(December 8, 2007)
GDANSK, Poland – Vanessa Crone of Aurora, Ont., and Paul Poirier of Toronto finished fourth Saturday in the ice dancing event at the ISU Junior Grand Prix final figure skating competition.
Amanda Velenosi of Laval, Que., and Mark Fernandez of Montreal added a fifth place finish in pairs.
In ice dancing, Maria Monko and Ilian Tkachenko of Russia won the gold medal with 175.72 points. Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates of the U.S., climbed from third to grab the silver at 171.85 and Russians Kristina Gorshkova and Vitali Butikov were third at 168.83.
Crone and Poirier were fifth after the compulsory dance, climbed to fourth in Friday’s original dance and had the fourth best free dance to remain fourth overall at 156.88 out of eight entries. The Canadian couple qualified for the final with victories at the Grand Prix stops in Romania and Croatia.
‘’We were very pleased,’’ said Poirier, 15, a year younger than his partner. ‘’We did all the elements and maintained a strong performance. It was the best free dance we could have done at this time. Of course we would have liked to have been higher in the standings but we tried to focus on our performance. All we can control is the skating.’’
Russia swept the medals in pairs with Vera Barazova and Yuri Larionov first at 157.35, Ksenia Krasilnikova and Konstantin Bezmaternikh second at 146.25 and Ekaterina Sheremetieva and Mikhail Kuznetsov third at 134.02
Velenosi and Fernandez struggled in their free skate posting the eighth best score to drop from fourth to fifth overall. They qualified for the final with a second place finish at the stop in Tallinn, Estonia and fifth in Sheffield, England.
‘’It was a little rough but we expected that,’’ said Fernandez, 19, four years older than his partner. ‘’We didn’t have a good week training. The only positive for us was our speed and our overall presentation. I think we’ll learn a lot from this experience.’’
‘’We pushed faster than usual and we weren’t use to it,’’ added Velenosi.
Both Canadian couples competing here plan to battle for senior titles at next month’s nationals.