(December 4, 2009 - TOKYO, Japan) – Ice dancers Tessa Virtue of London, Ont., and Scott Moir of Ilderton, Ont., posted the best score in Friday’s free dance but were just edged out for the gold medal and took the silver at the ISU Grand Prix figure skating final.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the U.S., held on to first place totalling 169.44 points for Thursday’s original dance and Friday’s free dance.  There is no compulsory dance at the Grand Prix final.  Virtue and Moir skated a season best 104.21 points in their free dance to finish with 168.22 points.

“I’m not going to lie and say we are happy with second place,” said Moir.  “We come to every competition expecting to win but we were happy with how we skated today.  We have five weeks left before nationals and we have to keep our nose to the grindstone and continue building our elements.”

Virtue says the couple is well aware there are only a couple of more opportunities to perform their programs before the Olympic Games in February.

“The Olympics are in the back of our minds,” she said.  “But we were relaxed and confident tonight.  We just told each other to go out and enjoy it.  There were some shaky moments that Scott and I could feel but we are on track.”

Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France were third at 147.62.  Vanessa Crone of Aurora, Ont., and Paul Poirier of Unionville, Ont., skating to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, took sixth at 135.99 with season best scores in both the original and free dances.  The Canadians were invited to the competition after two qualifying couples withdrew.

“They had two of their best skates this season,” said Michael Slipchuk, Skate Canada’s high performance director.  “This was a great opportunity for them to show the judges and the skating world they belong at this level.  This can only help their confidence.”

The women’s singles competition got underway Friday with the short program.  Joannie Rochette of Ile-Dupas, Que., is in fourth spot with 60.94 points.  Miko Ando of Japan leads at 66.20, world champion Yu-Na Kim of South Korea is second at 65.64 and Alena Leonova of Russia third at 61.60.

“It was a better short program than last year at this time,” Rochette told Radio-Canada.  “I was happy with how I fought hard until the finish. Still it was an average performance.  I leaned too forward on my Lutz and struggled with my combination.”

In junior pairs, Kaleigh Hole of Virden, Man., and Adam Johnson of Chatham, Ont., in their first season together took fifth spot.  Wenjing Sui and Cong Han of China won the gold medal.

“They are a remarkable story,” said Slipchuk.  “In a short period of time they have won two Grand Prix medals (earlier this season).  There are some technical elements that need to be stronger and they would have needed to be almost perfect today to make the podium.  Still it is a great start and they can only get better.”

Competition continues Saturday.

All ISU Grand Prix events are being carried live www.skatebuzz.com

For more information visit: www.isu.org

 
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