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Athlete Spotlight: Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje

Kaitlyn Weaver

Q. What’s your go to song to get pumped up for training or a competition?
Kaitlyn: My go-to song to get pumped up for a competition really depends on my mood. Ones that never fail include “Moment 4 Life” by Nicki Minaj and “Shoop” by Salt n Pepa.

Q. Who is someone in the sports world, past or present, you’d love to have dinner with and why?
Kaitlyn: I would love to have dinner with Billie Jean King. I am so inspired by her bravery, and would be extremely humbled to celebrate with her!

Q. What is the best advice that you were given?
Kaitlyn: Since I was a little girl, my mom always told me to do my best, hold fast to what I believe in, and not worry what people think, because in the end it will all pay off. She was right!

Q. What’s your favourite social media account to follow?
Kaitlyn: My favourite social media account to follow is @elephantjournal. I love art, writing, and inspiration, and this account is very bountiful .

Q. Who or what is your biggest motivation?
Kaitlyn: My past and my future are my biggest motivations. My past, because I can look back and always know what I can do better should I get another opportunity. I always want to be better than the day/event before. My future, because I have a vision for where I want to go (in skating, and in life) and I am inspired to make it happen!

Andrew Poje

Q. What’s your go to song to get pumped up for training or a competition?
Andrew: I love listening to Black Betty by Ram Jam as part of my warmup routine.

Q. Who is someone in the sports world, past or present, you’d love to have dinner with and why?
Andrew: I would love to have a dinner with Muhammad Ali. I would love to learn his stories from his journey as an athlete, symbol and icon. To try to understand from his perspective of what it takes to succeed and what he defines as his success.

Q. What is the best advice that you were given?
Andrew: I learned part way thorough my career that it is important to try to make only little accomplishments every day. Those little successes will build into something that will be undeniable in the end.

Q. What’s your favourite social media account to follow?
Andrew: I don’t follow a lot on social media, but I do enjoy when @therock posts. Seems to always have funny or positivity in everything.

Q. Who or what is your biggest motivation?
Andrew: My biggest motivation is my family. They are the reason I have made it as far as I have. They support me in my endeavours and pursuits of joy.

Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje to sit out ISU Grand Prix events

OTTAWA, ON: World bronze medallists Kaitlyn Weaver, 29, Toronto, Ont., and Andrew Poje, 31, Waterloo, Ont., will sit out the ISU Grand Prix circuit this season.

“Over the last 12 consecutive years, we have committed ourselves 100 percent to becoming champions in ice dance, representing our country on the international stage, and enjoying this incredible journey — challenges and accomplishments alike — together every step of the way.  This past season provided us with the most incredible memories, including finishing on the podium at the world championships in Milan. Fulfilling this accomplishment gave us time and the opportunity to reflect on how we would like to continue our skating career. Through a very patient, analytical, and thoughtful process, we have decided to forego the 2018 Grand Prix season. We plan to return to competition at the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in January. We thank you for your understanding and allowing us to tailor our career to our best interests,” said Weaver and Poje.

Weaver and Poje are three-time world medallists, winning their most recent world medal at the 2018 world championships in Italy earlier this year. The two-time Canadian champions are coached by Nikolai Morozov and train in Hackensack, NJ, USA.

Weaver and Poje snare the bronze at world championships

MILAN, Italy – Kaitlyn Weaver and Andre Poje of Waterloo, Ont., won the bronze medal on Saturday in ice dancing to conclude the ISU World Figure Skating Championships.

Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron took the gold with 207.20 points, Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of the U.S. were second at 196.64 and Weaver and Poje collected their third career world championship medal with a personal best 192.35.

‘’I don’t have words for this moment right now,’’ said Weaver. “The program went by so fast and before we knew it we were standing on the podium.’’

The couple were performing their popular Je Suis Malade program.

“We will remember this moment,’’ said Poje. ‘’We really wanted to have that last one go and have a smile on our face at the end of it.’’

Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto were sixth and Carolane Soucisse of Chateauguay, Que., and Shane Firus of North Vancouver 14th.

‘’To finish on a high note is so rewarding,’’ said Gilles. ‘’This was a roller coaster season for us but we’ve really been pushing ourselves to improve.’’

Soucisse and Firus were hoping to fare better.

‘’Our performances were not as solid as we wanted them to be,’’ said Soucisse. ‘’But overall we gave a good impression at our first worlds.’’

In men’s competition, Nathan Chen of the U.S. took the gold medal with Shoma Uno of Japan second and Mikhail Kolyada of Russia third.

Keegan Messing of Sherwood Park, Alta., was eighth in his worlds debut a four spot improvement on his Olympic performance last month.

‘’To go out there and miss a couple of elements I’ve been nailing all week is a little hurtful,’’ said Messing. ‘’Still I tried to keep my head up and give a good performance. I hope the crowd still loved it.’’

Canada ends the competition with two medals. On Friday Kaetlyn Osmond won an historic gold in the women’s event.

Full results: ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2018

Virtue, Moir golden once again in unforgettable Olympic swan song

Three Canadian teams finish inside top eight

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – For four minutes Monday night, back home in Canada, a nation was holding its breath.

And then, just like that, it was over. But not before Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir likely bid farewell to competitive skating in an emotional swan song that seemed to have its script ripped from the pages of a storybook.

Twenty-four hours after a stirring world record short dance – and just minutes after rivals and training partners Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France broke their own free dance world record – Canada’s ice dance sweethearts laid down one of the defining performances of their illustrious career to claim gold in PyeongChang.

Heading into the free dance leading Papadakis and Cizeron by 1.74 points, Virtue and Moir performed a mesmerizing program, scoring 122.40 for a world record combined score of 206.07. Papadakis and Cizeron took silver with 205.28, while siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani of the U.S. earned bronze with 192.59.

All three Canadian teams finished in the top eight. Two-time world medallists Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje were seventh, one spot in front of reigning Canadian silver medallists Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier.

The gold brings Virtue and Moir’s Olympic medal haul to five – three gold and two silver – making them the most decorated Olympic figure skaters ever.

“That was a fantastic performance, we gave it all we had out there,” said Moir. “We skated with our hearts.   We knew we were happy with our performance. We didn’t know if we won, that’s for sure.”

Taking to the ice as the final competitors of the day, Virtue and Moir admitted they had no idea of the world record number the French team, skating two teams in front of them, had put up.

“It wouldn’t have mattered,” admitted Virtue. “We needed to have our moment with the program we love so much.”

Following Olympic gold in 2010 and silver four years later in Sochi, Virtue and Moir – who have skated together, at every level, for two decades – took two years off before deciding to make one more run at the Olympics.  They returned in the fall of 2016, taking off on an undefeated season that ended with their third world title a year ago.  The only event they did not win over the past two seasons was a second-place finish to Papadakis and Cizeron at the Grand Prix Final in December.

After helping Canada win gold in the team event a week ago, Virtue and Moir stepped on competitive ice for what was likely the final time.

“It was an overwhelming feeling,” admitted Virtue of the emotion of the moment.  “That moment has replayed in my mind over and over again. You just never know what will go through your head. I couldn’t help but think about the 20 years we’ve spent working for this moment, and the incredible team of people behind us.”

The other Canadian teams were also pleased with their Olympic results.

“We created a moment for ourselves,” said Gilles. “I think both of us were really nervous going into the free knowing we did a really nice short dance yesterday. We took our time and embraced this Olympic energy, because it’s infectious.”

“Our goal was to bring our hearts and souls to this event, and we did that,” said Weaver. “We’re leaving here happy and look on to our next challenge.”

As their media scrum ended, Virtue and Moir were asked if they had any idea of the groundswell of support forming for them back home in Canada in recent days.

“In Ilderton, everybody knows my name, for sure,” laughed Moir.

“We really are in this insular little bubble, and it’s a very safe and protected place, so I’m not sure we have the scope of that,” added Virtue, referring to their surroundings at these Games.

“But at the same I really do feel that sense of support, and it lifted us here. Here I felt that unconditional love, and that helped us immensely. We do feel like this is for Canada, and we’re so excited to share this with everyone.”

The women’s event will wrap up figure skating competition in PyeongChang, with the short program slated to get underway Tuesday night at 8:00 pm ET. Gabrielle Daleman, Kaetlyn Osmond and Larkyn Austman will represent Canada in the event.

Photo Credit: David Jackson, COC

PyeongChang 2018 Figure Skating Schedule & Results

Olympic Spotlight : Kaitlyn Weaver / Andrew Poje

Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje head to PyeongChang for their second Olympic appearance after winning bronze at the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships.

The duo started skating together in 2006 and have been consistent medallists on the domestic and international stage. The two-time Canadian champions (2015, 2016) are also two-time world championship medallists, taking silver in 2014 and following up with bronze the next season. They also claimed back-to-back Grand Prix Final gold in 2014 and 2015.

Leading up to the 2013 ISU World Figure Skating Championships in London, Ont., Weaver and Poje had an eye on the podium before Weaver broke her fibula just before the Canadian championships and needed surgery. Despite the setback, Weaver and Poje competed at those 2013 world championships and finished an impressive fifth.

Weaver and Poje win free dance to move Canada into fourth at ISU World Team Trophy

TOKYO – Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., won the free dance on Friday to move Canada from fifth to fourth in the country standings at the ISU World Team Trophy figure skating competition.

Japan gained sole position of top spot with two events remaining with 81 points followed by the U.S., at 78, Russia with 74 and Canada with 67. China is fifth at 59 and France sixth at 46.

In the free dance, Weaver and Poje earned a 113.83 score  with Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the U.S. second at 109.96 and Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev of Russia third at 104.55.

First place in each event is worth 12 points for the country, second 11 points, third 10 and so on. Canada won the silver in the team event at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

In the men’s free skate, Japan was 1-2 with Yuzuru Hanyu earning 200.49 and Shoma Uno 198.49. Patrick Chan of Toronto was third at 190.74 and Kevin Reynolds of Coquitlam, B.C. ninth.

The pairs program was won by Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres of France. Cheng Peng and Yang Jin of China were second and Kirsten Moore-Towers of St. Catharines, Ont., and Michael Marinaro of Sarnia, Ont., third.

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

Full results: ISU World Team Trophy 2017.

Historic silver and bronze for Osmond and Daleman / World record for Virtue and Moir

HELSINKI –Kaetlyn Osmond of Marystown, N.L., and Gabrielle Daleman of Newmarket, Ont., took the silver and bronze medal in women’s competition on Friday at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships.

It is the first time in world championship history two Canadians reach the podium in the women’s event. It is also Canada’s first medal in women’s competition at worlds since Joannie Rochette won silver in 2009.

With those performances Canada is guaranteed three spots in the women’s event at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games and 2018 ISU World Championships.

“To have Kaetlyn on the podium with me and have three spots for the Olympics is just an unbelievable feeling,’’ said the 19-year-old Daleman, competing at her fourth straight worlds. She was ninth last year. ‘’And I’ve wanted to be like Joannie since I was a little girl. I’m just star struck.’’

Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia successfully defended her world crown with a world record 233.41 points. Osmond followed at 218.13 and Daleman was third at 213.52, both personal bests. No other skaters reached the 200-point plateau.

Daleman and Osmond were the last two skaters of the competition. They were also second and third after the short on Wednesday.

‘’That’s the way that I’ve wanted to compete my long program all season long,’’ said Osmond, 21. ‘’I did everything I possibly could at the best of my ability. I trusted myself and trusted my training and it paid off.’’

It was Osmond’s first worlds since 2014. She missed the 2014-15 season due to a broken leg.

‘’After that injury I never thought I would be skating again, let alone get on a worlds podium’’ she said. ‘’I had to relearn everything, there was a lot of doubt last season and finally this year those doubts have washed away.’’

Both Canadians executed seven jump sequences including three combination jumps.

‘’I honestly have no words to describe how I am feeling,’’ said Daleman. ‘’I just went out there feeling more comfortable, staying calm and doing my job. As soon as I got into my starting position I said to myself to take it and skate with my heart.’’

In ice dancing, Virtue and Moir broke their own world record with 82.43 points to lead after the short dance. Defending world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France are second at 76.89 and Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of the U.S. are third at 76.53.

Virtue and Moir are enjoying remarkable success in their first season since winning the silver medal at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi. They have won all five events they’ve entered including the ISU Grand Prix Final in December producing many record performances along the way.

“That was a great skate,’’ said Moir, from Ilderton, Ont. ‘’We worked hard, we prepared, but we felt the pressure today. We knew we had to bring our best, and that’s why we came back.”

“Technically we really try to raise the level of our skating and we needed to because the level of competition is so stiff and so strong,’’ added Virtue, from London, Ont. ‘’It’s nice to be at a world championships and get your best score. We knew we couldn’t have possibly prepared more for this moment.’’

Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., are in sixth place with 74.84 points while Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto are in ninth with 72.83.

‘’We’ve been really up and down with some of the elements in our short dance this year,’’ said Poje. ‘’We felt today we took a step in the right direction, we were comfortable and we had a performance we were proud of.’’

‘’We are really excited to delve into the free dance tomorrow and share it with this incredible crowd,’’ added Weaver. ‘’There are some small changes into the transitions and it has some new unique elements.’’

Gilles and Poirier have also struggled with their short program this season.

‘’We’ve been trying a bit too hard, trying to prove ourselves,’’ said Poirier. ‘’So we fall short because of mistakes. Today wasn’t the skate of our lives but we came out and entertained the people and delivered a clean skate.’’

Competition ends Saturday with the free dance and men’s free skate.

Full results: http://www.isuresults.com/results/season1617/wc2017/index.htm

Virtue and Moir on top of the world

HELSINKI – Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are back on top in ice dancing. The two-time Olympic medallists won the gold medal Saturday to conclude the ISU World Figure Skating Championships and complete a perfect comeback season.

The contest was close with Virtue and Moir holding on to first despite a slip by Moir as they totalled 198.62 points. It is their third world title.

Defending champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France won the free dance to finish at 196.04 while Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the U.S. were third at 185.18.

‘’We accomplished a lot of great things in this program technically that allowed us to stay on top against a really, really good French team,’’ said Moir from Ilderton, Ont. ‘’We knew we were going to be in a fight for the world title.’’

The victory caps a great comeback season for the 2010 Olympic champions. They sat out their first two seasons after the Olympic silver in Sochi. In 2016-17, they went undefeated in seven competitions producing several record scores including a world mark in Friday’s short dance.

‘’We wanted to win worlds,’’ said Moir. ‘’We trained well, we felt we prepared ideally for this whole season.’’

Two-time world championship medallists Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., emerged a half-point from the podium finishing fourth at 184.81 after standing sixth after the short dance.

’We wanted to bring the happiness back into our skating and express who we are,’’ said Poje. ‘’We went through some ups and downs this season and had to rediscover ourselves.  We are very proud where we are and we know we can build so much more.’’

Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto moved from ninth to eighth overall.

‘’We really allowed ourselves to settle into that performance,’’ said Poirier. ‘’We didn’t force anything or rush anything. We allowed ourselves to do the work and just get lost in the moment.’’

In men’s competition, Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan re-claimed the world crown roaring from fifth place to the gold medal position with a world record free skate for 321.59 points. His compatriot Shoma Uno was second at 319.31 and Boyang Jin of China third at 303.58.

Patrick Chan of Toronto skated to music by teammate and pairs skater Eric Radford and earned 295.16 for fifth place. He landed his three quad jumps but put a hand down on his quad Salchow and stumbled after completing his second quad toe.

‘’The approach I had for this competition was the right one,’’ said Chan, a three-time world champion. ‘’My goal was to rotate all three quads today which I had never done before. It’s great to know that I have the confidence now to do it.’’

Kevin Reynolds of Coquitlam, B.C., made an impressive move in the standings from 12th to ninth overall with the eighth best free skate. His first four jumps were all quads including the first two in combination.

‘’It was exhilaration,’’ said Reynolds. ‘’At the most important competition of the season I had a job to do and left here with possibly the two best performances of my career. It was a thrill; everything I worked for in training went exactly right.’’

Canada ends the competition with three medals. On Friday, Kaetlyn Osmond of Marystown, N.L. and Gabrielle Daleman of Newmarket, Ont., took silver and bronze in women’s competition. It was the first time Canada produced two medallists in the event at worlds.

Full results: http://www.isuresults.com/results/season1617/wc2017/index.htm

Led by Patrick Chan’s gold, Canadians fill their Cup of China with medals

BEIJING – Three-time world champion Patrick Chan won the gold medal in comeback fashion in men’s singles on Saturday to highlight a four-medal day for Canadians at the Cup of China figure skating competition, the fifth stop on the ISU Grand Prix circuit.

Chan, third after a shaky short program, roared to the title in his free skate with 279.72 points overcoming a 13-point deficit on Boyang Jin of China, second at 278.54. Sergei Voronov of Russia was third at 243.76.

‘’The program felt very methodical,’’ said Chan, also the Skate Canada International winner three weeks ago. ‘’I didn’t give it more energy than it needed. I told myself to relax and not try and rush through the program.’’

Chan made sure to keep an even keel during the skate.

‘’Even the fall during the quad Salchow I made sure I didn’t panic and just continued to do the program as I did at home and forget about the mistake.’’

In women’s competition, Kaetlyn Osmond of Marystown, N.L., took the silver with 196.00. Elena Radionova of Russia was the winner at 205.90 and her compatriot Elizaveta Tuktamysheva third at 192.57.

‘’I started the program really strong,’’ said Osmond. ‘’Then I did two mistakes that were really uncharacteristic for me. That’s something I just have to work on leading into the next big competitions. I need to keep my focus a little bit longer even if the program is going really well.’’

In ice dancing, Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., were the silver medallists with 181.54. Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the U.S., took gold at 185.13. Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin of Russia were third at 177.41.

‘’This season is all about building,’’ said Weaver. ‘’There are many new things for us. We are learning from the beginning and that takes time and it’s not always an instantaneous result. Everything can get better even though we didn’t make any major mistakes.’’

In pairs, Lubov Ilyushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch of Toronto added a bronze behind two Chinese teams with 191.54. Xiaoyu Yu and Hao Zhang took the gold at 203.76 and Cheng Peng and Yang Jin were second at 197.96.

The sixth stop on the circuit is next weekend in Sapporo, Japan.

Full results: ISU GP Audi Cup of China 2016

Canadian skaters en route to ISU Grand Prix Cup of China

OTTAWA, ON: Skate Canada will send five entries, for a total of eight skaters, to the fifth stop on the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating, the Cup of China. The event takes place from November 18-20, 2016, at the Capital Indoor Stadium in Beijing, China. Canada will have one entry per discipline in men, ladies and pairs and two entries in ice dance.

Three-time World Champion and double Olympic silver medallist (men’s and team) Patrick Chan, 25, Toronto, Ont., will be the Canadian entry in the men’s discipline. This will be his first time competing at this event. This season, Chan won the silver medal at his first event, the Finlandia Trophy, followed by the gold medal at Skate Canada International. The eight-time Canadian champion is coached by Marina Zoueva, Oleg Epstein and Johnny Johns and trains in Canton, MI, USA.

Olympic silver medallist (team) Kaetlyn Osmond, 20, Marystown, Nfld./Edmonton, Alta., will be the Canadian entry in the ladies’ category. This will also be her first time competing at this event. This season, she won the Finlandia Trophy, and won the silver medal at Skate Canada International. The 2016 Canadian bronze medallist is coached by Ravi Walia and trains in Edmonton, Alta.

Lubov Ilyushechkina, 25, Moscow, Russia, and Dylan Moscovitch, 32, Toronto, Ont., will be the Canadian pairs entry. Last season, the duo placed seventh at this event. Earlier this season, Ilyusechkina and Moscovitch won the silver medal at the Nebelhorn Trophy and the bronze medal at Skate Canada International. The 2016 Canadian bronze medallists are coached by Lee Barkell, Bryce Davison and Tracy Wilson in Toronto, Ont.

Two-time world medallists Kaitlyn Weaver, 27, Toronto, Ont., and Andrew Poje, 29, Waterloo, Ont., are the first of two Canadian entries in ice dance. This will be their fourth time competing at this event, having won the bronze medal in 2012 and placed sixth in both 2008 and 2009. This season, Weaver and Poje won the bronze medal at their first ISU Grand Prix assignment, the Rostelecom Cup. The two-time consecutive Canadian champions are coached by Nikolai Morozov and train in Hackensack, NJ, USA.

Alexandra Paul, 25, Midhurst, Ont., and Mitchell Islam, 26, Barrie, Ont., are the second Canadian entry in ice dance. This will be their second time competing at this event, having placed fifth in 2014. This season, they won the bronze medal at the 2016 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic and placed eighth at Skate Canada International. Paul and Islam train in Montreal, Que., with coaches Marie-France Dubreuil, Patrice Lauzon and Romain Haguenauer.

Mike Slipchuk, Skate Canada High Performance Director, will travel with the team as team leader. Dr. Cole Beavis of Saskatoon, Sask., and physiotherapist Karen Seymour of Toronto, Ont., will be the Canadian medial staff onsite. Jeff Lukasik of Calgary, Alta., and Karen Butcher of Greely, Ont., will be the Canadian officials at the event.

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

CANADIAN ENTRIES AT 2016 CUP OF CHINA

Discipline Name Age Hometown Club Coach
Men Patrick Chan 25 Toronto, Ont. Granite Club Marina Zoueva / Oleg Epstein / Johnny Johns
Ladies Kaetlyn Osmond 20 Marystown, Nfld. & Edmonton, Alta. Ice Palace FSC Ravi Walia
Pairs Lubov Ilyushechkina / Dylan Moscovitch 25/32 Moscow, Russia / Toronto, Ont. Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club / Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club Lee Barkell / Bryce Davison / Tracy Wilson
Ice Dance Kaitlyn Weaver / Andrew Poje 27/29 Toronto, Ont. / Waterloo, Ont. Sault FSC / Kitchener-Waterloo SC Nikolai Morozov
Ice Dance Alexandra Paul / Mitchell Islam 25/26 Midhurst, Ont. / Barrie, Ont. Barrie SC / Barrie SC Marie-France Dubreuil / Patrice Lauzon / Romain Haguenauer

Bronze medal for Weaver and Poje at ISU Grand Prix

MOSCOW – Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., won the bronze medal on Saturday at the Rostelecom Cup, to conclude the third stop on the ISU Grand Prix figure skating circuit.

Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev of Russia took the gold with 186.68 points. Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the U.S. were second at 182.13 while the Canadians followed at 178.57.

‘’We are really pleased with how the performance went,’’ said Poje. ‘’We really wanted to come out there and show the work we’ve put into creating our story and our emotion. We felt really connected to the audience. It’s early in the season but we wanted a strong technical score and to feel like we are on the right track.’’

Weaver and Poje’s new Spanish-flavored long program was ranked second on the day as they nearly reeled in the Americans for the silver. They ended a six Grand Prix event winning streak dating back to 2014.

‘’We’ll take the feedback from here and analyse what worked and what didn’t work in our programs,’’ added Poje. ‘’This being our first competition we want to take the best direction from here until the rest of the season.’’

In pairs, Julianne Séguin of Longueuil, Que., and Charlie Bilodeau of Trois-Pistoles, Que., remained fifth overall following their free skate. Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany won the gold medal ahead of two Russian pairs.

Camille Ruest of Boucherville, Que., and Andrew Wolfe of Montreal were sixth. In the end Séguin and Bilodeau, the Skate America champions two weeks ago, were only 5.5 points from the podium.

‘’It was a tough fight today,’’ said Séguin. ‘’But we continued to believe in ourselves and gave a good performance. It was a learning experience.’’

Bilodeau said it was hard to go into the free skate standing fifth.

‘’We made big errors in the short so we had a strike against us right off the start,’’ he said. ‘’But we were able to stay focused and get through our long program.’’

Ruest and Wolfe completed their debut on the circuit.

“We continued to improve,’’ said Ruest. ‘’We need to continue to gain speed and improve our transitions on our long programs. Our technical scores are where we wanted them to be for now.’’

In men’s competition, world champion Javier Fernandez of Spain took the gold medal with Shoma Uno of Japan second and Alexei Bychenko of Israel third.

Elladj Baldje of Pierrefonds, Que., produced another clean program and was sixth.

‘’There were some small errors but overall it was a satisfying competition for me,’’ said Baldje. ‘’Fitness-wise I felt super strong and that will be a real plus for me in the future. I’m going to continue working on the quad and make it better.’’

The fourth stop on the circuit is next Friday and Saturday in Paris.

Full results: ISU GP Rostelecom Cup 2016

Weaver and Poje unveil thrilling short dance at Grand Prix

MOSCOW – Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., are in third place after a spectacular debut of their Michael Jackson flavoured short dance on Friday at the Rostelecom Cup, the third stop on the ISU Grand Prix figure skating circuit.

Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the U.S., the Skate Canada International silver medallists last week, are first at 75.04, Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev of Russia second at 74.92 and Weaver and Poje earned 69.81.

‘’We are very pleased with our performance,’’ said Weaver. ‘’This is our first competition of the season for us and we underwent many changes through the summer including this brand new short dance. We came out today feeling calm and excited to perform.’’

The Canadians, who skated a highly original program to three Michael Jackson tunes (The Way You Make Me Feel, Dangerous and Jam), received a rousing and extended ovation from the crowd for their performance.  Weaver and Poje will try to extend their Grand Prix event winning streak to seven in Saturday’s free dance.

‘’We were treated like hometown athletes from the crowd here,’’ Weaver said. ‘’We had an error on our twizzle and lost points there but we are taking away a lot of positives. We can’t wait to show of our free skate.’’

In pairs, Julianne Séguin of Longueuil, Que., and Charlie Bilodeau of Trois-Pistoles, Que., the Skate America champions two weeks ago, are in fifth spot after the short.

They are only eighth points from the leaders. Both skaters fell on the side-by-side jumps and Séguin touched one hand down on the throw.

‘’Of course it wasn’t our best,’’ said Séguin. ‘’I expect we’ll come back much stronger tomorrow because our long program is more polished right now.’’

Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert of Russia lead at 69.76, Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany are second at 69.51 and Valentina Marchei and Ondrej Hotarek of Italy third at 66.82. Séguin and Bilodeau scored 61.72 and Camille Ruest of Boucherville, Que., and Andrew Wolfe of Montreal are seventh at 60.09.

In men’s competition, Shoma Uno of Japan stands first after the short, world champion Javier Fernandez of Spain is second and Mikhail Kolyada of Russia third.

Elladj Balde of Pierrefonds, Que., produced a clean program but with no quad jump he is ranked sixth.  ‘’The goal was to come here and skate clean,’’ he said. ‘’That’s the way I’ve been skating every day at home. I broke the 37-point barrier for my components which shows that may skating’s improved.’’

Canada has no entries in women’s competition.

All free skates are on Saturday.

Full results: ISU GP Rostelecom Cup 2016