BARCELONA – For the second year in a row, ice dancers Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., won the gold medal at the ISU Grand Prix Final figure skating competition.
The Canadians produced 182.66 points on Saturday, a mere 0.27 off their personal best set last season. Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the U.S. were second at 177.55 and Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte of Italy third at 176.37.
It was the sixth straight victory for Weaver and Poje on the circuit over the past two seasons.
‘’We felt great about the performance today,’’ said Poje. ‘We improved upon our other Grand Prix showings this season. We didn’t perfect everything we wanted to, so there is still work to be done.’’
Weaver was also delighted with the performance.
‘’We felt in the zone,’’ she said. ‘’We injected some emotion into this program and skated with our hearts out there. That is the most rewarding experience you can get. I can’t believe we won this event again, it hasn’t sunk in yet.’’
In men’s competition, Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan gave another interstellar performance raising his world record score to 330.43 points. Javier Fernandez of Spain was second at 292.95 and Shoma Uno of Japan third at 276.79. Three-time world champion Patrick Chan of Toronto climbed from sixth after the short to fourth with the third best long program for 264.45 points.
‘’I was really scared and nervous,’’ said Chan, who sat out last season. ‘’I’ve had shaky practices this week. But my free program is very comfortable and once the music starts it’s almost like auto-pilot. It shows my training is going really well and I can rely on it.’’
Synchronized skating made its debut at the Grand Prix Final and world champions Nexxice from Burlington, Ont., won the bronze medal with 120.34 points. Team Paradise from Russia took the gold at 131.09 and Team Rockettes from Finland were second at 127.66.
The 18 Nexxice skaters were Shannon Aikman-Jones, Cassandra Ablack, Ellicia Beaudoin, Kelly Britten, Anna Cappuccitti, Alessia Chiovitti, Lee Chandler, Samantha Defino, Courtney Gray, Celina Hevesi, Victoria Kwan, Renata Khuzina, Lauren Malott, Courtney McNaughton, Lisa Miadovnik, Rachel Ng, Kiesten Tietz and Jillian Tyler.
‘’It’s just incredible to be here,’’ said Defino. ‘’We just loved skating out and seeing that crowd. We were very pleased with our skate. This is very early in the season for us to be performing our free program and to get a medal was a success.’’
Canada ends the competition with three medals – one of each colour. On Friday, Meagan Duhamel of Lively, Ont., and Eric Radford of Balmertown, Ont., took silver in pairs.