Wednesday, 18/7/2018 | : : UTC-7
Skate Today

Virtue and Moir Dance Away With Gold

Tessa Virtue, 18, and Scott Moir, 20, performed as expected in Vancouver and sailed to the gold medal with an event total of 209.09 points. The team who has been together for over ten years out-danced their peers in all three phases of the competition.

Their Yankee Polka showed marked improvement, since they won their first gold of the season at Skate Canada International in early November. The duo couldn’t put a foot wrong and took command of the ice on their joyful portrayal of the polka. The dancers sat steadily in first place eclipsing their closest competitor by over seven points.

They took command with every step in their dramatic portrayal of their “Dark Eyes” folk dance exhibiting deep edges and stunning choreography. Their sensational level four combination spin, unique curve lift and quick-stepping circular footwork were highlights in their high-energy Russian Folk Dance.

The 2007 Canadian silver medalists were awarded level four on all elements except for their opening combination spin. The gold medal favourites received a huge ovation from the crowd when their original dance score of 65.29 points flashed on the scoreboard.

However, it was really in the free dance that the duo shined leaving their competitors in the dust with a free dance score of 103.76 points. Their heartfelt presentation to “Umbrellas of Cherbourg” soundtrack by Michel Legrand displayed exquisite choreography set by coach and choreographer Igor Shpilband.

“We’ve trained hard so that every competition, we do is better, and we have been working really hard on our conditioning and the expression of the program,” Moir stated. “We had three solid skates here, and we want to build on the momentum going into Four Continents and Worlds.”

Their near-perfect free dance received a standing ovation from the appreciative crowd. Delivering dizzying-fast twizzles, impressive lifts, and a very close diagonal step sequence the Canadians clearly out-paced the rest of the field ending the event with an incredible victory by 33.48 points.

“It means a lot,” Moir told the media about winning the championship. “It’s definitely a huge goal of ours, I don’t know if it’s sunk in yet. We’re hoping to take this momentum and use it at Four Continents and Worlds, and hopefully be best in the World – hopefully soon.”

“It is great to skate in this arena building towards 2010,” Virtue commented about the 2010 Olympic venue.

Kaitlyn Weaver, 18, and Andrew Poje, 20, finished in the second spot with 175.61 points. The American/Canadian match-up were third in the Yankee Polka with 32.54 points, but pulled up to the second spot with a blazing fast folk dance to Galactic music earning them a segment score of 55.60 points.

The duo displayed elegant lines, deep edges and great speed.

“We’re both tall, so we try and use it to our advantage,” Poje told the media. “This is only our second season together, and we’ve been working really hard with our coaches to improve our programs.”

Finishing sixth at 2007 Skate Canada, the duo has made coaching changes and are currently training with Matthew Gates in the USA and Shae-Lynn Bourne in Canada.

“We are working out the logistics right now. We have been doing a lot of travelling right now, but so far it’s worth it. We have seen big improvements already, and we hope we can make more,” Poje stated. “While our poor result at Skate Canada was a wake up call for us, it was not the sole reason for our move to Shae-Lynn and Matthew.”

Kaitlyn and Andrew were fourth in the free dance as they suffered a deduction for a fall when Andrew lost his balance. However, the couple who have been together since July, 2006, displayed impressive level four lifts and an outstanding level four circular step sequence.

“We were lucky it was not on an element, otherwise the penalty would be much more severe” said Kaitlyn. We tried to put it behind us and not think about it during the program.”

The Waterloo based skaters accumulated a total event score of 175.61 points and a new personal best.

“We’re looking forward to going to Worlds, and we don’t know about Four Continents, yet” Weaver stated. “We were in Korea once overnight when we were on our way to a JGP. It would be nice to go back.”

The hometown kids Allie Hann-McCurdy, 20, and Michael Coreno, 23, took to the ice and edged their way to the second spot with a fun-filled and light-hearted polka worth 32.62 points.

In the original dance, the duo fell short of the second spot and were eclipsed by last year’s bronze medalists Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje. The duo train at the BC Centre of Excellence under the tutelage of Victor and Maikki Kratz.

It was surprising when the duo dropped to third place with their charming Newfoundland Jig set to the soundtrack “The Log Driver’s Waltz.”

The Nebelhorn fourth place finishers displayed improved speed and lively steps engaging the audience who clapped to each beat. The highly animated couple successfully captured the character of the dance and the hearts of the audience to gather a total of 54.60 points for this phase of the competition.

“It was a really difficult after last year’s Canadian’s, and you have no assignments. Then you have to change your program in the middle of the summer,” Allie told the media. “You then have to do a summer competition to prove yourself to get an international assignment. We had to then compete at Nebelhorn to get a spot at Skate Canada. At first we were just hoping for a top five finish at Canadians, but then when we placed fourth at Nebelhorn and then fourth at Skate Canada, we started believing maybe we can make it to the podium this season. I just feel really proud of us,” she added.

However, it was really in the free dance the 2006 Junior National Champions really let loose. They skated a free-spirited and animated dance to “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin.

The couple opened with an extremely fast rotational level four lift which displayed strong changes of position that earned them a positive GOE.

The dancers placed only fifth in their free dance despite a strong skate which exhibited exquisite level four lifts and spot on level four twizzles. They were judged only level two on their no touch midline steps and level three on their dance spin and circular steps.

“We need to go home and go back to the drawing board,” Allie stated. “We need to work on bringing up our levels before Four Continents and Worlds.“

The audience supported the team and clapped along giving them a huge ovation when they took to the ice.

“The crowd here was behind us and numbers are numbers. The audience started cheering for us midway through our free dance, and they just got louder and louder. When we stopped and saw them on their feet it was amazing. I wish every skater could experience that feeling,” Michael shared as he reflected on the program.

Despite the fifth place free dance which gathered 86.64 points Allie and Michael captured the bronze medal with 173.86 points.

“We’ve trained hard so that every competition we do is better and (we want to) use that and climb even higher at Four Continents and worlds,” Coreno stated.

Vanessa Crone, 17, and Paul Poirier, 16, have been stellar on the Junior Grand Prix circuit all season placing first in Croatia, first in Romania and placing ourth in the final.

The 2007 Canadian junior champions are competing in the senior ranks for the first time. The youngsters placed sixth in the compulsory dance, but pulled up to fourth in the original dance.

In the free dance, the couple was remarkable as they tangoed to “A Los Amigos” by A. Pontier. They displayed matched lines, deep edges, and finely tuned steps. The all level four program was rated second best and the duo earned a segment score of 88.60 points. When combined with the other segments they missed the podium by 0.89 points and finished the event in fourth place with an event total of 172.95 points.

Mylene Girard, 23, and Liam Dougherty, 23, finished in fifth with an event total of 172.28 points.

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Skate Today was created in November 2004 to showcase the people of the skating world, skaters and coaches and others, who make figure skating and ice dancing a pleasure to watch for fans from around the world. The goal was to create a site that would give viewers an insight into the personalities of the people involved in this sport and to give you a more personal connection when watching them live at an event or on the television. Our staff knows how much time and dedication is put into this sport and that's why Skate Today was created.

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