(March 14, 2003)
Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz, the 2002 World silver medallists, are prepared to compete for the gold medal at the 2003 ISU World Figure Skating Championships, which will be held March 24-31 in Washington, D.C.
In a conference call held on March 14, the 10-time Canadian Dance Champions said that training has gone well since they returned from competing in Beijing, China at the 2003 ISU Four Continents Championships, in which they won the gold medal.
"Training had been great," said Bourne. "It's such a long trip back from China. You need a little off time after an event like that. We took a couple of days off, and now we're just ready to compete."
Bourne said both she and Kraatz were very pleased with the way they have been skating this season, and added that it has been motivating to receive marks of 6.0 for their competitive programs this season.
Bourne and Kraatz won their 10th Canadian Dance Championships at the 2003 BMO Financial Group Canadian Championships in January in Saskatoon, Sask. It was in Saskatoon that they performed their new competitive programs for the first time, and the judges liked what they saw, awarding Bourne and Kraatz a string of perfect 6.0s in the presentation mark for their free dance.
Not only have Bourne and Kraatz been rewarded for their hard work this season by the Canadian judges, but they have received a number of 6.0s from international judges as well. Bourne and Kraatz, who perform their free dance to Tomaso Giovanni Albinoni's Adagio of the 21st Century, dazzled the audience with their innovative and difficult lifts and their intricate footwork at this year's Four Continents event. It was only the second time the 10-time Canadian Dance Champions have performed this season's free dance in competition.
The Four Continents judges rewarded Bourne and Kraatz for their impressive performance with a total of five perfect marks of 6.0 for presentation. The rest of the presentation marks ranged between 5.8 to 5.9. In addition, the duo also received marks ranging from 5.7 to 5.9 for technical merit.
"The lifts (in this year's free dance) are definitely more difficult," said Kraatz. "They're on edges most of the time. The most important thing is that they look good, while still being difficult."
Although the World Championships are being held in Washington, D.C., Bourne and Kraatz are just focusing on the task at hand, and they said Skate Canada is ensuring that the Canadian skaters feel safe.
"Of course I'm watching what's going on, but we're just doing our job right now, which is skating," said Bourne. "We're not trying to focus on that. We spoke to Skate Canada yesterday, and they're going to be keeping it high security."
Bourne and Kraatz had previously announced that this year's World Championships will be their last, but they're not letting this fact place added pressure on them.
"It's not like it's the end of us, but it's just an end to eligible competition," said Bourne.
Bourne and Kraatz will hit the ice for the compulsory dances at Washington's MCI Center on Tuesday, March 25.