Tag Archive for: Zhao Kai Pang

Gold for Canada’s Edwards and Pang at ISU Junior Grand Prix

AICHI, Japan – Madeline Edwards of Port Moody, B.C., and ZhaoKai Pang of Burnaby, B.C., won the gold medal in ice dancing on Sunday at the fourth stop on the ISU Junior Grand Prix figure skating circuit.

Edwards and Pang earned their second medal this season on the circuit tabulating 134.42 points. The performance should assure them a spot in the Junior Grand Prix final. Alla Loboda and Pavel Drodz of Russia were second at 133.98 and Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons of the U.S., the leaders after the short dance, took third at 131.42.

The Canadians were bronze medallists at the world junior championships last season, and have now stepped on the podium at six consecutive Junior Grand Prix but this was their first gold.

‘’It feels amazing to get the gold,’’ said Edwards. ‘’It is one of the big highlights of our career. We just felt really relaxed in our free skate today and really into it.’’

In the free dance, Edwards and Pang were the first to skate in the last group.

‘’I would actually rather have it that way,’’ said Pang. ‘’You can go out there and skate and not worry about the other performances. We are just ecstatic that it held up.’’

Lauren Collins of Minesing, Ont., and Shane Firus of North Vancouver were sixth.

It was also a big day for Nicolas Nadeau of Boisbriand, Que., in the men’s free skate as he roared from 10th after the short program to fifth overall. Boyang Jin of China won the gold.

The fifth stop on the circuit is in two weeks in Tallinn, Estonia.

Videos of routines available on the ISU YouTube channel

Full results: http://www.isuresults.com/results/jgpjpn2014/index.htm

Canadian ice dancers in medal hunt at ISU Junior Grand Prix

AICHI, Japan – Madeline Edwards of Port Moody, B.C., and ZhaoKai Pang of Burnaby, B.C., are once again in the medal hunt at an international figure skating competition after placing second in Saturday’s short dance at the fourth stop on the ISU Junior Grand Prix circuit.

Rachel Parsons and Michael Parson of the U.S., are in first place with 55.71 points slightly ahead of Edwards and Pang at 55.33. Alla Loboda and Pavel Drodz of Russia are third at 52.25.

Edwards and Pang were third at the world junior championships last season and opened the 2014-15 campaign with a silver at the first stop on Junior Grand Prix circuit last month in France.

Lauren Collins of Minesing, Ont., and Shane Firus of North Vancouver are sixth at 42.52 as they made their international debut as a team.

Two 13-year-olds skated for Canada in the women’s competition which concluded Saturday. Grace Lin of Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que., was 12th and Sarah Tamura of Burnaby, B.C., 14th. Serafima Sakhanovich of Russia won the gold medal.

‘’I was impressed with how super professional this event was,’’ said Lin. ‘’The atmosphere was great. I was happy with how I skated but I know I can do a lot better.’’

Tamura was also delighted with her experience.

‘’I know what I need to work on for the next time,’’ she said. ‘’I wasn’t pleased with how I skated but I fought through everything. My goal for this year is to successfully land all my jumps in the program.’’

In Friday’s men’s short program, Nicolas Nadeau of Boisbriand, Que., was 10th.

The free dance and men’s free skate are on Sunday.

Videos of routines available on the ISU YouTube channel

Full results: http://www.isuresults.com/results/jgpjpn2014/index.htm


Canadians lead after short dance at ISU Junior Grand Prix

COURCHEVEL, France – World junior championships bronze medallist Madeline Edwards of Port Moody, B.C., and ZhaoKai Pang of Burnaby, B.C., are in first place after Friday’s short dance at the opening stop on the ISU Junior Grand Prix circuit in figure skating.

Edwards and Pang, ranked seventh in Canada at the senior level, tabulated a 51.84 score.  Alla Loboda and Pavel Drodz of Russia are second at 50.10 and their compatriots Anastasia Shpilevaya and Grigory Smirnov third at 47.94.

Melinda Meng and Andrew Meng of Montreal are eighth.

In the women’s final, Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia was the winner with 179.55 points.  Rin Nataya of Japan was second at 158.76 and Amber Glenn of the U.S. third at 148.08.

Larkyn Austman of Coquitlam, B.C., produced the eighth best long program to climb from 13th to 10th overall. Roxanne Cournoyer of Sorel-Tracy, Que., was 11th.

In Thursday’s men’s short program, Bennet Toman of St-Lazare, Que., and Daniel-Olivier Boulanger-Trottier of Montreal were 10th and 13th.  Both are making their international debuts.

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

Edwards and Pang earn silver at ISU Junior Grand Prix

COURCHEVEL, France – Madeline Edwards of Port Moody, B.C., and ZhaoKai Pang of Burnaby, B.C., won the silver medal in a close ice dance battle on Saturday to conclude the first stop on the ISU Junior Grand Prix figure skating circuit.

Alla Loboda and Pavel Drozd of Russia took gold with 132.44 points. Edwards and Pang followed at 129.62 and Anastasia Shpilevaya and Grigory Smirnov of Russia were third at 121.41.

“We are extremely happy with how we skated,” said Edwards, 18, in her seventh season with Pang. “We were really comfortable and relaxed which is a feeling we really wanted to improve over last season.”

The Canadians held a slight lead over Loboda and Drozd after Friday’s short dance and skated third to last on Saturday.

“We felt it was possible our score could hold,” said Edwards. “But still anything can happen, the talent here is very deep. The result was something we were trying not to be overly worried about at this point in the season. We just wanted this new program to show our maturity and personalities.”

Edwards and Pang were third at the junior world championships last year and Saturday’s performance was their fifth career medal on the circuit.

“Our big objective is to return to the world juniors and hopefully improve our result,” said Pang, 19. “This is exactly the kind of start we wanted to our international season. What stood out for me wasn’t any particular move but the energy we displayed from start to finish.”

Melinda Meng and Andrew Meng of Montreal were seventh.

In the men’s final; Bennet Toman of St-Lazare, Que., and Daniel-Olivier Boulanger-Trottier of Montreal were 12th and 13th. Both were making their international debuts. June Hyoung Lee of South Korea won the gold medal.

The second stop on the circuit is August 28-30 in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Madeline Edwards & ZhaoKai Pang ready for the ISU Junior Grand Prix Circuit

Madeline Edwards and ZhaoKai Pang are busy young people. They juggle. They strive.

They are part of Canada’s next generation of talented ice dancers.

Their season will start early, and they’re ready to tackle all sorts of goals. The best part of it all is they have a new aura of confidence, coming from having won the world junior championship bronze medal last season, despite an early season injury that could have scuttled their season. (Edwards had a massive injury to her Achilles tendon) They didn’t let it. Just refused.

They asked for an early Junior Grand Prix event this year and they got it. Edwards and Pang will compete at the event in Courcheval, France August 20 to 24. They’ve been there before, when they took a bronze medal and got to stand on a podium in front of what looked like an alpine hut. Courcheval is a tiny, pricy ski resort in the French Alps where royalty often stays.

Their dance slate is particularly full because, like last season, Edwards and Pang will juggle junior and senior programs this year; skating junior internationally and taking another crack at the senior level nationally. Last season, Edwards and Pang finished seventh at the Canadian championships, but they had the fifth highest technical mark, ahead of a couple of more seasoned senior veterans. And they earned the spot as alternates for the world senior championships because a couple of teams ranked ahead of them hadn’t achieved the minimum score for the event. That success also helped them psychologically.

“There is a new confidence going into this season, knowing that we can stand up against the best in the world,” Edwards said. “I hope that shows with speed and presence and maturity in our skating.”

The young team found it exhilarating to skate in the same event as senior teams trying to get to the Olympics. “To see everybody train and get ready with such intensity and with their eyes on the prize, it was really cool to be around that,” Edwards said. “And skating with Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir was like a dream come true.”

Both of them look up to Virtue and Moir, feeling that they “renewed” and “reinvented” ice dance. “You can draw a lot of inspiration from that,” Edwards said. “They do stay within the rules, but they are able to stretch their styles creatively.”

Pang remembers warming up with Virtue and Moir. Edwards remembers them actually talking to them. She giggled.

They also look up to others, too: “I think Canada has a wealth of strong senior ice dance teams that we can look up to,” Pang said. He’s thinking of Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje and Alexandra Paul and Mitchell Islam. Even skating under the guidance of Olympians Megan Wing and Aaron Low is an inspiration, they say. “We’re able to look up to them, knowing that they know what they’re doing and they have the experience,” Edwards said.

“It’s really cool to watch them,” said Pang of his teachers. At times, they’ll demonstrate a move – and Pang finds it “cool.”

“They’ve still got it, if you’re wondering,” Edwards said. Edwards figures she was about 10 years old when her coaches retired. She’s seen them on YouTube videos.

This summer has not been a time of rest for Edwards and Pang, who have had to develop two different short dances (Silver samba and rhumba for junior and paso doble and flamenco for senior). And this season, they have fashioned another epic free dance, this time to a “Life is Beautiful” theme. They will add an extra 25 seconds of choreography when they skate to it at the senior level at the Canadian championships. They’ve already done it, but right now, they will focus on their junior routines.

Skating to Latin music suits them perfectly. It’s in their bones. They found a samba piece that they liked quite easily, and then chose to do a rhumba rhythm for contrast. Expect to hear some Toni Braxton for this one.

The search for a free dance was more difficult. “We had sort of an idea what genre we wanted to play with this season,” Edwards said. “We listen to hundreds of beautiful pieces of music, but we just wanted one that we really connect to and that stood out. And it took us a while to find it. We’re really happy with what we found.”

Last year, they skated to the big drama of “Les Miserables” – and it served their expressiveness well. This time the music for the Italian movie “Life is Beautiful” is softer, more subtle, perfect for their light touch on the ice. It’s a completely different style from their short dance and from their long program from last season. It will require more refinement. They are up to the challenge.

Their goals this season are to show more maturity, to fill the rink with their presence, to improve their edges and speed and flow of the program. (“My legs hurt right now,” said Pang after a practice session.) They have increased the difficulty of some of the elements, and have learned a new lift, after working with Cirque du Soleil and another circus group.

They’ve also been careful about which lifts they chose to do in their programs, because new International Skating Union rules have dropped a dance lift from the free dance. How do they feel about that?

“I never minded lifting her,” Pang said. “But I think they were trying to leave more time to dance. That makes sense to me.”

Both of them enjoy skating on the ice with a partner. Edwards likes sharing the ice with another person. Pang? “We skate for four hours every day,” Pang said. “It doesn’t feel as long when you have a partner next to you.”

This year, they hope to qualify for the Junior Grand Prix Final, (they were first alternates last year), improve their ranking at the world junior championships, and perhaps earn a spot on the national senior team after they compete at the 2015 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Kingston, Ontario.

Beverley Smith

Comeback bronze for Edwards and Pang at world junior championships

SOFIA, Bulgaria – Madeline Edwards of Port Moody, B.C., and ZhaoKai Pang of Burnaby, B.C., won the bronze medal in ice dancing Friday at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships.

Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean- Luc Baker of the U.S., took the gold with 157.12 points.  They edged Russians
Anna Yanovskaya and Sergey Mozgov in second at 155.16.

Edwards and Pang, fifth after the short program, earned the third best free dance score to climb into the medals with 139.65.

“It was a really emotional free dance,” said Pang. “We didn’t leave anything out. We put it all on the ice and we were really happy with the way we skated.  We were gassed at the end.”

Edwards and Pang were 12th last year at junior worlds

“We could not be more excited with our placement,” said Edwards. “Last year I remember watching the podium at junior worlds and just thinking that we want our flag to be up there and how cool would that be to be on the podium.  And to see that come true was just amazing.”

Mackenzie Bent of Uxbridge, Ont., and Garrett MacKeen of Oshawa, Ont., were 12th.

In women’s competition Alaine Chartrand of Prescott, Ont., eighth at the world juniors last year, is seventh after the short program.  Larkyn Austman of Coquitlam, B.C., the 2013 Canadian junior champion, is 18th.

Russia stands 1-2-3 led by Elena Radionova.

Competition continues Saturday with the men’s free skate.  Nam Nguyen of Toronto is first after Thursday’s short program.

Louis Daignault

Junior ice dancers Edwards and Pang ready for the challenge in Bulgaria

There was a time when Sofia, Bulgaria tried to bid for the 2014 Olympics. It wasn’t accepted as a candidate. If it had, it would have been decidedly wintry.

But from March 10 to 16, it will stage the world junior figure skating championships instead. And there will be no less drama than in Sochi.

The Canadian team includes eight entries, 12 skaters in all, starting on their paths to future world championships and Olympics. Just because the word “junior” is attached to the front of this world event, doesn’t mean it’s easy to win.

Palm trees aside, the event in Sofia will be an Olympics of sorts for Madeline Edwards and ZhaoKai Pang, a fetching young Canadian dance team that has sent goosebumps up the sleeves of Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. Virtue and Moir won the 2006 world junior championship, then the next year, finished sixth at the world (senior) championship, an impressive debut. Both Edwards and Pang look up to Virtue and Moir.

And well they might. They have a little something. Like Virtue and Moir, they are expressive. They dance for each other. They have a lightness that comes from their knees. They have miles to go, but it’s there.

Back in 2007, the B.C. section of Skate Canada hired ice dancers Megan Wing and Aaron Lowe to become high performance directors for the dance program. They headed off in search of talent at little regional competitions around the province.  At one of them, Lowe spotted “Maddie,” a bright-faced girl, skating singles. Edwards won a little award for being the most expressive skater. When Lowe talked to her parents, he found out that they were transferring from small-town Rossland, B.C. to Vancouver. “Has she ever done dance?” he asked them. Well, yes, she had taken some tests. So into Wing and Lowe’s dance program she went. And so Wing and Lowe started to build their little dynasty on the west coast.

They found her partner, Pang, a singles skater in Joanne McLeod’s program. Edwards and Pang clicked right away. They were together only a year when they skated in the gala at the 2009 Four Continents championship in Vancouver, a test event for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

They were probably only 11 and 12 years old when they got together – not as young as Virtue and Moir had been – but they rose quickly through the ranks, winning juvenile after being together only a few months, pre-novice in 2010, novice in 2011, and in 2012, they won the junior silver medal. Last year they were junior champions. “I think they were better skaters than Virtue and Moir when they started,” Lowe said boldly. “Just because they had been singles so long. They were decent skaters already, but then they had to learn how to become good dancers.”

Pang had been one of the best pre-novice men in B.C, and competed at the B.C. Winter Games as a singles skater. And he had a personality that boded well for being a dancer. “He was a very expressive little kid,” Lowe said. He loves to perform. And the twosome complement each other very well. They have a great relationship as friends. They are on the same page.

Internationally, Edwards and Pang competed as juniors, finishing second and third at their Junior Grand Prix events this season, but nationally, they competed as seniors for the first time. However, disaster struck in October, after the junior events: Edwards developed an overuse injury on her Achilles tendon, caused by stitching on the back of her boot that dug into the soft tissue. Lowe referred to it as “massive.”

There were days when Edwards could skate only 20 minutes. They worried that they would miss the national championships – where they would be under no pressure, but they could learn and watch skaters trying to get the three Olympic spots, amid all the tension. They missed sectionals and Challenge. They fought hard, with doctors and physiotherapists to get to Ottawa and finally defeated the injury.

In Ottawa, they finished seventh, but had the fifth highest technical mark, ahead of a couple of senior-level teams, not bad for a couple of newbies. It was enough to earn them their second trip to the world junior championships, but more than that: they were chosen as alternates for the senior world championships. Some teams ranked ahead of them hadn’t achieved minimum scores in both portions of the event, as required by the ISU. The youngsters, not yet into their twenties, had the scores.

Edwards and Pang still have one more year of junior eligibility left, and they will take advantage of it next season, to build world standing points that would allow them eventually to get some good senior competitions. They are eyeing the 2018 Olympics, which is only four years away. Lowe doesn’t think it’s a pipe dream. It’s a realistic thought that bears proper planning, he says.

And Sofia is a good step.

And others on the team will, too. Nam Nguyen, only 15, will compete in the men’s event in Sofia, but he’s also been named to the world senior team in Japan. He’ll be travelling with his buddy, Roman Sadovsky, only 14, and a precocious whiz kid on blades. They’ll be up against Jin Boyang of China, 16, who won the Junior Grand Prix Final, and 19-year-old Keiji Tanaka of Japan, who swept his Junior Grand Prix events this year.

Alaine Chartrand, 17, of Prescott, Ont., and Larkyn Austman, 15, Coquitlam, B.C., will compete in the women’s event against a host of Russian women who dominated the Junior Grand Prix Final.

In pairs the teams of Tara Hancherow, 18, Tisdale, Sask., and Wesley Killing, 20, Woodstock, Ont., and Mary Orr, 17, Brantford, Ont., and Phelan Simpson, 18, Lunenburg, N.S., will attended their first junior world’s event together. The pairs event is dominated by Russians, but a Chinese team, Xiaoyu Yu and Yang Jin, defeated them all at the Junior Grand Prix Final.

Beverley Smith