RED DEER, Alberta – Monday turned out to be a productive day for current Canadian medallists as the figure skating competition got underway at the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

Canadian pre-novice bronze medallists Savanna Martel and Kobi Chant of Alberta set the early tone in the novice ice dance competition, scoring a combined 27.22   in the pattern dance. Hailey Yu and Brendan Giang from B.C. are in second spot at 26.15, while Grace Pelé and Joel Portz of Alberta are third at 25.44.

“We had an incredible crowd of Alberta fans scream and holler for us, people we don’t even know, so that made it pretty special,” said Chant. “I was nervous, it’s such a tight event and there’s a lot of pressure. It was a great start for us.”

“Having the crowd there boosted my energy level and helped me perform,” added Martel. “We want to be on that podium, so we needed this. It was amazing out there.”

It was a good day for the host province, as Alberta’s Michelle Deng also leads following the pre-novice women short program. Deng scored 41.90 and leads Maho Harada of B.C., who sits second with 36.22 points, and Ontario’s Audrey Carle, the reigning Canadian champion (36.13).

In pre-novice pair, 2019 Canadian champions Lily Wilberforce and Aidan Wright from Ontario scored 31.25 to lead after the short program. Quebec’s Charlotte Giraldeau and Eliott Goulet are second at 29.74.

John Kim of Ontario, the 2019 Canadian champion, leads the pre-novice men’s event after scoring 40.05 in the short program, ahead of British Columbians Brendan Wong (36.25) and David Li (33.87).

Medals in the four pre-novice events will be awarded after free programs Wednesday.

The Special Olympics competition saw their first medals decided in the Men’s Level II category. Michael Raytchev of Ontario placed first, followed by B.C. teammates Eric Pahima and Jeff Leung. That medal ceremony will also take place Wednesday night.

For competition results, visit the Canada Winter Games figure skating page.

DID YOU KNOW:

Two Alberta brothers are current Canadian ice dance medallists. Joel Portz and his partner Grace Pelé are the 2019 Canadian pre-novice silver medallists, while Jacob Portz and Isabel McQuilkin are novice bronze medallists. The brothers, who represent the Calalta Figure Skating Club in Calgary, are both competing this week.

Audrey Carle from Ontario, the reigning Canadian pre-novice women’s champion, is the younger sister of 2017 national novice women’s champion Catherine Carle.

THEY SAID IT:

“Being at the Canada Games, especially in our home province, it’s pretty awesome. You have a lot of energy, and people you don’t even know screaming at the top of their lungs for you.” – Kobi Chant, pre-novice ice dance

UP NEXT: The novice competition and Special Olympics Singles Level II Women events will be staged at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre on Tuesday. The novice pattern dance kicks off the day’s events, followed by the novice pair, men’s and women’s short programs. The Special Olympics Women’s Level II Free Program wraps up the competition Tuesday night.

Photo credit: Corina Cowie, 2019 Canada Winter Games