Monday, January 19, 2009

Virtue, Moir's edgy departure good for gold

It was creative. Athletic. Theatrical. And ultra-original.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir unveiled their on-the-edge, Pink Floyd free dance on Saturday en route to winning their second national title at the BMO Canadian championships.

The program, set to tracks from the "Dark Side of the Moon," is quite a departure for the world silver medalists known for their lyrical, romantic routines.

Appropriately, Virtue and Moir had the Saskatoon fans on the edge of their seats as they executed complicated acrobatic lifts that they developed in conjunction with their lifts coach Johnny Johns.

The couple posted virtually unbeatable scores -- 94.68 points for the free dance and 197.77 in all for the week.

"We have a lot of difficult elements in that program and it's really hard to execute, but we're happy with the way we skated and I'm excited to be national champion again," Moir said.

"Given the circumstances, I have to be happy with that skate," Virtue said, referring to the injury and subsequent surgery on her shins that sidelined them for three months last fall. "It was not necessarily what we hope for at this point in the season, but I'm just so pleased with our progress and I'm really grateful to be back here."

Second place went to Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier, the 2008 world junior silver medalists who were fourth nationally a year ago. The teenagers created a buzz in their debut season as senior Grand Prix competitors. The athletic duo won the silver medal at Skate Canada in November.

Crone and Poirier had some slip ups in the free dance and actually ranked only fourth in that segment (84.40), but with a total of 175.58 they were able to hold off the challenge of last year's silver medalists Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje.

"It's good we got this out of our system before the big events at the end of the season," said Poirier, who fell at the end of their step sequence.

Full article.

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