(February 16, 2008)
GOYANG CITY, South Korea - Joannie Rochette of Ile-Dupas, Que., gained plenty of confidence on Saturday as she beat out the world champion for the silver medal in women's singles on Saturday to conclude the Four Continents Championships figure skating competition.
It was Canada's third podium finish at the championships. On Friday, Tessa Virtue of London, Ont., and Scott Moir of Ilderton, Ont., won gold in ice dancing and Jeff Buttle of Smooth Rock Falls, Ont., took silver in men's singles.
In the women's competition, Mao Asada of Japan won both the short and long programs for the gold with 193.25 points. Rochette climbed from third spot after the short program with the second best long to take the silver with a personal-best 179.54. World champion Miki Ando of Japan, struggled early in her program and dropped to third at 177.66.
Rochette opened her routine, performed to "Don Juan", with a solid triple Lutz-double toe-double loop combination followed by a triple flip and a triple loop. Another triple Lutz and a triple Salchow followed, before she went for the triple toe-triple Salchow sequence, but the 22-year-old under rotated the second jump and stumbled out of it. Still she recovered to hit a double Axel-double Axel sequence.
"With each jump I was landing I was getting more and more confident'' said Rochette, third last year. ''I'm very pleased with my second place finish but I know there are things I can improve upon for the worlds. This performance shows I'm capable of achieving my goals in my short and long programs and getting good results.''
Rochette had an added spring her step for Saturday's free skate after a best-ever short program on Thursday.
''At past competitions, the short program was always holding me down,'' said Rochette. ''I was usually around fifth and I had to have at least the second best long to get into the medals. But today I felt different going into the final. I felt like I could challenge for the title being in that better position. I reached a big goal this week.''
Canada's two other entries also moved up one spot in the standings. Mira Leung of Vancouver landed four triple jumps and took fifth place and Cynthia Phaneuf of Contrecoeur, Que., was seventh.