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Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje stepping away from competition

OTTAWA, ON: Three-time Canadian ice dance champions Kaitlyn Weaver, 30, Toronto, Ont., and Andrew Poje, 32, Waterloo, Ont., have decided to step away from competition for the time being. Weaver and Poje will use their time away from the Grand Prix and Challenger series events to evaluate their future plans and will provide an update on their career later this season. The team has competed internationally for Canada since 2006, attending two Olympic Winter Games (2014, 2018).

Weaver and Poje are three-time world medallists, winning their most recent world medal at the 2018 world championships. The two-time Grand Prix Final champions are coached by Nikolai Morozov, Igor Shpilband and Pasquale Camerlengo and train in Hackensack, NJ, USA.

Osmond, Weaver/Poje lead after short program at Cup of China

BEIJING – Kaetlyn Osmond of Marystown, N.L. leads the women’s field and Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., are first in ice dance after Friday’s short programs at the Cup of China figure skating competition, the fifth stop on the ISU Grand Prix circuit.

In ice dancing, Weaver and Poje produced a personal international score for their short dance with 73.78 points. Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani follow closely at 73.23 and Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin of Russia are third at 72.09.

Weaver and Poje were third at the Rostelecom Cup in Russia earlier this month.

“We’ve shown great improvements since Russia,” said Weaver. “We still haven’t had a perfectly clean performance and that’s what we are aiming for.”

Alexandra Paul of Midhurst, Ont., and Mitchell Islam of Barrie, Ont., withdrew after Paul injured her knee in practice.

In women’s competition, Osmond continued an impressive 2016-17 season earning 72.20 points. Elania Radinova of Russia is second at 70.75 and Mai Mihara of Japan third at 68.48.

So far this season, Osmond was second at Skate Canada International with two personal best scores and won an international event in Finland.

“I’m overall pretty happy,” said Osmond. “It didn’t feel quite as good as Skate Canada but I got everything done.”

In pairs, Xiaoyu and Hao Zhang of China are first at 72.49 followed by Lubov Ilyushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch of Toronto in second at 71.28 and Cheng Peng and Yang Jin of China third at 69.93.

‘’The program felt good,’’ said Moscovitch. ‘’We were at an even-keel energy-wise and other than a little mistake on the jump felt we were very connected.’’

In men’s competition, three-time world champion Patrick Chan of Toronto stands third after the short program with 83.41 points. Boyang Jin of China has a big lead at 96.17 and Daniel Samohin of Israel is second at 83.47.

“Today was a bit rough,” said Chan, coming off a victory at Skate Canada International. “I obviously could have done a lot better. All the landings were a little shaky. The little mistakes add up to big mistakes in the short program.”

All four free skates are on Saturday.

Full results: ISU GP Audi Cup of China 2016

Behind The Blades with Kaitlyn Weaver

*Crunch, crunch, crunch*

weaver3The unmistakable sound of fresh packed snow underneath my boots is like music to my ears. “Aaah, winter…” I think to myself. “It’s back.” But much has changed since Andrew and I have been blanketed by November’s powder.

This year, winter found us in Moscow, Russia, our part-time training base for the 2016/2017 figure skating season. After a disappointing finish to last season, my partner and I took the time to go back to the drawing board in the Spring, shut the world out, and understand what it was that WE needed. And as the pre-Olympic season was looming, THAT was the time to make any drastic changes. And drastic changes we made. We enlisted living-choreographic-legend Nikolai Morozov to our coaching team, and relocated to New Jersey, with the knowledge that much of our training would also take place in the other Great White North: Russia. To outsiders, it seemed scary. And a piece of me was definitely scared too, to tell the truth. But with change comes growth, and with necessity, fear becomes obsolete. Andrew and I were positive that we needed to challenge ourselves with something new. “Big risk, big reward” we thought, and we’re working hard to make it so.

weaver-1Relocating to Jersey from our previous long-time training location of Detroit, Michigan wasn’t too difficult. Being within a stone’s throw of New York City is nothing short of inspiring, and we feed off the energy and possibility that the area has to offer. But when it came to Russia, we weren’t sure what to expect.

Armed with warm layers, protein bars, and Google translate, we traveled to Moscow eager to embrace this new aspect of our skating. And so far, it has been a success. The training centre is beautiful, the rink attendants and other coaches treat us fairly and with kindness, and having friends in the city has made an immeasurable impact. Although I had a basic understanding of the Russian language and cyrillic, Andrew and I have learned so much together, and that helps make this city feel like a second home. We can get around, order at restaurants, and hold a polite conversation. Don’t get me wrong, there are (lots of) times that I just want to walk into a Timmy’s and order a coffee and a pack of Timbits without thinking twice, but all-in-all, we are doing well.

weaver2Soon it was time for our first competition, also to be held in Moscow: Rostelecom Cup in the beginning of November. And conveniently, the official hotel was just minutes down the road from our training centre dorms. I have to admit, I felt a little defensive when I overheard other competitors complaining about Russia’s snowy weather .. I felt, like in Canada, winter has to be understood and embraced and loved rather than loathed! But no matter, the competition was quite a success. Two great outings of our new programs— representations of a new life in the dance team of Weaver/Poje and the seedlings of a fresh energy and momentum due to find its peak at the Olympics in Pyeongchang, 2018. The Russian audience, never short of passion and enthusiasm, welcomed us with warmth and energy. We left happy, invigorated, and motivated to continue our growth in the birthplace of ice dance, and also back in our new home of New Jersey with our glowing hearts never letting go of their Canadian roots.

While we can’t wait to return home to our beloved Canada, this season is the definition of adventure and growth, and as an athlete, it’s what I live for. We are always striving to make our country proud and we hope you enjoy joining our journey.

See you on the ice!

Weaver and Poje win bronze at ISU Four Continents

TAIPEI CITY – Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., won the bronze medal Friday in ice dancing at the ISU Four Continents Championships while Patrick Chan of Toronto stands fifth after the men’s short program.

Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje

In ice dancing, the Americans finished 1-2. Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani took the gold with 181.62 points and Madison Chock and Evan Bates, the world championship silver medallists, followed at 174.64.

Weaver and Poje, the defending champions, followed at 173.85.

“We didn’t have our strongest skate,” said Weaver. “We fought through, we didn’t let it discourage us. Most days things come together for us but some days it doesn’t. Today was one of those. We’re still happy to go home with a bronze medal and we know we are capable of being the best.”

Poje says the result just fires them up even more for the next month’s world championships in Boston.

“We are going to use this as a learning experience,” he said. “We are going to make sure we get out the little stumbles and bumps out of the program. We plan to go into Boston full of confidence and full of energy.”

Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto were fifth and Elisabeth Paradis of Loretteville, Que., and François-Xavier Ouellette of Laval, Que.,were sixth.

In the men’s short program, Boyang Jin of China stands first at 98.45 with Shoma Uno of Japan second at 92.99 and Han Yan of China third at 89.57. Takahito Mura of Japan is fourth at 89.08 followed by Chan at 86.22, a season’s best in international competition.

‘’I haven’t felt comfortable in training all week,’’ said Chan, who sat out last season. ‘’Considering that, I’m really happy with the skate, staying on feet, playing it smart and not making major mistakes. Staying in the final group for the free skate was also important.’’

Chan, a three-time world champion, says he is following his game plan.

‘’This season I want to take my time, be methodical. So far every competition it has been getting better,’’ he said.

Liam Firus of North Vancouver is 14th and Kevin Reynolds of Coquitlam, B.C., 20th.

Competition continues Saturday with the free skates in pairs and women’s competition.

Full results: ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships

Meet the Senior Ice Dancers

KAITLYN WEAVER / ANDREW POJE

Kaitlyn and Andrew were riding a perfect season last year before settling for bronze at the ISU World Championships. The two-time world medallists and defending Canadian champions have been members of the national team for a decade. In fact, Halifax holds a special place in the hearts – they made their debut in Canada at the 2007 Canadian championships in the Maritime city, finishing third behind Marie-France Dubreuil / Patrice Lauzon (gold) and Tessa Virtue / Scott Moir (silver).

DID YOU KNOW: Kaitlyn and Andrew are both taking classes at the University of Waterloo – Kaitlyn is studying public relations and media, and Poje is focused on biomedical science.

PIPER GILLES / PAUL POIRIER

Since teaming together in 2011, Gilles and Poirier have established themselves as one of Canada’s top ice dance tandems. The three-time Canadian medallists display a high level of artistry in their programs and despite facing injury issues in recent seasons, remain energetic crowd pleasers thanks to their creative lifts and extraordinary performance ability. Away from the rink, Piper is immersed in the fashion world, and does much of the outfit design for their programs. One day, she hopes to launch her own line of sports clothing.

FUN FACT: Piper was an extra in a Simple Plan music video; Paul, meanwhile, admits he is “really bad” at parking cars.

ALEXANDRA PAUL / MITCH ISLAM

The three-time Canadian bronze medallists have new coaches, who just happen to be their skating idols: Olympians and two-time world silver medallists Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon. Earlier this year, Paul and Islam, who represented Canada at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic games, placed second at the Nebelhorn Trophy and will be looking for their fourth podium finish since 2011 at the 2016 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships.

FUN FACT: Alexandra is a big fan of the show Gilmore Girls, and figure she has watched the entire series at least five times; if Mitch is watching TV, he is usually tuned in to Mad Men.

ÉLISABETH PARADIS / FRANÇOIS-XAVIER OUELLETTE

Teaming up in 2010, this personable tandem are making their way up the Canadian ice dance ranks, highlighted by a bronze-medal finish at 2015 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic. And they are likely only to get better as they continue to train under former Olympians and two-time ice dance world silver medallists Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon.

FUN FACT: Elisabeth plays the tenor saxophone in her spare time while François likes to do some heavy lifting by renovating houses.

Canadian Skaters in Barcelona for ISU Grand Prix Final

OTTAWA, ON: Skate Canada will have five entries at the 2015 ISU Senior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Barcelona, Spain, taking place from December 9-13, 2015. Canada will have one entry in men’s, two entries in pair, one entry in ice dance and one entry in synchronized skating.

The ISU Senior Grand Prix Final is the concluding event of the ISU Senior Grand Prix of Figure Skating circuit. The series hosts six stops: United States (Skate America), Canada (Skate Canada International), China (Cup of China), France (Trophée Eric Bompard), Russia (Rostelecom Cup), and Japan (NHK Trophy). Skaters are awarded points based on their placements at their assigned two events and the top six in each of the four disciplines advance to the Final.

In senior, Canada will be represented by Patrick Chan, 24, Toronto, Ont., in men’s, Meagan Duhamel, 30, Lively, Ont., and Eric Radford, 30, Balmertown, Ont., and Julianne Séguin, 19, Longueuil, Que., and Charlie Bilodeau, 22, Trois-Pistoles, Que., in the pair category, as well as Kaitlyn Weaver, 26, Toronto, Ont., and Andrew Poje, 28, Waterloo, Ont., in ice dance.

For the first time in the event’s history, the ISU Senior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final will also include synchronized skating. One entry was assigned to each of the top five ranked ISU members in synchronized skating; Canada being represented by Nexxice. The synchronized skating competition will consist of free skating, which will take place on Saturday, December 12, 2015. The teams will not perform a short program.

Earlier this season, Canada qualified one entry, Roman Sadovsky, 16, Vaughan, Ont., to the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final, also taking place in Barcelona, Spain from December 9-13, 2015. Similar to the senior qualification, juniors are assigned two events on the seven-event series, with the top six in each category advancing to the Final.

ISU Senior Grand Prix Final

Three-time World Champion and double Olympic silver medallist (men’s and team) Patrick Chan, 24, Toronto, Ont., will represent Canada in men’s. Chan won gold at Skate Canada International and placed fifth in the short program at Trophée Éric Bompard to earn a berth at the ISU Grand Prix Final. The representative of the Granite Club has previously competed at this event six times, medalling four times and winning gold on two occasions (2010 and 2011). He is coached by Kathy Johnson and trains at the Detroit Skating Club.

World champions and Olympic silver medallists (team) Meagan Duhamel, 30, Lively, Ont., and Eric Radford, 30, Balmertown, Ont., are the first of two Canadian pair entries. The representatives of CPA Saint-Léonard have previously competed at this event four times and are the defending champions. This season on the grand prix circuit, they won gold at Skate Canada International and at the NHK Trophy, qualifying in first place for this competition. Duhamel and Radford are coached by Richard Gauthier, Bruno Marcotte, and Sylvie Fullum.

Julianne Séguin, 19, Longueuil, Que., and Charlie Bilodeau, 22, Trois-Pistoles, Que., are the second Canadian pair entry at the event. Last year, they won gold at the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final; this will be their first time competing in this event at the senior level. The representatives of CPA Longueuil and CPA Chambly won bronze at Skate America and placed third in the short program at the Trophée Éric Bompard to qualify for this competition. Séguin and Bilodeau are coached by Josée Picard in Chambly, Que.

Nexxice.

Nexxice

Two time world medallists Kaitlyn Weaver, 26, Toronto, Ont., and Andrew Poje, 28, Waterloo, Ont., will be the Canadian entry in ice dance. This will be their fifth time competing at this event and they are the defending champions. Weaver and Poje won gold at Skate Canada International and the Rostelecom Cup to qualify first for this competition. The representatives of Sault FSC and Kitchener-Waterloo SC are coached by Angelika Krylova, Pasquale Camerlengo and Shae-Lynn Bourne in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Two-time world champions, Nexxice, will be the Canadian entry in synchronized skating. The nine-time consecutive Canadian champions most recently won the 2015 ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships. Representing the Burlington Skating Centre, Nexxice is coached by Shelley Simonton Barnett and Anne Schelter.

ISU Junior Grand Prix Final

Roman Sadovsky Junior Grand Prix gold.

Roman Sadovsky

Roman Sadovsky, 16, Vaughan, Ont., will be Canada’s sole entry in men’s. Earlier this season, he won gold at the ISU Junior Grand Prix in Slovakia and bronze at the ISU Junior Grand Prix in Poland. Last season he placed fifth at this event. Sadovsky is coached by Tracey Wainman at the YSRA Winter Club.

Mike Slipchuk, Skate Canada High Performance Director, will be the Canadian team leader at the event. Dr. Ghislaine Robert of Montreal, Que., and physiotherapist Agnes Makowski of Toronto, Ont., will be the Canadian medical staff onsite. Diane Kamagianis of Mission, Ont., Leanna Caron of Timmins, Ont., and Jeff Lukasik of Calgary, Alta., will be the Canadian officials at the event.

Emma Bowie, Skate Canada Communications Manager, will be the media contact at the event. To arrange onsite interviews please contact her by email at [email protected].

For results and full entries please visit www.isu.org.

 

 

 

CANADIAN ENTRIES AT THE 2015 ISU SENIOR GRAND PRIX FINAL

Discipline Name Age Hometown Club Coach
Mens Patrick Chan 24 Toronto, Ont. Granite Club Kathy Johnson
Pair Meagan Duhamel / Eric Radford 30/30 Lively, Ont. / Balmertown, Ont. CPA Saint-Léonard / CPA Saint-Léonard Richard Gauthier / Bruno Marcotte / Sylvie Fullum
Pair Julianne Séguin / Charlie Bilodeau 19/22 Longueuil, Que. / Trois-Pistoles, Que. CPA Longueuil / CPA Chambly Josée Picard
Ice Dance Kaitlyn Weaver / Andrew Poje 26/28 Toronto, Ont. / Waterloo, Ont. Sault FSC / Kitchener-Waterloo SC Angelika Krylova / Pasquale Camerlengo / Shae-Lynn Bourne
Synchronized Skating Nexxice N/A N/A Burlington Skating Centre Shelley Simonton Barnett / Anne Schelter

CANADIAN ENTRIES AT THE 2015 ISU JUNIOR GRAND PRIX FINAL

Discipline Name Age Hometown Club Coach
Mens Roman Sadovsky 16 Vaughan, Ont. YRSA Winter Club Tracey Wainman

Weaver and Poje win bronze at world championships

SHANGHAI – Ice dancers Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., won the bronze medal on Friday at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships.

It was Canada’s second medal of the competition. On Thursday Meagan Duhamel of Lively, Ont., and Eric Radford of Balmertown, Ont., took gold in pairs.

In Friday’s ice dance, Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France roared from fourth after the short dance to win the gold with 184.28 points. Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the U.S. took the silver at 181.34 and Weaver and Poje followed at 179.42.

“We were very happy with the performance today, we went out there and gave it all we had,” said Poje. “We were disappointed with our scores because we were aiming for another gold.”

Weaver and Poje entered the worlds undefeated this season. They won three ISU Grand Prix events including the Final, the Canadian championships and the ISU Four Continents.

“This sport is a marathon, not a sprint,” said Weaver. “This is the first year of a four-year Olympic cycle and the momentum will not be lost. It makes us hungrier to work even harder.”

Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto were sixth and Alexandra Paul and Mitchell Islam of Barrie,Ont., 13th.

“It’s really great for us to get a season’s best in both programs and improve on our eighth place from last year,” said Poirier. “We just allowed ourselves to relax and let our training do the work for us.”

In the men’s short program, Nam Nguyen of Toronto set a personal best international score to stand ninth while Jeremy Ten of Vancouver is 15th

“It’s really enjoyable to perform in front of a big crowd,” said Nguyen. “It’s very cool for me to communicate my program to them.”

Competition ends Saturday with the men’s and women’s free skates.

Full results: http://www.isuresults.com/results/wc2015/index.htm

Strong Canadian Bond between Duhamel/Radford and Weaver/Poje heading into the World Championships

Fate and destiny have bought Canada’s top two upwardly mobile duos to much the same place, on the same path, so much so, it’s almost chilling to behold.

Never have Canadian doublets been in such step as pair skaters Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford and their ice dancing counterparts Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje.

At every bend this season, they have been matching steps to the ISU World Figure Skating Championships where both are favoured to win gold. And it would be a first if they did. Although Canadian skaters have won double-gold at world championships before (Donald Jackson and Maria and Otto Jelinek in 1962, Kurt Browning and Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Eisler in 1993, and Patrick Chan and Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir in 2012), it’s never happened to two Canadian twosomes.

Partway through the season, both noticed the similarity of their journeys. “After the NHK Trophy, we had both won the event, and we looked at each other and said: ‘Wait a second. We’re the exact same right now. We’re three for three;” Weaver said.

Last fall, Duhamel and Radford and Weaver and Poje both scored victories in early season internationals in Barrie, Ont. and Obertsdorf, Germany for win No. 1. Afterwards, they never competed apart. They were assigned to the same Grand Prix events, and swept them all. Then they both won gold at the Grand Prix Final (four for four); gold at the Canadian championships (five for five); then gold at the Four Continents Championships (six for six.). In Shanghai, China next week, they’ll go for seven, a lucky number that signifies divine perfection, completeness, something that is finished.

Both didn’t have their best Olympics in Sochi last February. Both realized that they had to do their jobs on their own terms, for the joy of it. Not training in a relaxed way (“We’re exhausted after every practice,” Weaver said), but shutting out the distractions of opinion and result.

“We both feel the same pressure,” Weaver said. “To have someone else to share that with, not only with your partner, but another team altogether, has been really fun and enlightening.”

“I feel like we are sharing this special journey with them,” said Duhamel, who will room with Weaver in Shanghai. “I think we share a really special energy between the four of us.”

In Barcelona, Duhamel and Weaver started a tradition together: finding a yoga class when they first get to an event. The texts fly back and forth. Last Monday, Weaver texted Duhamel: “Last Monday of the regular season of training!”

“Yay,” Duhamel said in return. “She’s always checking up on me to see how things are going.”

They find that they share the same feelings, the same trouble getting their feet under them after a trip, the same jetlag, the same ease that things have settled back to normal at the same time. “Every time she texts me about something, we’re both feeling the same way, or our energies are the same,” Duhamel said.

Ditto for Radford and Poje, who roomed together in Barcelona. “At every competition, I think there is an unspoken connection and feeling because we’re both in the exact same situation,” Radford said. “And it’s comforting and nice to know in those really high intense moments of pressure, when you’re feeling nervous, we have teammates that are in the exact same situation. And they are still alive. And they survived. And they are doing an amazing job. It gives us confidence to know we are going through the same situation with some of our best friends.”

It’s not as if they are forged from the same pieces of clay. They are in different disciplines for Pete’s sake: pairs with their fearlessness, ice dancers with their twizzles and emotion. They have decidedly different personalities, all of them.

“What’s neat is that you get to see how someone else handles the situation,” Weaver said. “I really admire Meagan’s tenacity and I love her aggressiveness when she skates. So we can learn from each other in that way.”

If Weaver and Poje arrive to the rink after a pair practice, they’ll ask how Duhamel and Radford fared. They’ll say (so many times this year): “Awesome!”

“And you know what? We can have awesome practices, too,” Weaver said. “They are very confident and we feed off each other in that way. I think we are all very different personalities, but we are able to come together and know that we are all feeling the same thing.”

Case in point: In Barcelona both wanted to do so well and Duhamel was feeling butterflies about it all. Weaver advised her that they do the same program every time, the same quads, the same twizzles, the same lifts. Nothing changes from one competition to another. “We both really kind of hung onto that,” Weaver said. “We have that little reminder for each other every time we go out.” They both won gold at the Grand Prix Final – quite decisively.

And what if they both were to win in Shanghai? The thought gives Weaver chills up her sparkly arm.

“It would be monumental for sure,” Poje said. “It would be such a powerful message for Canada to be able to display those two champions. We both have to go out there and do our jobs and make sure that we put everything we can out there.

“But it’s a wonderful picture to think about and to be able to share the same memories and the same moment with them, coming from the same country and hearing the same anthem. It would be amazing.”

Weaver says she rarely misses watching Duhamel and Radford skate, at least for the long program. She thinks she’s seen them five out of six times, perhaps all of them. “I’m very proud to witness their growth and the incredible strides that they have made as a team, especially with that long, which is gorgeous,” she said.

And what if there is an incredible double-barrelled win, two golds for two teams?

“It would mean a lot of champagne for Team Canada,” Weaver said.

Gold for Weaver and Poje at ISU Four Continents

4Cont-Weaver-Poje-GoldSEOUL – Canadian ice dancers Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje earned one of their most satisfying victories in an undefeated season on Friday at the ISU Four Continents figure skating competition.

The Waterloo, Ont., couple climbed from third after the short dance to top spot totalling 177.46 points for their second career Four Continents title. They edged Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the U.S. in second at 176.18 and another American couple, Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani, third at 170.79.

‘’It wasn’t easy coming from behind, but that’s a position that we’ve been in for seemingly our whole career so it was nothing new to feel like we had to fight for this free dance,’’ said Weaver. ‘’ There is a little bit of extra gusto in there, because the desire to move up and that helped us to perform today.’’

The Canadians skated to “The Four Seasons” and the routine was highlighted by intricate footwork and beautiful lifts. The world silver medalists earned a level four for the twizzles, lifts and the spin while the step sequences garnered a level three. The Canadian champions picked up 109.15 points, just short of their seasons best and totalled 177.46 points.

Since the start of the 2014-15 season, Weaver and Poje have four international victories including the Grand Prix title and also won the national crown last month.

‘’We are building on our success,’’ said Poje. ‘’It’s a good way to end our last competition before the world championships. We’re going to head home with some good feedback. Now we just need to keep working hard to insure we have our strongest performance in Shanghai. ‘’

Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto were fourth and Alexandra Paul of Midhurst, Ont., and Mitchell Islam of Barrie, Ont., sixth.

In the women’s short program, Alaine Chartrand of Prescott, Ont., kept herself in medal contention standing sixth at 58.50 less than three points from third place. Gabrielle Daleman of Newmarket, Ont., is sixth and Veronik Mallet of Sept-Iles, Que., 13th.

Competition continues Saturday with the pairs free program featuring Meagan Duhamel of Lively, Ont., and Eric Radford of Balmertown, Ont., who are first after Thursday’s short program. The men’s free is also on Saturday and the women’s free on Sunday.

http://www.isuresults.com/results/fc2015/index.htm

Weaver and Poje win first Canadian title in ice dance

KINGSTON, ONTARIO – Andrew Poje started this podium selfie thing, and now others are doing it, too. On Saturday night, he took his favourite selfie: he and his partner Kaitlyn Weaver on top of the podium at the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships.

After so many years of seconds and thirds and ups and downs and injuries and all, Weaver and Poje finally won the Canadian championship title they have always wanted. “We finally made it,” said Weaver. They were obviously emotional in the closing moments of their sophisticated free dance to the Four Seasons.

“Ever since we were little kids, we dreamed of being national champions,” Poje said. “And to be the top of your country is an amazing thing.”

“It means so much more than any other gold medal that we’ve won this year,” Weaver said – and she’s counting the Grand Prix Final gold. “We’ll be Canadian champions for the rest of our lives.”

Poje said it was one of their most nerve-wracking competitions. “Even though we felt we could achieve this as long as we put two good programs together, we were nervous, because we really wanted this and it was really important to us,” he said.

Weaver and Poje won the free dance with 111.62 points and the gold medal with 187.88.

Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier were pleasantly surprised by their free dance score of 104.67 – highest ever for them – and their final total of 174.70 to take the silver medal.

Alexandra Paul and Mitchell Islam won a tight fight for the bronze medal, nailing that down with 160.67 points. However they finished only fifth in the free dance and Islam said they were hard hit in the technical marks for a Peter Gabriel routine that is only two months old.

Nicole Orford and Thomas Williams were third in the free dance while Elisabeth Paradis and François-Xavier Ouellette were fourth. Paradis and Ouellette ended up fifth overall, missing out on fourth by only .06.

In pairs, Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford won their fourth Canadian title and blasted their own previous Canadian record doing it. Their previous mark? 220.72, set at the Grand Prix Final. Their mark at nationals? 230.19.

“It was the best we’ve done this year, but we can still do better,” Duhamel said. Duhamel singled a double toe loop at the end of a triple-double-double combo. “We want to leave something for worlds,” she said.

Duhamel and Radford believe all four teams in the final group delivered powerful skates. “I don’t really remember when that has happened,” Duhamel said. “It was a great day for Canadian skating.”

Lubov Ilyushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch won the silver medal in their first season together, earning 65.15 points for the free and 187.85 overall.

While in the past, Moscovitch had always been pushing Duhamel and Radford with his previous partner, Kirsten Moore-Towers, he and his Russian-born partner trailed the winners by a whopping 42.34 points.

“We really feel lucky that we found each other and that we had a shot at doing this,” Moscovitch said. “I had no idea what was going to happen to my career. The fact that we came together the way that we did feels like it was meant to be, almost serendipitous. It’s very enjoyable.”

Julianne Séguin and Charlie Bilodeau, competing at their first senior event, won the bronze medal with 181.43, narrowly edging out Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro. Séguin and Bilodleau edged Moore-Towers and Marinaro by only .56 in the free.

 

Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje looking for their first Canadian title

KINGSTON, ONTARIO – Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje say they’ve been working nine years for this moment: to win the Canadian title at the 101st Canadian Tire National Figure Skating Championships.

They remember their first meeting, when they agreed to a cross-border tryout in 2006. It was July, late in a season to be finding a partner. But suddenly, Weaver discovered that her “dream partner” was available and she found herself driving to Canada, all pins and needles. She had resigned herself to skating by herself for the next season.

Weaver didn’t say a word the first day, but she had plenty of thoughts. “I remember thinking this was the real deal,” she said. “This might be something really good…I thought this might be the opportunity I was looking for.”

“My first thought was, this girl was quiet,” Poje said.

Weaver admitted she was intimated by the 6-foot-3 “gorgeous” Poje, who was more accomplished in his skating career than she was at the time. Weaver called him her dream partner. Now Poje says that he feels lucky to have Weaver as a partner and “now she proves to me every day that she is better than me.”

Coach Rebecca Babb took Weaver aside and told her: “Kaitlyn, it’s okay to smile.” Weaver had been so intent and so nervous about winning Poje’s hand that she forgot to be herself.

On the second day of the tryout, Weaver began talking (and hasn’t stopped since.) “From the beginning, we knew it was something unique and something we definitely knew would take us far,” Poje said.

It didn’t take long at all for Weaver, born in the United States, to feel like a Canadian. “The people of Waterloo and Andrew’s family made me feel so much at home immediately,” she said. I was so nervous, thinking I was an outsider. I didn’t want to be the American in the crowd. I didn’t want to stand out. And they took me in right away. Those kids at the rink, I can’t thank them enough.”

Weaver and Poje had their first international completion only six weeks after they joined forces. Right then, Weaver felt like part of the Canadian team.

The secret to their success is their friendship, Poje said. They complement each other. “We are not the same people,” he said. “We’re opposites in some ways, but that definitely helps us when we are going for that gold.”

“We seem to know what each other is thinking before the other knows it,” Weaver said.

Some people never find what Weaver and Poje have. And it has taken them far.

They are two of hundreds of skaters who have shown up this week in Kingston. They helped Canada win an unprecedented 29 medals this season in both junior and senior competitions.

Canada will welcome three new senior champions on Saturday and Patrick Chan, sitting out the season, will be in the arena on Saturday to watch.

Sponsors such as Canadian Tire, Sony, Via Rail, In Bloom Flowers, Black Dog Hospitality and Pita Pit and others are the wind beneath Skate Canada’s wings at this event. Kim Saunders, vice president of sport properties for Canadian Tire calls this championship a “special event.”

Among other things, Canadian Tire is financing a series of skating bursaries for novice and junior champions to the tune of $1,500 for each. “These kids will put this money to good use,” said Skate Canada CEO Dan Thompson.

There will be 20 hours of television coverage of the event on CTV/TSN. A Japanese network is picking up the feed. Thompson said that 12 million Japanese viewers watched the Skate Canada International gala from Kelowna, B.C. last November.

Duhamel/Radford, Weaver/Poje end Canadian droughts with gold at ISU Grand Prix Final

BARCELONA – Canada enjoyed its biggest success at an ISU Grand Prix Final figure skating competition in 13 years on Saturday.

Meaghan Duhamel of Lively, Ont., and Eric Radford of Balmertown, Ont., broke their Canadian record to win the gold medal in pairs and Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., also set a personal best for the victory in ice dancing.

It was Canada’s first gold in the Grand Prix Final since Patrick Chan won the men’s competition in 2011 and the first victory in pairs and ice dance since 2001.  At that Grand Prix Final in Kitchener, Ont., Jamie Sale and David Pelletier took the pairs crown and Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz won the ice dance.

Duhamel and Radford produced 220.72 points which bettered their previous best of 213.62 set at the Canadian championships in January 2014.  It also ranks fourth all-time on the ISU scoring list. Olympic silver medallists Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov of Russia, the top-seeded pair going into the competition, took the silver at 213.72 and Wenjing Sui and Cong Han of China were third at 194.31.

The highlight of Duhamel and Radford’s free skate on Saturday –performed to music by Muse- was landing the throw quadruple Salchow.  That came just after Duhamel touchdown on both hands the side-by-side triple Lutz.

‘’We were so confident in our quad Salchow that it didn’t matter that I touched on the Lutz,’’ said Duhamel.  ‘’It’s (the quad) has been so consistent for us in practice that we were going for it no matter what.’’

Radford was certainly pleased the green light was on.

‘’We’ve been waiting to have a skate like this all season,’’ said Radford, who mentioned he was in the audience when Sale and Pelletier won their gold in 2001.  ‘’This was the first time that we actually hit the quad like we do in practice.  It is so exciting.’’

After placing first in the short program Thursday, Duhamel and Radford were the last skaters to compete in the six-team event.

‘’We knew the Russian would skate a clean program, they have been so consistent all year,’’ said Duhamel.  ‘’But it always seem to be our fate to go on after a great performances.  We’ve surpassed all our goals for the first half of the season and we want to step it up more for the second half.’’

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In ice dancing, Weaver and Poje bettered their score from last season’s silver medal performance at the world championships with 181.14 points.  Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the U.S. were second at 167.09 and Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France third at 162.39.

‘’It’s definitely our strongest performance yet and it’s great to see the program is still growing,’’ said Poje.  ‘’We really brought across the emotion and we were so connected on the ice that the story really came through.’’

The Canadians skated to excerpts from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

‘’It’s hard to pick out a moment that really stands out for us from what we did on the ice because we were so focused,’’ said Weaver.  ‘’My best memory was probably our lift because it got such a reaction from the crowd.’’

The audience did not agree with the judges’ scores for Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto who took fifth spot.

‘’We had a small bobble on one of the lifts and it probably wasn’t our best skate overall,’’ said Poirier.  ‘’At the same time we didn’t have any big errors and we achieved our goal of producing two strong programs this week.’’

Canada also had a successful showing in the junior competition this week capped by a gold medal for Charlie Bilodeau of Trois-Pistoles, Que., and Julianne Séguin of Longueuil, Que., in pairs on Friday.

NOTE: Skate Canada Communications Director, Barb MacDonald, will be the media contact at the event. To arrange onsite interviews please contact her by email at [email protected]

Full results: http://www.isuresults.com/results/gpf1415/

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