GANGNEUNG, Korea, Republic Of — The first notes of Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You" had just played when Gabriella Papadakis suddenly became aware that people were about to see a whole lot more of her shape than she had planned.
The French ice dancer's glittering emerald costume at the Olympics had come unhooked at the neckline and later in the routine her left breast was exposed live on television around the world, including on CBC in Canada.
When the clasp became unhooked, the 22-year-old Papadakis was more worried about holding up her outfit than making sure her twizzles and rhumba were in sync. Her swinging short program with partner Guillaume Cizeron at the Pyeongchang Olympics was threatening to go down in history alongside Janet Jackson's infamous wardrobe malfunction during her halftime performance at the Super Bowl.
"I felt it right away and I prayed," Papadakis said. "That's about what I could do."
Somehow, the French couple kept things together through most of their Latin program, producing a score of 81.93 Monday that left them second behind Canadian stars Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.
Not all the program, though.
It was during the final element, when Papadakis leaned back in Cizeron's arms, that her costume rode upward to reveal her breast. The performance was being shown live on international television, and people immediately began posting screen-grabs of the incident on social media.
Canadians were also quick to criticize CBC for airing the footage, which was carried live around 11:20 p.m. ET.
The network responded with a tweet explaining that it uses the local feed for the event and that the footage would be edited out of encore broadcasts.
"We aired this event live with no tape delay and the replay packages are provided to us by the host broadcaster," CBC said. "We will be removing these moments from our re-broadcasts."
NBC had a similar message.
"Our coverage of ice dancing was live tonight. Once a competitor's brief wardrobe issue became evident, we purposely used wider camera shots and carefully selected replays to keep the issue obscured," NBC said in a statement to The Associated Press. "We have edited the video for all television encores and online replays."
The French skaters are coached in Montreal by Canadians Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon, who also coach Virtue and Moir.
Dubreuil said the hooks at the neck of Papadakis's outfit came undone, even though they had been doubly sewn in. She figures Cizeron accidentally ripped it open on their second move because he holds her by the neck.
"It's very unfortunate but I must say I don't know any other girl who would have finished the performance the way she did, even with the top completely undone," said Dubreuil. "She has nerves of steel. Guillaume tried to keep the top at a place where she could keep going."
She called it "amazing teamwork."
"Even with that being a huge distraction they still managed to pull off 81 point something points," Dubreuil said. "I'm really proud of them for doing that."
It was the second wardrobe mishap during the skating program at the Pyeongchang Games. American-born ice dancer Yura Min, competing for South Korea, had the back of her costume come unclasped during her short program with partner Alex Gamelin in the team competition.
Papadakis and Cizeron, considered the biggest threat to Virtue and Moir for gold, still managed to gain level-four marks for all their elements save their final straight line lift. That left the French duo less than two points behind their Canadian training partners on a packed leaderboard.
It's unclear whether the judges docked the couple for the wardrobe issue. The rules state losing any part of a costume, even a hair clip, can lead to a one-point deduction. They could have stopped to fix the problem but doing that would have cost them five points.
"It's a little bit frustrating to know that it's not because of something that we did," Cizeron said. "It's just a costume issue, something as stupid as that, so it's a little bit disappointing."
Papadakis was nearly in tears as she approached reporters after the routine, which is required of any Olympic competitor after competition. But she was in better spirits an hour later, when she no doubt realized that her chance of a gold medal was still intact.
"It was pretty distracting, kind of my worst nightmare happening at the Olympics," Papadakis said. "I told myself, 'I don't have a choice. I have to keep going,' and that's what we did. I think we can be proud of ourselves being able to deliver a great performance with that happening."
— With files from Canadian Press reporter Lori Ewing
Dave Skretta, The Associated Press
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