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Canadian skaters begin 2016 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating at Skate America

OTTAWA, ON: Skate Canada will send three entries, for a total of four skaters to Skate America, the first event on this season’s ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating. Canada will have one entry per category in men’s, ladies, and pair. The competition, which is the first of six ISU Grand Prix stops, will take place from October 21-23, 2016, at the Sears Centre Arena in Chicago, IL, USA.

Nam Nguyen, 18, Toronto, Ont., is the Canadian entry in men’s. He previously won bronze at this event in 2014. Last season, Nguyen placed fifth at Skate Canada International, seventh at the Rostelecom Cup, 27th at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships and fourth at the 2016 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships. This season, he placed fifth at the 2016 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic. He is coached by David Glynn in San Jose, CA, USA.

Gabrielle Daleman, 18, Newmarket, Ont., will be the Canadian entry in ladies and will be competing at this event for the first time. Last season, she placed fifth at Skate Canada International, sixth at Trophée Éric Bompard, ninth at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships and won silver at the 2016 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships. Daleman won bronze at her first competition this season, the Nebelhorn Trophy. She is coached by Lee Barkell and Brian Orser in Toronto, Ont.

Julianne Séguin, 19, Longueuil, Que., and Charlie Bilodeau, 23, Trois-Pistoles, Que., will be the Canadian pair entry at the event. Last year, they won the bronze medal at this event. Séguin and Bilodeau also won bronze at Trophée Éric Bompard, placed fourth at the ISU Grand Prix Final and won the silver medal at the 2016 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships last season. This season, they won gold at their first event, the 2016 Autumn Classic International. Séguin and Bilodeau are coached by Josée Picard in Chambly, Que.

Mike Slipchuk, Skate Canada High Performance Director, will be the Canadian team leader and physiotherapist Scott Fraser of Kingston, Ont., will be the Canadian medical staff onsite. André-Marc Allain of Gatineau, Que., and Cynthia Benson of Quispamsis, N.B., will be the Canadian officials at the event.

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

CANADIAN ENTRIES AT 2016 SKATE AMERICA

Discipline Name Age Hometown Club Coach
Mens Nam Nguyen 18 Toronto, Ont. Toronto Cricket Skating & Curling Club David Glynn
Ladies Gabrielle Daleman 18 Newmarket, Ont. Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club Lee Barkell / Brian Orser
Pair Julianne Séguin / Charlie Bilodeau 19/23 Longueuil, Que. / Trois-Pistoles, Que. CPA Longueuil / CPA Chambly Josée Picard

Golden comeback for Virtue and Moir; Séguin and Bilodeau win pairs

PIERREFONDS, Que. – Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir completed a triumphant return to competition on Saturday winning the gold medal in ice dancing at the 2016 Autumn Classic International.

It was also a golden return for Julianne Séguin of Longueuil, Que., and Charlie Bilodeau of Trois-Pistoles, Que., in pairs. Alaine Chartrand of Prescott, Ont., added a silver in women’s competition.

In their first competition since a silver medal performance at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Virtue and Moir totalled 189.20 points, just under two points from their personal best. Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker of the U.S. were second at 160.50 and Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sorensen of Denmark third at 152.00.

‘’We are so pleased with how we skated,’’ said Moir, from Ilderton, Ont. ‘’I had to work a lot harder than I have in the past three weeks for this program just to get through it. That was just nerves and pressure that comes with this quote-unquote comeback.’’

‘’What’s so exciting about our material this season is that it has so much room to grow,’’ added Virtue, from London, Ont. ‘’We’ve been really focused on the technical side. Now it’s a great opportunity in the next little while to get back to the emotional connection.’’

Carolane Soucisse of Chateauguay, Que., and Shane Firus of Barrie, Ont., were seventh and Haley Sales of Burnaby, B.C., and Nikolas Wamsteeker of Langley, B.C., ninth.

In pairs, Séguin and Bilodeau took the title with 208.30. Vanessa James and Morgan Ciprès of France followed at 198.90, Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran of the U.S. were third at 173.62 and Camille Ruest of Rimouski, Que., and Drew Wolfe of Montreal, Que., were fourth at 159.28.

‘’For our first competition since nationals (January 2016) it was a success,’’ said Séguin. ‘’We really wanted to have a strong start to the season.’’

In their first season at the senior level last winter, they won two Grand Prix medals. However just prior to the world championships, Séguin was injured in training and the pair didn’t go to Boston.

‘’There’s always a certain worry when you comeback from an injury,’’ said Bilodeau. ‘’We felt today we picked up where we left off and will continue to progress. This is preparatory competition for us but it gives us a big boost in confidence.’’

Chartrand made a spectacular comeback to nearly snare the gold in women’s competition. She jumped from sixth after the short program producing the best score in the free skate to rocket up the standings.

Mirai Nagasu of the U.S. won the gold medal with 189.11 points, Chartrand earned 186.11 and Elizabet Tursynbaeva of Kazakhstan took the bronze with 172.46.

‘’To have a long program like this at my first international this season is a really good starting place,’’’ said Chartrand. ‘’It’ll only get better. I felt in both programs I really attacked everything and I kept that fighting attitude all the way through.’’

Michelle Long of Newmarket, Ont., was 11th and Larkyn Austman of Coquitlam, B.C., 12th.

In men’s competition, Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan won the gold medal decisively with 260.57 points.

Keegan Messing of Sherwood Park, Alta., was fourth and Bennet Toman of Brampton, Ont., fifth.

Full results: 2016 Autumn Classic International.

Great start for Séguin and Bilodeau; Canadian juniors with two gold at 2016 Autumn Classic International

PIERREFONDS, Que. – Canadian pairs Julianne Séguin of Longueuil, Que., and Charlie Bilodeau of Trois-Pistoles, Que., showed fine form in their season debut on Friday to stand first after the short program at the 2016 Autumn Classic International figure skating competition.

Séguin and Bilodeau, who produced an impressive first-season at the senior level last winter only to miss the world championships due to injury, earned 71.40 points. Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran of the U.S. are second at 67.50 and Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres of France third at 65.58.

“It was pretty amazing, the crowd was with us before we even skated. We’re glad to be back in full force with an excellent performance,’’ said Séguin who suffered a bone bruise in a fall last winter at nationals and says she is now pain-free. “We delivered a program like we are used to, so we can finally put the injuries behind us and look forward!”

After winning the silver at the world juniors two seasons ago, they won two medals on ISU Grand Prix circuit in 2015-16 and were fourth at the Grand Prix Final.

Camille Ruest of Rimouski, Que., and Andrew Wolfe of Balmertown, Ont., are fourth at 64.40.

In the men’s short program, Keegan Messing of Sherwood Park, Alta., is third with Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan in the lead. Bennet Toman of Brampton, Ont., is fourth.

In the women’s short program, Mirai Nagasu of the U.S. stands first followed by Elizabet Tursynbaeva of Kazakhstan and Na Hyun Kim of South Korea.

Alaine Chartrand of Prescott, Ont., is sixth, Michelle Long of Newmarket, Ont., 10th and Larkyn Austman of Coquitlam, B.C. 13th.

Virtue and Moir dazzle

In Thursday’s short dance, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir made a spectacular return to competition producing 77.72 points. Laurence Fournier-Beaudry and Nikolaj Sorensen of Denmark are second at 63.26 and Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker of the U.S. third at 62.70.

‘’What’s surprised me is how much we still enjoy it and we’re hoping we can keep that way all the way through to Korea [the 2018 Olympics],’’ said Moir from Ilderton, Ont. ‘’We want to enjoy every second, even the high pressure situations like this.”

Virtue and Scott, the 2010 Olympic champions and two-time world champs, were competing for the first time since earning silver at the 2014 Sochi Games.

“We’re thrilled to share our material and be back in the swing of things,” said Virtue, 27 of London, Ont. “Emotionally, mentally and physically our approach was right.

Carolane Soucisse of Chateauguay, Que., and Shane Firus of Barrie, Ont., are seventh while Haley Sales of Burnaby, B.C. and Nikolas Wamsteeker of Langley, B.C., are ninth.

Canada wins two gold in junior competition

In junior competition, Edrian Paul Celestino of Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que., won the gold medal in men’s competition while Iliya Kovler of Richmond Hill, Ont., was third.

‘’I was really exhausted after the free program but relieved as well,’’ said Celestino. ‘’This was my last junior international competition and I’m excited about the next step forward.’’

In women’s junior competition, Aurora Cotop of Toronto was the winner and Olivia Gran of Kelowna, B.C. second.

‘’I knew the other scores going into my free skate and I just did what I had to do,’’ said Cotop, 14. ‘’There’s still a lot to work on in my program but I felt I connected well with the music and the overall performance was strong.’’

Competition ends Saturday.

Full results: 2016 Autumn Classic International.

Canadian skaters headed to Montreal for Skate Canada Autumn Classic International

OTTAWA, ON: Skate Canada will send 18 entries, for a total of 23 skaters to the third annual Skate Canada Autumn Classic International (#ACI16). Canada will have 10 entries at the senior level ISU Challenger Series event including two entries per discipline in men’s and pair and three entries per discipline in ladies and ice dance. The junior category of the event will feature eight Canadian entries including two in men’s and six in ladies. The event runs from September 28-October 1, 2016, at the Sportplexe Pierrefonds in Montreal, Que.

Keegan Messing, 24, Girdwood, Alaska, USA, is one of two Canadian entries in men’s. Last season, Messing placed fifth at the Ondrej Nepela Trophy, 11th at Skate Canada International and sixth at the 2016 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships. The representative of Sherwood Park FSC is coached by Ralph Burghart in Anchorage, Alaska, USA.

Bennet Toman, 19, Brampton, Ont., is the second Canadian entry in men’s. Last season, he placed sixth at this event. Toman also placed eighth at the 2016 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships and fourth at the 2016 Coupe de Printemps. He is coached by Robert O’Toole in Mississauga, Ont.

Canadian Champion Alaine Chartrand, 20, Prescott, Ont., is the first of three Canadian entries in the ladies category. Last year, Chartrand placed 12th at Skate America, sixth at the Rostelecom Cup, 11th at the ISU Four Continents Championships, and 17th at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships. The representative of the Nepean Skating Club is coached by Michelle Leigh and Brian Orser.

Michelle Long, 24, Newmarket, Ont., is the second Canadian entry in the ladies discipline. This will be her first international assignment. Last season, she placed fifth at the 2016 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships. Long is coached by Robert Burk and Danielle Rose in Richmond Hill, Ont.

Larkyn Austman, 18, Coquitlam, B.C., will also represent Canada in the ladies discipline. Last season, she finished sixth at the 2016 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships. She is coached by Zdenek Pazdirek in Coquitlam, B.C.

Canadian silver medallists in 2016, Julianne Séguin, 19, Longueuil, Que., and Charlie Bilodeau, 23, Trois-Pistoles, Que., are the first of two Canadian pair entries at the event. Last season, they placed fifth at the Nebelhorn Trophy, and won bronze at Skate America and Trophée Éric Bompard. Séguin and Bilodeau are coached by Josée Picard in Chambly, Que.

Camille Ruest, 22, Rimouski, Que., and Andrew Wolfe, 21, Calgary, Alta., will also represent Canada in pair. This will be their first international assignment together. Ruest and Wolfe are coached by Richard Gauthier and Bruno Marcotte in Montreal, Que.

Olympic and World champions Tessa Virtue, 27, London, Ont., and Scott Moir, 29, Ilderton, Ont., lead the Canadian entries in ice dance. Virtue and Moir return to competition after taking two seasons off following the 2014 Olympic Winter Games where they earned silver medals in ice dance and in the team event. Virtue and Moir are coached by Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon in Montreal, Que.

Carolane Soucisse, 21, Châteauguay, Que., and Shane Firus, 22, Barrie, Ont., will also represent Canada in ice dance. This will be their first international assignment together. Soucisse and Firus are coached by Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon in Montreal, Que.

Haley Sales, 19, Burnaby, B.C., and Nikolas Wamsteeker, 19, Langley, B.C., are the third Canadian ice dance entry at the event. Last season, they placed fourth in the junior category at the 2016 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships. Sales and Wamsteeker are coached by Megan Wing and Aaron Lowe in Burnaby, B.C.

Junior Entries

Canadian junior silver medallist Edrian Paul Celestino, 18, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que., is one of two Canadian representatives in the junior men’s category. Last season, he placed fourth at this event in the junior category. This season, he placed ninth at the ISU Junior Grand Prix in Russia. He is coached by Daniel Beland in Montreal, Que.

Iliya Kovler, 13, Richmond Hill, Ont., is the second Canadian entry in the junior men’s category. This will be his first international assignment. Kovler placed fourth in the novice category at the 2016 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships. He is coached by Andrei Berezintsev in Richmond Hill, Ont.

Canadian junior silver medallist in 2016, Alicia Pineault, 16, Varennes, Que., is one of six Canadian entries in the junior ladies category. Last year, she won the silver medal at this event. This season, she placed 10th at the ISU Junior Grand Prix in the Czech Republic. Pineault is coached by Stéphane Yvars in Boucherville, Que.

Amanda Tobin, 16, Burlington, Ont., will also represent Canada in junior ladies. This will be her first international assignment. Tobin placed fifth at the 2016 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in the junior category. She is coached by Leesa Velenosi, Raoul LeBlanc, and Kristy Bell in Burlington, Ont.

McKenna Colthorp, 15, Fort St. James, B.C., will represent Canada in the junior ladies category. Last year, she won the bronze medal at this event and placed seventh in the junior category at the 2016 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships. She is coached by Karen Mongrain and Jason Mongrain in Kelowna, B.C.

Canadian novice champion in 2016, Aurora Cotop, 14, Toronto, Ont., will represent Canada in junior ladies. This will be her first international assignment. Cotop is coached by Jonathan Mills and Myke Gillman in Thornhill, Ont.

Canadian novice silver medallist Olivia Gran, 13, Kelowna, B.C., will represent Canada in junior ladies. Earlier this season she placed ninth at her ISU Junior Grand Prix assignment in France. Gran is coached by Karen and Jason Mongrain in Kelowna, B.C.

Also representing Canada in junior ladies is Lissa Anne McGaghey, 16, Campbellton, N.B. This will be her first international assignment. Last season, she placed 11th in the novice women’s category at the 2016 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships. McGaghey is coached by Stéphane Yvars in Boucherville, Que.

Scott Rachuk of Strathroy, Ont., and Terra Findlay of Echo Bay, Ont., will be the Canadian team leaders onsite. Dr. Ed Pilat of Winnipeg, Man., and physiotherapist Josiane Roberge of Sillery, Que., will be the Canadian medical staff onsite. Karen Howard of Regina, Sask., Jérôme Poulin of Montreal, Que., Véronique Gosselin of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., and Nicole Leblanc-Richard of Dieppe, N.B., will be the Canadian officials at the event.

For more information and full entries please visit the Skate Canada website.

CANADIAN SENIOR ENTRIES AT 2016 SKATE CANADA AUTUMN CLASSIC INTERNATIONAL

Discipline Name Age Hometown Club Coach
Mens Keegan Messing 24 Girdwood, Alaska, USA Sherwood Park FSC Ralph Burghart
Mens Bennet Toman 19 Brampton, Ont. CPAR Vaudreuil Robert O’Toole
Ladies Alaine Chartrand 20 Prescott, Ont. Nepean Skating Club Michelle Leigh / Brian Orser
Ladies Michelle Long 24 Newmarket, Ont. Richmond Hill FSC Robert Burk / Danielle Rose
Ladies Larkyn Austman 18 Coquitlam, B.C. Connaught SC Zdenek Pazdirek
Pair Julianne Séguin / Charlie Bilodeau 19/23 Longueuil, Que. / Trois-Pistoles, Que. CPA Longueuil / CPA Chambly Josée Picard
Pair Camille Ruest / Andrew Wolfe 22/21 Rimouski, Que. / Balmertown, Ont. CPA De Rimouski / Glencoe Club Richard Gauthier / Bruno Marcotte
Ice Dance Tessa Virtue / Scott Moir 27/29 London, Ont. / Ilderton, Ont. Ilderton SC / Ilderton SC Marie-France Dubreuil / Patrice Lauzon
Ice Dance Carolane Soucisse / Shane Firus 21/22 Châteauguay, Que. / Barrie, Ont. CPA Repentigny / CPA Ahuntsic Marie-France Dubreuil / Patrice Lauzon
Ice Dance Haley Sales / Nikolas Wamsteeker 18/18 Burnaby, B.C. / Langley, B.C. Kelowna SC / Champs International Skating Centre Megan Wing / Aaron Lowe

CANADIAN JUNIOR ENTRIES AT 2016 SKATE CANADA AUTUMN CLASSIC INTERNATIONAL

Discipline Name Age Hometown Club Coach
Mens Edrian Paul Celestino 18 Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que. Saint Laurent FSC Daniel Beland
Mens Iliya Kovler 13 Richmond Hill, Ont. Richmond Hill FSC Andrei Berezintsev
Ladies Alicia Pineault 16 Varennes, Que. CPA Varennes Stéphane Yvars
Ladies Amanda Tobin 16 Burlington, Ont. Burlington SC Leesa Velenosi / Raoul LeBlanc / Kristy Bell
Ladies McKenna Colthorp 15 Fort St. James, B.C. Kelowna FSC Karen Mongrain / Jason Mongrain
Ladies Aurora Cotop 14 Toronto, Ont. Thornhill FSC Jonathan Mills / Myke Gillman
Ladies Olivia Gran 13 Kelowna, B.C. Kelowna FSC Karen Mongrain / Jason Mongrain
Ladies Lissa Anne McGaghey 16 Campbellton, N.B. Campbellton FSC Stéphane Yvars

Skate Canada Announces 2016-2017 National Team

OTTAWA, ON: Skate Canada is pleased to announce the 2016-2017 National Team. The team is comprised of 28 senior members, which includes five men, five women, four pair teams and five ice dance teams.

To be named to the National Team a skater must finish in the top five in senior singles, pair and ice dance disciplines at the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships, or be added at the discretion of the Skate Canada. These skaters may be considered to represent Canada at international competitions.

Their appointment to the national team is effective from June 1, 2016 through to April 30, 2017. Skate Canada also announced the three teams that will make up the Skate Canada Synchronized Skating National Team.

MEN
Patrick Chan, 25, Toronto, Ont.
Liam Firus, 23, North Vancouver, B.C.
Kevin Reynolds, 25, Coquitlam, B.C.
Nam Nguyen, 18, Toronto, Ont.
Nicolas Nadeau, 18, Boisbriand, Que.

WOMEN
Alaine Chartrand, 20, Prescott, Ont.
Gabrielle Daleman, 18, Newmarket, Ont.
Kaetlyn Osmond, 20, Marystown, Nfld. & Sherwood Park, Alta.
Véronik Mallet, 22, Sept-Iles, Que.
Michelle Long, 24, Newmarket, Ont.

PAIR
Meagan Duhamel, 30, Lively, Ont. & Eric Radford, 31, Balmertown, Ont.
Julianne Séguin, 19, Longueuil, Que. & Charlie Bilodeau, 22, Trois-Pistoles, Que.
Lubov Ilyushechkina, 24, Moscow, Russia & Dylan Moscovitch, 31, Toronto, Ont.
Kirsten Moore-Towers, 24, St. Catharines, Ont. & Michael Marinaro, 24, Sarnia, Ont.

ICE DANCE
Kaitlyn Weaver, 27, Waterloo, Ont. & Andrew Poje, 29, Waterloo, Ont.
Piper Gilles, 24, Toronto, Ont. & Paul Poirier, 24, Unionville, Ont.
Élisabeth Paradis, 23, Loretteville, Que. & François-Xavier Ouellette, 23, Laval, Que.
Alexandra Paul, 24, Midhurst, Ont. & Mitchell Islam, 26, Barrie, Ont.
Tessa Virtue, 27, London, Ont. & Scott Moir, 28, Ilderton, Ont.

SYNCHRONIZED SKATING
Les Suprêmes, of CPA Saint-Léonard
NEXXICE, of the Burlington Skating Centre
Meraki, of the Leaside Skating Club

Gabrielle Daleman, Julianne Séguin and Charlie Bilodeau withdraw from 2016 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships

OTTAWA, ON: Canadian figure skaters Gabrielle Daleman, Julianne Séguin and Charlie Bilodeau have withdrawn from the 2016 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Chinese Taipei. The athletes had been scheduled to compete at the event which takes place from February 16-21, 2016, at the Taipei Arena in Taipei City.

In the ladies division, Gabrielle Daleman, 18, Newmarket, Ont., sustained a minor injury in training and will be replaced by Véronik Mallet, 21, Sept-Îles, Que.

In the pair discipline, Julianne Séguin, 19, Longueuil, Que., also sustained a minor injury in training, leading to the withdrawal of her and partner Charlie Bilodeau, 22, Trois-Pistoles, Que. They will be replaced by Vanessa Grenier, 23, Johnville, Que., and Maxime Deschamps, 24, Vaudreuil-Dorion, Que.

“These decisions have been made for precautionary reasons as we progress towards the world championships,” said Mike Slipchuk, Skate Canada’s Director, High Performance. “We are focused on allowing our athletes to return to competition in prime condition.”

Daleman, Séguin and Bilodeau are all scheduled to return to competition at the 2016 ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Boston, MA, USA.

Meet the Senior Pairs

MEAGAN DUHAMEL / ERIC RADFORD

Year in and year out, Duhamel and Radford continue to raise the bar for themselves and their sport. Showcasing signature elements, including stunning death spirals and a groundbreaking throw quad Salchow a year ago, the reigning world pair champions will go in search of their fifth consecutive Canadian title in Halifax. Radford loves music almost as much as he loves skating. He composed Tribute in 2006 after Paul Wirtz, his coach at the time, passed away from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Tribute continues to help in the fight against cancer and is available at www.cancer.ca/EricRadford, with fifty per cent of all net sales going to cancer research at the Canadian Cancer Society.
The pair also used Tribute in their short program in 2013-14.

FUN FACT: The last time Halifax played hosted to the Canadian championships, Meagan Duhamel placed sixth – in women’s singles. Months later, Meagan shifted to pair skating, and has never looked back. Meagan also claimed the 2004 Canadian junior women’s championship.

LUBOV ILYUSHECHKINA/DYLAN MOSCOVITCH

Lubov and Dylan teamed up in 2014 and their first appearance at the 2015 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships was certainly a rewarding one, as they took home silver. The combination of Lubov’s incredible flexibility and Dylan’s powerful strength means fans can often see unique lifts and creative tricks during their programs. In the future, Dylan says he would like to study business at the University of Toronto, while Lubov has an interest in economics and law.

FUN FACT: In her own words, Lubov is “obsessed with cheese.” Dylan is an accomplished martial artist, and a certified Krav Maga instructor.

JULIANNE SÉGUIN/CHARLIE BILODEAU

Anyone who remembers Charlie’s moustache from their The Grand Budapest Hotel soundtrack short program last year probably figures the ‘stache was fake. Not so – he grew it for every short program, maintaining he wanted to “stay in character”, before shaving it off for the free program. The pair turned a lot of heads last year, winning two Junior Grand Prix events, the Junior Grand Prix Final, placing second at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships and, for good measure, taking bronze at the senior level at the 2015 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships.

FUN FACT: Charlie claims to be able to put a balloon up his nose and pull it out his mouth; Julianne is often offered a kid’s menu at restaurants.

KIRSTEN MOORE-TOWERS / MICHAEL MARINARO

Remember that photo of 4’11” Kirsten and 6’9” Boston Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara that went viral during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games?

Well, a lot has changed since then. Kirsten and longtime partner Dylan Moscovitch parted ways after those Games, and KMT teamed up with Michael Marinaro. The duo earned their way onto the national team for the 2015-16 campaign, and earned their first Grand Prix medal together when they took home bronze at Skate Canada International in October.

FUN FACT: Michael is often told he looks like Craig Buntin; Kirsten can recite the alphabet – in sign language.

VANESSA GRENIER / MAXIME DESCHAMPS

Keep an eye on the 2014 Canadian junior pair champions: they train alongside reigning world pair champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford in suburban Montreal, under the watchful eye of coaches Richard Gauthier and Bruno Marcotte. A team on the rise, Grenier and Deschamps were seventh at 2015 Skate Canada International and followed that up with an 8th place showing at the Cup of China.

FUN FACT: Maxime was featured in a commercial for a drugstore, performing a triple jump. Vanessa won a contest and made three montage videos to demonstrate an athlete’s lifestyle.

Silver medal for Duhamel and Radford at ISU Grand Prix Final

BARCELONA – One of the most impressive winning streaks in international figure skating is now history.

World champions Meagan Duhamel of Lively, Ont., and Eric Radford of Balmertown, Ont., won the silver medal in pairs in on Friday at the ISU Grand Prix Final.  They had strung together nine straight international victories going back to the fall of 2014.

Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov of Russia took the title with a flawless free skate earning 229.44 points. Duhamel and Radford, climbed from third after the short to the silver with a season’s best 216.67. Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov of Russia were third at 206.59.

“We were really proud, we came back fighting after struggling in the short program,” said Duhamel. “It wasn’t perfect today but it was a step in the right direction. We plan to come back strong in the second half of the season.’’

First year seniors Julianne Séguin of Longueuil, Que., and Charlie Bilodeau of Trois-Pistoles, Que., were fourth with a personal best 200.98 and showed they will be a force to reckon with in the future.

“We are happy with what we did even though we made a couple of mistakes,” said Séguin. “One of our goals was to break the 200-point barrier. It really means a lot and shows we’ve reached another level.”

In ice dancing after the short dance, defending champions Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., are in first place with 72.75 points. Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the U.S. are second at 71.64 and Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte of Italy third at 70.14.

“We are so happy with our short dance today,” said Weaver. “We felt great this whole week and today we skated our short dance with grace and felt the energy of the Spanish fans.”

Canada has one entry in the Grand Prix Junior Final which is also being held here this week. Roman Sadovsky of Vaughan, Ont., finished sixth in men’s competition.

“I definitely wanted to put out a better program,” said Sadovsky. “I sort of rushed my combinations and didn’t trust my technique today.”

Competition ends Saturday with the men’s free skate, the free dance and, for the first time, a synchronized skating final.

Full results: ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final

Canadian pairs in heated battle for medals at ISU Grand Prix Final

BARCELONA – World champions champions Meagan Duhamel of Lively, Ont., and Eric Radford of Balmertown, Ont., are in the midst of a heated battle for medals following Thursday’s pairs short program at the ISU Grand Prix Final figure skating competition.

Duhamel and Radford are sitting third at 72.74 just ahead of first year seniors Julianne Séguin of Longueuil, Que., and Charlie Bilodeau of Trois-Pistoles, Que., in fourth at 71.16. Russians are 1-2 with Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov first at 74.84 and Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov second at 73.64.

Duhamel and Radford, the defending Grand Prix Final champions, had a fall on a throw near the end of the program.

‘’It was the best short program we’ve done this season,’’ said Duhamel. ‘’But we know we are capable of more. Falling on a throw triple is uncharacteristic of us. We possibly got carried away with the moment with everything else being so good.’’

Radford says they don’t feel pressure with their impressive streak of six straight Grand Prix wins on the line.

‘’We approach every event the same,” he said. “When the music starts we bring ourselves back to the same place. That’s what we’ll do tomorrow (Friday) we know we are capable of skating a great long program.”

Séguin and Bilodeau also posted a season’s best score.

‘’We felt really great out there,’’ Séguin said. ‘’We are taking it as an experience and this gives us some confidence for the free skate.’’

In men’s competition it wasn’t a great day for three-time world champion Patrick Chan of Toronto who is sixth after the short program with 70.61 which is more than 20 points off his personal best.

‘’I messed up,’’ said Chan. ‘’I tried to add the combo on the Lutz because you never want to give up. I tried to feel the program, feel the jumps but it wasn’t successful. I just have to put that behind me and have a fresh start.’’

Canada has one entry for the Junior Grand Prix Final also taking place here. Roman Sadovsky of Vaughan, Ont., is in sixth spot in men’s competition after the short program.

“I think my mind was just racing today,” said Sadovsky, 16, a gold and bronze medallist on the circuit this fall. “I’ve had a good season up till now and I wanted to put together my best skate but it didn’t happen. I felt the extra pressure and it didn’t work.”

Competition continues Friday.

Full results: http://www.isuresults.com/results/season1516/gpf1516/