GANGNEUNG, South Korea – Canadian ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir continued their amazing comeback season with a golden performance on Friday at the ISU Four Continents figure skating competition.

The 2010 Olympic champions finished ahead of three American couples nearing a personal best 196.95 points at the Olympic venue for the 2018 Games. Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani were second at 191.85 and Madison Chock and Evan Bates third at 185.58.

On Friday, Virtue/Moir delivered a strong Free Dance to “Pilgrims on a Long Journey” and “Latch”, collecting a level four for their lifts, the twizzles, the diagonal step sequence and the spin and a level three for the circular step sequence.

They set a new personal best for the free dance with 117.20 points.

“It was an interesting performance for us as we left a couple of points on the board,’’ said Moir, from Ilderton, Ont. ‘’We really felt the energy and we’re really happy with certain parts of our performance. We’re going to be pretty excited, looking forward to the next five weeks preparing for the World Championship.’’

Virtue and Moir, in their first season since winning the silver medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics, have strung together six wins in six events this winter. This included their three Grand Prix assignments, including the Final in December, the Canadian championships last month and the Autumn Classic back in October to launch their comeback.

Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., were fifth at 180.09 and Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto sixth at 170.14.

In the men’s short program, three-time world champion Patrick Chan of Toronto sits fifth with 88.46. Chan fell on his opening quad toe loop and had a step-out on his triple Lutz-triple toe combination.
“I’ve had good days with that program and today wasn’t one of them,” said Chan. “When you compete at such a high level the mistakes you make have more impact and you learn from them. My timing for the quad toe was off which was unexpected because I was on in practice.’’

Nathan Chen of the U.S. is first at 103.12, Shoma Uno of Japan second at 100.28 and his compatriot Yuzuru Hanyu third at 97.04.

Kevin Reynolds of Coquitlam, B.C. and Nam Nguyen of Toronto are 12th and 13th.

Full results: ISU Four Continents Championships 2017

-By Louis Daignault