MOSCOW – Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., are in third place after a spectacular debut of their Michael Jackson flavoured short dance on Friday at the Rostelecom Cup, the third stop on the ISU Grand Prix figure skating circuit.
Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the U.S., the Skate Canada International silver medallists last week, are first at 75.04, Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev of Russia second at 74.92 and Weaver and Poje earned 69.81.
‘’We are very pleased with our performance,’’ said Weaver. ‘’This is our first competition of the season for us and we underwent many changes through the summer including this brand new short dance. We came out today feeling calm and excited to perform.’’
The Canadians, who skated a highly original program to three Michael Jackson tunes (The Way You Make Me Feel, Dangerous and Jam), received a rousing and extended ovation from the crowd for their performance. Weaver and Poje will try to extend their Grand Prix event winning streak to seven in Saturday’s free dance.
‘’We were treated like hometown athletes from the crowd here,’’ Weaver said. ‘’We had an error on our twizzle and lost points there but we are taking away a lot of positives. We can’t wait to show of our free skate.’’
In pairs, Julianne Séguin of Longueuil, Que., and Charlie Bilodeau of Trois-Pistoles, Que., the Skate America champions two weeks ago, are in fifth spot after the short.
They are only eighth points from the leaders. Both skaters fell on the side-by-side jumps and Séguin touched one hand down on the throw.
‘’Of course it wasn’t our best,’’ said Séguin. ‘’I expect we’ll come back much stronger tomorrow because our long program is more polished right now.’’
Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert of Russia lead at 69.76, Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany are second at 69.51 and Valentina Marchei and Ondrej Hotarek of Italy third at 66.82. Séguin and Bilodeau scored 61.72 and Camille Ruest of Boucherville, Que., and Andrew Wolfe of Montreal are seventh at 60.09.
In men’s competition, Shoma Uno of Japan stands first after the short, world champion Javier Fernandez of Spain is second and Mikhail Kolyada of Russia third.
Elladj Balde of Pierrefonds, Que., produced a clean program but with no quad jump he is ranked sixth. ‘’The goal was to come here and skate clean,’’ he said. ‘’That’s the way I’ve been skating every day at home. I broke the 37-point barrier for my components which shows that may skating’s improved.’’
Canada has no entries in women’s competition.
All free skates are on Saturday.
Full results: ISU GP Rostelecom Cup 2016