them. But no American pair is considered a medals threat next month, even with that throw triple axel in the U.S. champions' repertoire.
Inoue, a two-time Olympian in singles and pairs for Japan, and Baldwin started slowly. He barely saved his triple toe loop -- it wasn't artistic, but he stayed upright -- and their pace was slow. But then came the historic axel, which energized the couple and the crowd.
Driven on by the growing clamor from the audience, and sensing an Olympic berth was at hand, the two veterans were spectacular the rest of the way. Their lifts were solid, their footwork impressive. By the conclusion, the fans were on their feet and Baldwin was pumping his arms as if he'd just scored a hat trick.
Even his parents came down from the upper seats to hug both of them at rinkside, moments after Baldwin, 32, gave Inoue, 29, a passionate kiss.
"I've kissed her before," Baldwin joked.
"I wasn't worried directly about the throw triple axel," she said. "I just wanted to make sure each position beforehand was right. Once I took off in the air, I try to pull back, keep myself straight. I just have to trust myself that it's going to be there."
It was. So was a trip to Turin.