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Skate Today

Virtue and Moir Smashing at Canadian Championships

Hometown kids Tessa Virtue, 20, and Scott Moir, 22, received resonating cheers from the audience as the duo from nearby IIderton, took to the Ice today at John Labatt Centre in London, Ontario. The hometown favourites took the lead in the compulsory dance competition on their way to qualifying for their first Olympic team.

“Kids from my old school were here to watch us practice, and it was so much fun to see their support,” Moir told the press. “We felt good out there today, and we are looking forward to more tomorrow.”

The favorites for ice-dance gold here at the Canadian Championships, the reigning World bronze medalists did not disappoint. From the minute, they took to the ice Virtue and Moir displayed a flair and maturity unmatched by any other team in the event. Dancing the Tango Romantica the two-time World medalists (silver in 2008 and bronze in 2009) exhibited deep flowing edges, precise steps, and superb interpretation to smash their personal best score by more than three points. Definately the class of the field here in London the duo heads into the original dance segment with 43.98 points.

Virtue and Moir have kept no secrets that they are hoping for Olympic Gold next month in Vancouver. The youngsters are confident that they can rebound from a second place showing last month at the Grand Prix Final in Tokyo, where they placed second behind their training mates and good friends Meryl Davis and Charile White of the United States.

“Meryl (Davis) and Chuckie (Charlie White) have been competing against Tessa and I for many, many years. Sometimes they come out on top, and sometimes we do. Right now I think it’s about even. They are fabulous skaters and we know that because we train with them every day, and we see just how good they are,” Moir told the press in Tokyo last month. “What Tessa and I know that in Vancouver, we want to be at the top of the podium and right now we think we are on track to do that.”

“We’ve made changes to our programs since the Grand Prix Final.,” Virtue added. “In particular we changed the footwork in the original dance, and made some changes to lifts in the free dance.”

Virtue and Moir are currently ranked third in the World standings.

Placing a distant second with 37.27 points reigning Canadian silver medalists Vanessa Crone, 19, and Paul Poirier, 18, of Aurora, Ontario narrowly edged the 2009 Canadian bronze medalists Kaitlyn Weaver, 20, and Andrew Poje, 22, by 0.40 points for the second spot in tonight’s opening round of the dance competition. Both couples are battling for the second spot on Canada’s Olympic and World Team. However, in order to reach their Olympic dreams this season both teams will have to put out two more top notch performances in order to hold off challenges from the likes of Andrea Chong and Guillaume Gfeller, Kharis Ralph and Asher Hill, Mylene Girard and Jonathan Pelletier, and Allie-Hann McCurdy and Michael Coreno, who finished third in Canada at the 2008 Championships. All four couples are less than four points behind Crone and Poirier and hope to take advantage of the opportunity should the top contenders falter.

Crone and Poirier produced a well timed dance exhibiting deep edges and good ice coverage as they presented their routine on Thursday evening but will have to keep up the pace to capture the second spot at next month’s Olympic Games.

The duo is currently ranked eleventh in the World standings.

Weaver and Poje put out a steamy tango which displayed long lines and improved expression to pick up 36.87 points. While Crone and Poirier took it on the technical scores(19.91/19.45), Weaver and Poje managed to narrowly edged Crone and Poirier on the component scores by 0.06 points (17.42/17.36).

They are currently ranked nineteenth in the World rankings.

The event continues tomorrow with the ladies short program followed by the pair short program, original dance and the men’s short program.

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