COURCHEVEL, France – Madeline Edwards of Port Moody, B.C., and ZhaoKai Pang of Burnaby, B.C., won the silver medal in a close ice dance battle on Saturday to conclude the first stop on the ISU Junior Grand Prix figure skating circuit.
Alla Loboda and Pavel Drozd of Russia took gold with 132.44 points. Edwards and Pang followed at 129.62 and Anastasia Shpilevaya and Grigory Smirnov of Russia were third at 121.41.
“We are extremely happy with how we skated,” said Edwards, 18, in her seventh season with Pang. “We were really comfortable and relaxed which is a feeling we really wanted to improve over last season.”
The Canadians held a slight lead over Loboda and Drozd after Friday’s short dance and skated third to last on Saturday.
“We felt it was possible our score could hold,” said Edwards. “But still anything can happen, the talent here is very deep. The result was something we were trying not to be overly worried about at this point in the season. We just wanted this new program to show our maturity and personalities.”
Edwards and Pang were third at the junior world championships last year and Saturday’s performance was their fifth career medal on the circuit.
“Our big objective is to return to the world juniors and hopefully improve our result,” said Pang, 19. “This is exactly the kind of start we wanted to our international season. What stood out for me wasn’t any particular move but the energy we displayed from start to finish.”
Melinda Meng and Andrew Meng of Montreal were seventh.
In the men’s final; Bennet Toman of St-Lazare, Que., and Daniel-Olivier Boulanger-Trottier of Montreal were 12th and 13th. Both were making their international debuts. June Hyoung Lee of South Korea won the gold medal.
The second stop on the circuit is August 28-30 in Ljubljana, Slovenia.