MILAN, Italy – Kirsten Moore-Towers of St. Catharines, Ont., and Michael Marinaro of Sarnia, Ont., were profiles in courage on Thursday as they produced the fourth best free skate to climb from 10th to sixth in pairs at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships.

Olympic champions Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany took the gold with 245.84 points. Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov of Russia were second at 225.53 and Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres of France third at 218.36.

Moore-Towers and Marinaro scored a personal best 204.33. Their training was derailed after their 11th place finish at the Olympics due to an ankle injury to Moore-Towers. They had not started doing throws until this week and had not done two in one day since the Olympics.

‘’We are extremely happy,’’ said Moore-Towers. ‘’ We had a tough couple of weeks leading into this competition with not much training to rely on. We didn’t have that same confidence so this is a testament to how hard we worked all season.’’

The Canadians seemed to get better as the program progressed. After an uneneven side-by-side jump early and just hanging on on the throw triple loop, they finished strong with their side-by-side triples and throw triple Salchow.

‘’We’d been putting in a full work load since July so I think that allowed us to put up personal bests under the circumstance,’’ said Marinaro.

Keegan Messing of Sherwood Park, Alta., skated to a personal best score of 93.00 to sit sixth after the men’s short program.

‘’I was filled with joy going into the last spin,’’ said Messing. ‘’I’ve never felt that in a program before.’’
American Nathan Chen leads with 101.94, Russia’s Mikhail Kolyada is second at 100.08. Vincent Zhou of the U.S. is in third at 96.78.

Toronto’s Nam Nguyen was 25th and didn’t qualify for Saturday’s free skate.

‘’It’s a little upsetting,’’ said Nguyen. ‘’It’s always a different ball game when two of your three jumps in the short program are quads. I thought I was ready for it but it didn’t go well.’’

Competition continues Friday with the women’s free skate featuring Canadians Kaetlyn Osmond and Gabrielle Daleman who were fourth and sixth in the short and the short dance.

Full results: ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2018