Regina / Canada

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Three-time and reigning World Champions Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir (CAN) took their seventh Skate Canada title Saturday in Regina and set a record score. Teammates Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje edged out Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue (USA) by less than a point to clinch a Canadian one-two finish as the Ice Dance event concluded.

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Virtue/Moir dazzled in their intense performance to ‘Tango de Roxanne’ and ‘Come What May’ from the ‘Moulin Rouge’ soundtrack that featured spectacular lifts and intricate footwork. The 2010 Olympic Champions collected a level four for the lifts, their fast twizzles and the spin, while their step sequences were rated a level three. The pair, who won silver at the 2014 Olympic Games, earned 117.18 points and raised the highest total score to 199.86 points. “We were anxious today, we were a little nervous,” Moir told the post-event press conference. “We wanted to perform well because this is a program we are emotionally attached to and we felt the pressure. We wanted to put on a show and start the year with a bang and it translated well. We’re looking forward to build on this experience for NHK Trophy in a couple of weeks (November 10-12, in Osaka, Japan).”

Weaver/Poje delivered a passionate performance to ‘Je suis malade’, executing beautiful lifts and well-synchronized levels. Like Virtue/Moir, the 2014 World silver medalists picked up a level four for their lifts, spin and twizzles, and a level three for their footwork. They lost one point for an extended lift and ranked third in the Free Dance at 112.54 points, but held on to second place with 190.01 points overall. The Canadians had changed their Free Dance following a competition earlier this fall. “We felt we had a great program with ‘Spartacus’, which was our original program this season, but there was something missing,” Weaver explained. “In an Olympic year we feel it’s very important for us to state our case immediately. It was brought to our attention by (coach) Nikolai (Morozov) that we needed to change and we felt right away that it was right. So there was a lot of dusting off to be done and the rules had changed as well, so we had to update several things. But ultimately this is the best we can be and this program, we feel, is very representative of ourselves and our team.”

Dancing to ‘Across the Sky’ and the bluesy ‘Caught Out in the Rain’, Hubbell/Donohue executed strong elements as well, gathering all level fours and threes, and finished second in the Free Dance with 113.35 points. Overall, they remained in third place at 189.43 points.  “Zach and I are filled with gratitude – with gratitude for each other and for our team that has been training us so well,” Hubbell said. “It was a really good day for us and we’re looking forward to going back home and train more.”

2014 World Junior Champions Kaitlin Hawayek/Jean-Luc Baker (USA) moved up one spot to fourth with a dance set to Liszt’s ‘Liebestraum’. Alla Loboda/Pavel Drozd, Russia’s 2017 World Junior silver medalists, ranked fifth in what was their debut at the ISU Grand Prix circuit (155.72 points), while Olivia Smart/Adria Diaz (ESP) slipped from fourth to sixth (154.81 points).

Skate Canada International concludes Sunday with the Exhibition Gala and  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