STOCKHOLM, Sweden – For Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro, what a difference a day makes.
Less than 24 hours after a shaky short program to open the ISU World Figure Skating Championships, the two-time Canadian pair champions bounced back with an exceptional free program Thursday, scoring 131.84 for a 195.29 total, vaulting them from 10th into sixth.
The result matched their previous best at the world championships, set in 2018. Moore-Towers and Marinaro have finished inside the top eight in all four trips to the world championships.
“We definitely skated for ourselves today,” said Moore-Towers. “We were excited to show that program and I think that was something that was lacking (Wednesday). I think it showed in our skating.”
“We’re definitely proud of the skate today, considering the circumstances,” added Marinaro. “A very short season, a lot to take away, a lot of lessons learned over the past two months that we can carry into next season.”
Minutes before Moore-Towers and Marinaro took the ice, Evelyn Walsh and Trennt Michaud laid down a solid free skate of their own, earning 116.83 to place 12th at 176.24.
“We were really excited and looking forward to this competition,” said Walsh. “Not only another worlds, but just a competition this season.”
“This season, in different countries, a lot of things were different,” reasoned Michaud. “For us in Canada, we didn’t get any competitions due to the pandemic, so we’re very, very grateful to be here.”
Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov, representing the Figure Skating Federation of Russia (FSR), captured pair gold.
Earlier Thursday, Keegan Messing, the lone Canadian entry in the men’s competition, scored 93.51 in his short program and is in fifth place heading into Saturday’s free program.
Messing, who holds American and Canadian citizenship, is the only Team Canada member to compete internationally this past season, winning bronze at Skate America in October.
Making his third appearance at the world championships, Messing, who finished eighth in 2018 and 15th in 2019, said he was happy with his performance and is trying to keep his emotions in check this week.
“I’m trying to go out there and skate for family, skate for team camaraderie, so I can put the best performance out and try to keep some of those nerves to a minimum,” said Messing. “And just hope that it’s enough.”
Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan scored 106.98 to set the early pace in the men’s event.
The women’s short program kicked off the world championships Wednesday morning and Madeline Schizas of Oakville, Ont., making her world championship debut, skated with ice in her veins, scoring 68.77. Schizas, who celebrated her 18th birthday last month, is in ninth spot leading into Friday’s free program.
“This is my second senior international ever, so it was so cool to compete with the highest ranked competitors in the world,” said Schizas. “It’s just so incredible to be here competing against the best in the world and I was really proud that I put out a good performance today.”
Emily Bausback from New Westminster, B.C., the 2020 Canadian women’s champion also making her first appearance at the world championships, finished 27th and missed qualifying for the free program by just three spots.
“This has been a really great experience for me,” said Bausback. “I was super excited for the training leading up to the world championships, my very first one. It’s an incredible experience. It’s everything I imagined.”
The ice dance competition gets underway Friday morning, with three teams representing Canada. Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha will skate their rhythm dance at 8:47 am EDT, followed by Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sørensen at 9:07 am and Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier at 10:22 am.
The women’s free program will follow Friday afternoon, with Schizas scheduled to skate at 3:35 pm EDT.
Photo Credit: ISU