Regina / Canada

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Three-time and reigning World Champions Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir (CAN) continued their winning ways by taking the Short Dance at Skate Canada International Friday, setting a record score en route. Teammates Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje came second with another strong outing, edging 2014 Four Continents Champions Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue (USA) by a little over a point.

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Virtue/Moir put out a precise and characteristic performance to samba, rhumba and cha cha that was highlighted by fast twizzles, a smooth rhumba pattern dance section and a rotational lift. The six-time Skate Canada Champions earned a level four for all five elements to post a personal best and record score of 82.68 points. “We had a great a summer and fall training and we were very confident, but to come here and execute is a kind of a different story,” Moir said. “A great off-season and a great start to the season creates some pressure, so it was nice for us to go out and execute very similar to the way we have been training. There are things we’re looking to improve, but for Tessa and I we are all smiles today.”

Weaver/Poje also looked sharp in their dance to Bolero and mambo, collecting a level four for the pattern dance step sequence, the rhumba pattern, the twizzles and the curve lift. The two-time World medalists also recorded a personal best for themselves with 77.47 points. “We’ve undergone so many changes since our first event, and from this summer in general, that we almost were not able to get the short dance as much time as we would have liked,” Weaver told the post-event press conference. “We had a lot of pressure to make sure that this program lived up to our belief that it could be a great program and so we’re very happy to skate today with joy and energy, and feel the incredible reception from the crowd.”

Hubbell/Donohue, who skated last out of the ten couples, had the same levels for their elements as Weaver/Poje, but lost one point for a time violation. The 2014 Four Continents Champions scored 76.08 points. “Zach and I were very happy with our skate today,” Hubbell said. “We felt like we were getting more and more comfortable as the music was going and getting more into the program and enjoying skating together. It was a great start to our Grand Prix season.”

Olivia Smart/Adria Diaz (ESP) came fourth with 64.34 points followed by 2014 World Junior Champions Kaitlin Hawayek/Jean-Luc Baker (USA) on 63.10 points. 2017 World Junior silver medalists Alla Loboda/Pavel Drozd (RUS) debuted on the senior Grand Prix circuit with a solid Short Dance and are sixth with 62.60 points.

Skate Canada International is the second of six events in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series. The top six skaters/couples in each discipline qualify for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Nagoya (JPN) in December. The global prize money for the Grand Prix is US$272,000.

Full entry lists and results of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2017/18 are available here.  Follow the discussion on social media by using #GPFigure #FigureSkating