(December 15, 2007)
Jessica Dubé / Bryce Davison
Tessa Virtue / Scott Moir
TURIN, Italy – Jessica Dubé of Drummondville, Que., and Bryce Davison of Cambridge, Ont., placed fourth in pairs on Saturday at the ISU Grand Prix Final figure skating competition.
In pairs, Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany won the gold medal with 199.23 points. Dan Zhang and Hao Zhang of China were second at 191.20 and their compatriots Qing Pang and Jian Tong third at 185.13.
Dubé and Davison remained fourth and totalled a season-best score 172.43. The only major blip in their free skate was on the throw triple Lutz, a new element in their program this season.
‘’We skated a really solid program,’’ said Davison. ‘’We just wanted to make everything a bit more impressive in our presentation and go out and show what we could do. For sure, it was our best overall performance this year.’’
The Canadian pair ended an injury plagued 2006-07 season with a seventh place finish at the world championships. They qualified for the Grand Prix final with a win at Skate America and second place at Skate Canada. They are doing much better than they had expected.
‘’We’re about a year ahead of our plans right now,’’ said Davison. ‘’Our level of skating right now is where we wanted to be about next year at this time. If we maintain this rate of improvement I think we can be on the podium here next year.’’
In ice dancing, Oksana Dommina and Maxim Shabalin of Russia won the gold medal with 165.57 points climbing from third place after Friday’s original dance. Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto of the U.S., were second at 164.14 and Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder of France third at 163.40.
Tessa Virtue of London, Ont., and Scott Moir of Ilderton, Ont., remained in fourth spot after the free dance at 159.40. They qualified for the final with a victory at Skate Canada and silver at the NHK Trophy in Japan.
‘’We were very satisfied with our free dance tonight,’’ said Moir. ‘’It wasn’t amazing but it’s what we hoped to accomplish. It’s something we can build on for the nationals and hopefully the worlds. After Japan we went back home and worked hard and saw a lot of improvements. The elements were better and we got faster and stronger.’’
In men’s competition, Stephane Lambiel of Switzerland climbed from second to first for the gold with 239.10 points. Daisuke Takahashi of Japan was second at 238.94 and Evan Lysacek won an American battle over Johnny Weir for the bronze with 229.78.
Patrick Chan, 16, climbed one spot to fifth place at 208.13 with the fifth best long program. Chan qualified for the final winning the Grand Prix stop in Paris and placing third at Skate America.
‘’My goal going into the long was to move up in the standings,’’ said Chan. ‘’I wasn’t the happiest guy after the short but I felt I had nothing to lose in the long against these guys who were expected to win a medal. So I was happy to come out and deliver an almost clean program and I was particularly pleased that I didn’t feel as tired at the end as at the previous Grand Prix.’’