31. Valentina Marchei/Ondrej Hotarek ITA
2017 Worlds short program
The best competition of their career, and you didn't even know that he had a hand injury. After a super debut season two years ago, there was a sense that Valentina Marchei/Ondrej Hotarek may have hit a plateau. And earlier this season, their elements weren't quite in sync and it almost seemed like they had lost some of their spark.
But they fought and they clawed their way back, starting with the Italian Championships, where they narrowly missed winning their second title, fueling their motivation. And they completed their season with four fantastic skates at Europeans and at Worlds.
This short program was definitely the highlight from them this season. Not only was it clean, but it was one of the most superbly-performed programs in the whole event. Marchei has always been one for the theatrics, but Hotarek really took off the training wheels this season. He has developed from Marchei's sidekick to her equal in their performances. You just can't take your eyes off either of them.
And right, they skated with a pretty nasty injury to his right pinky finger that he had right before Worlds on a bike accident. He couldn't even shake hands without being in pain - that's how bad it was. Performers and fighters, both of them.