(March 22, 2007)
Marie-France and Patrice were awarded ISU small silver medals for finishing second in the OD
It’s a tight race for the podium in the ice dance event at the 2007 world championships in Tokyo.
The top-three dance teams are all within a half a point of each other after the original dance was skated on Thursday.
Five-time Canadian Ice Dance Champions Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon, who were first after Tuesday’s compulsory dance, are currently in second with a score of 99.50, only .02 points behind 2006 world champions Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski, of Bulgaria, who have 99.52 points.
Americans Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto are third with a score of 99.02.
The close race is going to make for an exciting free dance on Friday.
“All season it’s been like this,” said Dubreuil. “People keep beating each other and it’s quite exciting. I just hope everybody skates really, really well (Friday) so we can have a pleasant competition for everyone – the fans and ourselves. It will be a great fight.”
Dubreuil and Lauzon finished second to Denkova and Staviski at last year’s world championships in Calgary.
“The free dance will determine everything,” said Lauzon.
Making a move up the standings were Canadian silver medallists and 2006 world junior champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. The duo skated a brilliant tango in the original dance to place sixth in that portion of the event and seventh overall (they were ninth in the compulsory dance) heading into the free dance.
“We were really solid out there and felt comfortable since we were really prepared for it,” said Virtue. “We are just very glad to be here on the ice with these great skaters.”
“We’re happy with our performance,” added Moir. “I definitely feel competitive against these teams. We are really here for the experience.”
Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, the Canadian bronze medallists who have only been skating together as a team since July 2006, were 18th in the compulsory dance and 23rd in the original dance to place 22nd going into the free dance.
“We made one little mistake, but everything else (about the performance) was better,” said Weaver. “We started and ended great. We weren’t nervous going into it, things just happen. You accept it and go forward. We’ve come a long way even since we got here.”
The ice dance competition wraps up Friday with the free dance.
Buttle finishes sixth overall in Tokyo
Three-time Canadian Champion Jeff Buttle finished sixth overall in the men’s event on Thursday.
Buttle, who skated an outstanding short program on Wednesday and was second heading into the free skate, placed eighth in the free skate to finish sixth overall with a total score of 214.96.
The 2006 Olympic bronze medallist sat out most of the 2006-2007 season with a back injury. He competed in his first international event this season at the 2007 Four Continents Championships in January, where he captured the silver medal.
“I have no regrets. I was able to do jumps out there that I wasn’t able to do a few months ago,” said Buttle. “It was a really strong event. I felt really good. It was the jumps – I tired too hard and it didn’t work out.”
Buttle’s teammate Christopher Mabee was seventh in the short program and 14th in the free skate to place 13th overall with a total of 195.38 points. It was his first time competing at a senior world championships.
“The performance was definitely far from perfect, but, this bring my first worlds, this is just a step towards where I want to be,” said Mabee. “I’m just going to learn from this performance and how I competed in this atmosphere, and hopefully make the next world championships better.
“I felt exactly how I did in the short program and I wanted to put on a good show. I did put on a good show, it just lacked some triples, that’s all!”
Emanuel Sandhu, who stood 11th after the short program, was 16th in the free skate and 16th overall, earning a total of 188.59 points.
“I had a great warm-up and I was really ready for it,” said Sandhu. “I really don’t know what happened.”
Capturing his first world title was France’s Brian Joubert, who earned a total of 240.85 points. Japan’s Daisuke Takahashi won the free skate but placed second overall with a total score of 237.95, while Stephane Lambiel, the 2005 and 2006 world champion from Switzerland, won the bronze medal with 233.35 points.
Based on the results, Canada will be eligible to send two men to next year’s world championships.
The world championships continue Friday with the ladies short program and the free dance.
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Emanuel in the CBC interview area
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Marie-France and Patrice in the mixed zone
Doug Leigh, Chris Mabee and Debbi Wilkes
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Team leaders Petra Burka and Debbi Wilkes waiting backstage
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High Performance Director, Mike Slipchuk and Canadian Judge Debbie Islam take a few quiet moments between flights
Front to back L-R: David Wilson, Debbi Wilkes, Dr. Don Newhouse (team doctor),
Petra Burka, Judith Proulx Team physio (Support team)