Wednesday, 21/3/2018 | : : UTC-7
Skate Today

Is There Something in the Water in Michigan?

Is there something in the water in Michigan? If one was in the audience this week at the trial event for the upcoming 2010 Olympics in Vancouver — one might wonder. All three medalists in the ice dance division at this week’s Four Continents Championships have something in common. They all live and train in Michigan.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White were born and bred in Michigan as were their teammates Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates. Canada’s sweethearts Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are the exception. The duo moved from Ontario to Michigan to train with famed coaches Igor Spilband and Marina Zoueva with one goal in mind – to be Canada’s next Olympic Gold Medalists in Ice dance.

It looked like Virtue and Moir were going to take one step closer to their goal this week when they won both the compulsory dance and the original dance portion of the Ice dance competition. However, when it came down to the final showdown the World silver medalists began to falter. After some uncharacteristic mistakes the Canadians were edged out by their training mates Meryl Davis and Charlie White. Davis and White were spectacular in the free dance and sailed to victory with a score of 192.39 points. Virtue and Moir who have only returned to training together in December, after Tessa’s surgery last fall, pulled off the silver medal with 191.81 points. World Junior Champions Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates picked up the bronze medal with 180.79 points.

Davis and White entered the free skate with a 5.44 point deficit after their Charleston based original dance which earned the duo 60.42 points. Their Charleston was lively and fast and was highlighted by a perfectly matched twizzle sequence and strong diagonal steps. They were edged by Virtue and Moir on the technical mark by 0.48 points based on a lower level of dance spin, however, the components were evenly matched. They entered the free dance in second place with an event total of 95.65 points.

In the free dance the duo was magical and mesmerized the audience with an outstanding rendition of “Samson and Delilah.” The team could not put a step wrong and skated with power and conviction.

The opening combination spin was outstanding and the curve lift + rotational lift was remarkable as well. The speed, the flow and the edges exhibited in this program were awe-inspiring. They received a level four on all elements except for the circular steps which were level three. The Grand Prix bronze medalists skated with their hearts and melded their elements into the music as if they became one.

“It felt powerful and emotional they are two things that have been really key this season for us,” White revealed. “It felt like we could go out there today and give it all we had.”

In the end it was a season’s best free dance worth 96.74 points.

“Things have been coming together for us this season,” Meryl said of their skating. “Last season and the year before we were working on different aspects of our skating, and I think that this season it all came together. We’ve been working pretty hard and we’re happy with our performance.”

Training mates and World silver medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were also strong. Tessa fought against pain and with long-time partner Scott Moir pulled off a stellar showing this week and gave a teaser of what is yet to come.

In the original dance Tessa and Scott were on top with 60.90 points. The Canadians skated first of the top contenders and delivered a great interpretation of the Charleston that was highlighted by strong characterization and innovative moves throughout the dance. They were charming and delightful and skated very close together. Their opening synchronized twizzles were especially well done and they were awarded with huge GOE’s from the judges.

“It is good for our confidence just to be here no matter what our placement is,” Scott told the press. “It’s important for us internationally.”

In the free dance skated to the music of Pink Floyd, the two-time Canadian Champions were aggressive, which probably contributed to a couple of small bobbles by Tessa during the program. The lifts in this program are mind-boggling and were near-perfect. They edged the leaders on components but only by a mere 0.47 points. They pocketed 94.51 points in the free dance before Tessa reported to medical once again for pain in her legs.

“We are quite pleased with our skate today,” Virtue told the press. “In many areas it was better than Nationals, while in others it wasn’t. It feels really good for us to get this under our belts and it is a confidence booster. We’re heading home feeling really positive. We are really proud of Meryl and Charlie. They certainly deserve it.”

World Junior Champions Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates edged out the World Junior silver medalists Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier for the bronze medal. The team moved up one spot after executing a sensational original dance to the music “Let Yourself Go” by Irving Berlin. The duo highlighted their program with perfectly timed synchronized twizzles and an outstanding step sequence that would put even Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire in awe.

“I think that the biggest thing for us to improve upon is for us to mature as a team ,” Bates stated. “This is our first year competing with the big guys and we are a young team. We can do the technical things, but we need to work on the maturity level and the connection between us in order to take things to the next level.”

Emily and Evan produced the highest technical score en route to a personal best in their original dance worth 59.48 points.

In the free dance they again outskated Crone and Poirier with a technically demanding program to the music “Amazonic” worth 89.79 points. Their elements appeared effortless and their timing and leg line were impeccable. They performed all level four elements except for the step sequences which were level three.

“We were able to execute all elements and give a good performance and it was a personal best. It went really good,” Evan stated with confidence. “Hopefully this is the first of many Four Continents for us. We’re really happy to be on the podium with two of the best teams in the world.”

They captured the bronze medal with an event total of 180.79 points.

Canadian silver medalists Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier entered the original dance in third place after an excellent compulsory dance. However, in the original dance the duo slipped one spot after a charming rendition of ragtime music by Scott Joplin. They earned a segment score of 56.36 points. The duo appeared engaging with clever choreography that enhanced the program immensely. Their smooth deep edges and transitions were excellent.

“We had lot of fun out there,” Poirier said with an impish smile. “We know that that helped the performance, and allowed us to bring out the character of the program to the audience.”

In the free dance the duo had a fabulous skate to the music “Doce de Coco” by J. do Bandolim. They appeared seamless and exhibited smooth flowing movements, strong unison and deep edges. Vanessa and Paul executed outstanding twizzles and their straight-line lift was so outstanding that they pocketed + 2 GOE’s from four of the nine judges. They earned a personal best score of 88.03 points for the free dance and a total of 176.82 points overall.

Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje completed the event in fifth place with a stellar showing which earned the duo an event total of 168.76 points. The duo delivered a riveting performance to Dr. Zhivago that was just breathtaking. They were dynamic and attacked each element with vigor.

American bronze medalists Kimberly Navarro and Brent Bommentre finished sixth with high energy dances that looked Hot! Hot! Hot! The duo continues to struggle on their levels which kept them out of the medals. They finished with an event total of 151.82 points.

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