(October 17, 2009 - PARIS, France) – Canadian figure skaters have kicked-off the Olympic season in grand style.
Tessa Virtue of London, Ont., and Scott Moir of Ilderton, Ont., won the gold medal Saturday in ice dancing to conclude the first stop on the ISU Grand Prix figure skating circuit while Jessica Dubé of St-Cyrille-de-Wendover, Que., and Bryce Davison of Huntsville, Ont., took the silver in pairs.
Virtue and Moir unveiled their new free dance routine performed to Gustav Mahler’s Fifth Symphony and took the gold with 197.71 points for their fourth career Grand Prix medal. They placed first in all three phases of the competition – the compulsory dance and original dance, both on Friday, and Saturday’s free dance.
‘’This was a great way to start what will hopefully be an amazing season,’’ said Moir, 22. ‘’It is October so there is time for the program to grow. We’re not satisfied where it is at right now but we are on track. We know what we want to make it better.’’
Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France were second at 181.64 and Sinead Kerr and John Kerr of Britain were third at 177.11.
This was Virtue and Moir’s first Grand Prix appearance since 2007. A leg injury to Virtue forced the couple to miss the first half of the 2008-2009 season but they finished the campaign with a bronze medal at the world championships last March.
In pairs, Maria Mukhortova and Maxim Tranov of Russia emerged as the champions earning 192.93 points. Dubé and Davison, third after the short program, followed at 180.97 for their sixth career Grand Prix medal. World champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany, dropped from first to third.
The Canadians also unveiled their new program, a romantic routine performed to ‘’The Way We Were.’’
‘’It was everything I was hoping for from the first note on,’’ said Davison. ‘’The performance level was high. Everything can improve- there were some small errors on the throws -but we are not far off. It’s a great start and we just want to keep the ball rolling.’’
In men’s singles, Nobunari Oda of Japan won the gold medal, Tomas Verner of the Czech Republic was second and Adam Rippon of the U.S., third.
Vaughan Chipeur of Edmonton was 12th.
‘’The training has gone really well now it’s a question of getting some confidence,’’ said Chipeur. ‘’I got to go out and know that I’m ready, like I was at the end of last season.’’
The second stop on the circuit is next week in Moscow.
For more information visit: www.isu.org