Photos: 2015 Canada Winter Games



First figure skating medals clinched in Prince George

Three time zones away, you know Brian Orser was smiling.

Ten-year-old Stephen Gogolev, who trains under the two-time Olympic silver medallist at the Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling club, is making quite the name for himself this week at the Canada Winter Games.

Less than three months after claiming the pre-novice men’s national title, Gogolev added another gold medal to his rapidly-expanding trophy case Wednesday, winning pre-novice gold once again in front of a boisterous, standing-room only crowd in Prince George. The youngster was simply dominating, scoring 73.17  in his free program for a 114.04 total.  Quebec’s Samuel Turcotte (93.51) took silver, while hometown favourite own Justin Hampole (91.88) went home with bronze.

“I came here to do my best, and I’m really happy to go home with a gold medal,” Gogolev told reporters. “This has been a great experience for me.”

The final two competitors to close out the novice men’s competition, Hampole and Gogolev gave the crowd their money’s worth, setting off back-to-back standing ovations that seemed to rattle the walls at the Kin 1 Arena.

Off the ice, Gogolev and Hampole have formed a friendship this week, spending time together away from the rink.

“We’re going to the Nerf gun competition together later (Wednesday),” laughed Hampole. “We’ve really had a chance to get to know each other at this competition. I’ve got to see him around the hotel and at the village, so it’s been pretty cool.”

In pre-novice ice dance, reigning Canadian champions Arianne Bonneau and Oliver Zhang of Quebec scored 40.66 in their free dance to secure gold with a 68.75 total. Ontario’s Han Na Kim and Corey Circelli were second at 58.80 while Saskatchewan’s Tori Shmon and Alexander Hopkins placed third.

“We feel really good because we realized all of our goals this year,” said Zhang. “We wanted to come to the Canada Games and win gold for Quebec, so this is special.”

Matthew Lai of B.C. claimed the gold medal in Special Olympics Men’s Level 2, with fellow British Columbian Eric Pahima second and Michael Sumner of Yukon third. In the Men’s Level 3 competition, Jack Fan (Ontario), Thomas Babcock (Ontario) and Emanuel Bou Lutfalah (Quebec) were first, second and third, respectively.

To close out Wednesday night, the reigning national champion duo of Hannah Dawson and Daniel Villeneuve captured gold in pre-novice pair before Canadian champion Sarah-Maude Blanchard of Quebec edged out B.C.’s Olivia Gran for pre-novice women’s gold.

“It was a season that I couldn’t have dreamed of – winning our nationals and then this, what an experience,” said Dawson.

“It was an amazing time for us, and the crowd couldn’t have been better,” added Villeneuve. “We will remember this for a long time.”

Novice and Special Olympics women’s competitors will perform their free programs Thursday. The schedule is below (all times PT):

  • Novice Pair Free 12:00 noon
  • Novice Women Free 12:40 pm
  • Special Olympics Women Level 2 – Free 14:55
  • Special Olympics Women Level 3 – Free 15:45
  • Novice Free Dance 19:05
  • Novice Men Free 20:05

Medal ceremonies for pre-novice, novice and Special Olympics figure skating are scheduled for Thursday night following competition.

Full Results: 2015 Canada Winter Games

Synchronized skaters descend on Quebec City for 2015 Skate Canada Synchronized Skating Championships

OTTAWA, ON: Synchronized skating teams from across Canada are en route to Quebec City, Quebec, for the 2015 Skate Canada Synchronized Skating Championships, taking place from February 27-March 1, 2015, at the Pavilion de la Jeunesse.

The event will host approximately 800 skaters and coaches on 40 teams competing for national titles in the senior, junior, open, intermediate and novice categories. The top two senior teams will represent Canada at the 2015 ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships being held in in Hamilton, Ontario, from April 10-11, 2015.

“The Skate Canada Synchronized Skating Championships never fail to amaze as athletes come together to deliver skill and strength with precise coordination. Quebec City is prepared and excited to host these incredible teams, coaches, officials, and fans,” said Dan Thompson, CEO Skate Canada. “With Canada as host of the 2015 ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships, there will surely be added excitement in the air as teams battle to represent our country on the world stage.”

Tickets are still available and can be purchased online or at the door at the Pavilion de la Jeunesse. Two-day passes can be purchased for $35 for adults or $25 for children, and individual day passes can be purchased for $20 for adults or $15 for children.

The competition will be streamed live for fans to watch the events from home.

Media looking to attend the event are asked to contact Allan Gordon, Communications Coordinator, by phone at 613.747.1007 ext. 2564 or by email at [email protected] and during the event at 613.697.1354.

Second day of figure skating competition in the books at Canada Winter Games

Timing is indeed everything, and Ontario’s Alison Schumacher picked an ideal time to lay down her best short program of the season.

The 12-year-old, 4’4” sparkplug was lights-out Tuesday during the novice women’s short program at the 2015 Canada Winter Games, posting a personal best 38.97 to vault into top spot, just ahead of Canadian champion Rachel Pettitt of Yukon (pictured) at 38.89.

“I really wanted to skate my personal best here, and I was able to do that, so I’m pretty excited going into the free program (Thursday),” says Schumacher, who trains alongside Canadian national team member Elladj Baldé in Detroit.

Novice and Special Olympics competitors took centre stage Tuesday during the second full day of figure skating competition at these Games.

In novice pair, the sibling tandem of Olivia and Mackenzie Boys-Eddy, reigning national silver medallists, lead after the short program at 34.88, just in front of Quebec’s Lori-Ann Matte and Thierry Ferland (33.13).

“We are so proud to represent Team Ontario, and we just want to do our best to bring the points to the team,” says Mackenzie.

“It’s probably the biggest crowd we’ve ever performed in front of, and the cheering was so loud,” adds Olivia.

“Our ultimate goal is the 2022 Olympics, so we think this event is a big step towards that goal.”

Fresh off a silver medal performance at the Canadian championships last month, Quebec’s Gabriel Farand holds down top spot after scoring 40.58 in the novice men’s short program. Closing out competition Tuesday was the novice pattern dance, which sees Canadian champions Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha of Quebec in the gold medal position heading into Thursday’s free dance.

In the Special Olympics competition, Stephanie Divin of the host B.C. team leads after the Special Olympics Women Level 2 Elements, while Alberta’s Meg Ohsada is in top spot following Women’s Level 3 Elements.


There is some serious talent in the Boys-Eddy family, and it isn’t confined to the rink.

Olivia and Mackenzie Boys-Eddy of Team Ontario lead the pack following Tuesday’s novice pair short program, but they’re making headlines off the ice, as well.

An avid musician, 16-year-old Mackenzie recorded and performed their short program music, a cover of Percy Mayfield’s classic “Hit the Road, Jack.”

“I learned to play the piano was I was really young and learned that song when I was 10 or 11,” recalls Mackenzie. “I’ve played it for so many years and it is such a fun song, so I decided to record my own version of it and produce it with a string section and a horn section.”

Not to be outdone by her big brother, Olivia seems to have a little show business in her as well. The 12-year-old served as a skating stunt double in the Ryan Reynolds movie “The Captive.”

“It was just an amazing experience,” says Olivia, who stands 4’7”. “I’ve never done anything like that before. They were looking for someone who could do a death spiral, was small, had blue eyes and blonde hair.

“I guess that was me,” she adds with a laugh.


Special Olympian Stephanie Divin comes from champion bloodlines, and she may end up leaving Prince George with a medal of her own.

Her grandfather, Karol Divin, represented then-Czechoslovakia in three Olympic Winter Games (1956, 1960, 1964), winning a silver medal in 1960. For those keeping score, Canada’s Donald Jackson, the 1962 world champion, shared the same podium as Divin after claiming bronze.

“That is pretty exciting to have a grandfather who is famous,” says Stephanie. “I would like to skate my best here and enjoy my memories.”

So far, so good. Stephanie Divin is in top spot after the Special Olympics Women’s Stage 2 Elements.


The first wave of figure skating medals will be decided Wednesday with free programs in pre-novice men’s (10:15 am PT), ice dance (11:50 am), pair (4:50 pm) and women’s (5:35 pm) disciplines. The Special Olympics Men Free Programs (Levels 2 and 3) will be staged Wednesday beginning at 12:50 pm. Medal ceremonies for pre-novice, novice and Special Olympics will be handed out Thursday night.

Click here to view start orders and results

Canada Winter Games : Monday News & Notes

PRINCE GEORGE, BC – Reigning national pre-novice champions made a pretty loud statement Monday as the curtain lifted on the figure skating competition at the 2015 Canada Winter Games.

Less than three months after claiming the Canadian pre-novice crown at Skate Canada Challenge, 10-year-old rising star Stephen Gogolev of Ontario, who trains under the watchful eye of two-time Olympic silver medallist Brian Orser, scored 40.87 to lead after the pre-novice men’s short program.

“I am pretty happy with my performance,” said Gogolev. “I am just here to do my best and improve. These Games will be good for my experience.”

Gogolev’s dazzling performance brought the crowd to its feet at a jam-packed Kin 1 Arena, but it turned out to be the second-loudest cheer of the event. About an hour later, the overflow crowd had the rafters shaking for Prince George’s own Justin Hampole, who scored 36.08 to settle into second spot.

Beres Clements, another B.C. athlete, sits third with 33.97 points.

In ice dance, reigning Canadian pre-novice champions Arianne Bonneau and Oliver Zhang of Quebec set the pace heading into the free dance with 28.09 points. Team Ontario’s Han Na Kim and Corey Circelli are second at 22.48.

Hannah Dawson and Daniel Villeneuve of Ontario, also 2015 national champions, are in top spot after the pre-novice pair short program. In pre-novice women, B.C.’s Olivia Gran scored 41.37 to hold down a slight edge on Canadian champion Sarah-Maude Blanchard of Quebec (39.02).

Eric Pahima of B.C. leads after the Special Olympics Men Level 2 Elements, while Ontario’s Thomas Babcock is the frontrunner after the Men’s Level 3 Elements. In the Special Olympics Solo Women Dance, Nadia Bouillon of Ontario is in top spot after the Elements competition.


Seven years ago, ice was foreign to Quebec figure skater Nelson Sanchez-Leemet.

In fact, he had never seen it before.

Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, the 16-year-old saw a sheet for ice for the first time when his mother took him to a skating show shortly after the family moved to Canada when he was nine. Not long after, Sanchez-Leemet’s mother bought him a pair of hockey skates and enrolled him in CanSkate lessons. After trying the skates for a week, Sanchez Leemet switched to his mother’s figure skates, trained in them for six months and never looked back.

“I went to that skating show, and that was all I needed to see,” says Sanchez-Leemet.

“That’s what I wanted to do – skate. Just like any other Canadian kid.”

After placing fourth in the pre-novice national championships in December, Sanchez-Leemet and partner Samantha Couillard are currently in the silver medal position heading into Wednesday’s free program.

“I love skating with him – he is so determined, so focused, and he just wants to get better,” says Couillard.


Team Ontario’s Hannah Dawson, who teamed with partner Daniel Villeneuve to lead the pre-novice pair competition, recorded one of those popular “I Believe” commercials with Canadian figure skating legend Donald Jackson leading up to the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games.

In fact, the 1962 world champion hand-picked Dawson for the role.

“That was quite a big thrill for me,” says Dawson. “It was a lot of fun, and something I will never forget.”


“I was pretty scared when I first got out there. That crowd was pretty loud.”  – Stephen Gogolev discussing how he felt prior to his short program Monday.


Novice and Special Olympics athletes take over the Kin I area Tuesday as figure skating competition continues. The novice men, women and pair short programs are scheduled, along with the novice pattern dance. The Special Olympics Women’s Elements (Levels 2 and 3) will also be staged. Competition gets underway at 10:45 a.m. PT (1:45 p.m. ET)

Click here to view start orders and results


Connaught Skating Club Offers Karen Magnussen A Helping Hand

Karen Magnussen Tribute : A Benefit Show One must never forget the sight of Karen Magnussen, dressed in snow white, flying aloft into a split jump that hovered in the air, then another in the opposite direction, free, dynamic, fierce.

The Vancouver skater had to fight for everything she won: five Canadian titles, an Olympic silver medal in 1972, a world title in 1973. Magnussen is the last Canadian woman to win a world championship gold medal, but nothing was easy for the skater with the pixie blond cut. Case in point? The battle she fought to come back from stress fractures in both legs that put her in a wheelchair on the eve of the 1969 world championships. Doctors told her that if she skated, she might not walk again.

“I don’t ever want to be told I can’t do something,” she said before being inducted into the Skate Canada Hall of Fame. She came back the next season with full force.

This was a typical Magnussen response to a hardship: she covered the 1969 world event for a newspaper, and turned the proceeds over to the Bursary Fund to help other skaters.

Now, once again, doctors are telling Magnussen that there is something she cannot do. It’s this last battle that is most formidable for Magnussen, so a tribute show to her, organized by the Connaught Skating Club on March 14 in Richmond, B.C. is “like a bright light in my life,” Magnussen said.

It’s a club with a heart that knows her story. On Nov. 28, 2011, after inhaling a blast of ammonia, a poisonous gas, as she prepared to teach young skaters at the North Shore Winter Club (where her parents had been one of the founding members), she has suffered catastrophic injury, lingering after-effects and endless battles with insurance companies that are loathe to pay up. She coughed for six months after the incident. Sleep was impossible. Magnussen can no longer work, can’t breathe properly, now suffers two autoimmune diseases linked to her medications (12 pills a day), has arthritis in her joints, and worst of all, can no longer even walk into an arena again. Any sort of fume could trigger a reaction. Before the accident, Magnussen was healthy. The ammonia had seared her lung tissue and her vocal cords, too.

Magnussen had hoped to coach into her seventies or eighties or even nineties, like Ellen Burka. Instead, with income halted, Magnussen and husband Tony Cella are now about to sell their home. It’s a devastating turn for a brilliant career. Connaught is trying to put that right, as much as they can with a fundraiser.

Magnussen didn’t think of herself first that fateful day. She scurried to get her students out of the rink first. There had been no warnings of a gas release.

Insurance? The Winter Club, so much a part of her life, did not reach out to help. Her administrative duties were handed off to someone else. Some insurance didn’t cover her because she wasn’t actually on the ice when the incident happenedA workman’s compensation deal dating back to 1917 allows payments to injured parties, but doesn’t allow the victims to sue the employer. The Canadian icon has fallen between all the cracks that could possibly exist for insurance.

“To have everything taken away from her is tragic,” said Ted Barton, Executive Director of the B.C. Section of Skate Canada. The section decided to take action, and when it discovered that the Connaught Club had once offered a charity fund-raising show, Barton approached them.

Connaught skating director Keegan Murphy, whose mother Eileen had been a close friend to Magnussen, jumped at the chance. “We always want to teach the younger generation that we can give something back to someone with our skating,” Murphy said. “We are honored to do such an important project.”

About 100 skaters will take part in the show, including Larkyn Austman, Mitchell Gordon, Garrett Gosselin and even a cast of 5-year-olds at their first ice show. Murphy, co-producer of the event, has tapped into some of Magnussen’s classics. One of the numbers? “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head,” – one of Magnussen’s exhibition numbers with Ice Capades, when she carried an umbrella. The little kids get to do that one.

Because of her issues with fumes, Magnussen will not be able to attend the show. Therefore the Connaught came up with a brilliant, thoughtful idea: to hold a meet-and-greet in one of the private rooms in the rink last week, where Magnussen could meet every single skater in the cast. Murphy has taken it upon himself to educate the youngsters about Magnussen. “It’s so important that the kids get to meet her,” he said.

Who knows this about Magnussen anymore? The three-year contract for $300,000 that she signed in 1973 to skate with Ice Capades was the largest it had ever offered a skater turning pro. “I liked Karen a lot,” said Lynn Nightingale, who skated against Magnussen. “I liked her sincerity. She was pretty down to earth. People who had her as a coach loved her. Life hasn’t been all that kind to her.”

What was it about Magnussen, aside from her medals that made her a skater to be remembered? She was a fierce competitor. Magnussen offered up wonderful skating moves that set her apart.


A change-direction, endless spiral, created by Magnussen and coach Linda Brauckman, in which Magnussen changes the position of a leg and her body to make a turn;

A layover camel spin, another Magnussen-Brauckmann invention;

An Ina Bauer into a double Axel combo

Splits going in both directions, followed by an Axel- butterfly-back sit spin;

A change of edge Ina Bauer into a flying sit spin;

A side layback spin that opened into a full flat layback spin.

Magnussen said she is “overwhelmed” by the helping hand offered by the Connaught club. “It really is very special. “

For years, Magnussen has distributed cheques to young skaters from her Foundation. One recipient of Magnussen money was Murphy, who said the attention paid by a former world champion meant the world to him.

Now, for a top-drawer skater who has given so much in her life, it’s time to give back. Not only can people buy tickets for the show, they can donate. Dick Button has already signed up.

Canadian figure skaters ready for national spotlight at 2015 Canada Winter Games

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. –  Promising figure skaters from all across Canada are set to step into the spotlight at the 2015 Canada Winter Games in picturesque Prince George, B.C.

Figure skating helps kick off Week 2 of the Canada Winter Games schedule, with competition getting underway on Monday, February 23 at the Kin I Arena. Skaters will vie for medals in  pre-novice, novice and Special Olympic events.

Visitors to will get a rinkside seat with a live webcast of the entire competition. Don’t forget to join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #CGFigureSkating.

Several 2015 Canadian medallists are slated to compete in Prince George, including reigning Canadian novice women’s champion Rachel Pettitt (B.C.), novice ice dance champions Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha (Quebec) and novice pair silver medallists Olivia Boys-Eddy and Mackenzie Boys-Eddy (Ontario). Gabriel Farand (Quebec) and Conrad Orzel (Ontario), who won novice men’s silver and bronze, respectively, at the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships last month, will once again go head-to-head at these Games.

All four reigning national pre-novice champions will compete at the Canada Winter Games: Ontario’s Stephen Gogolev (pre-novice men), Quebec’s Sarah Maude Blanchard (pre-novice ladies), Hannah Dawson and Daniel Villeneuve of Ontario (pre-novice pair) and Arianne Bonneau and Oliver Zhang of Quebec (pre-novice ice dance).

Canada Winter Games figure skating competitor list

The legendary Toller Cranston, who passed away last month, won gold at the inaugural Canada Winter Games in 1967. Other notable Skate Canada alumni include two-time Olympic silver medallist Brian Orser (1975 CWG) and former Canadian champions Emmanuel Sandhu (1995 CWG) and Michael Slipchuk (1983 CWG).

Follow all the action from the Canada Winter Games by visiting Skate Canada’s Canada Winter Games page, which includes start orders and results. Results will also be available on the official site of the Canada Winter Games.

The 2015 Canada Winter Games will be staged February 13 – March 1, 2015 as Prince George and Northern British Columbia play host to 2,400 athletes, 1,000 coaches and officials, up to 4,500 volunteers, hundreds of media and thousands of visitors.

Skate Canada Appoints Fund Development Agency

Ottawa, ON: After a two-month search process, Dan Thompson, CEO, Skate Canada, is pleased to announce the selection of HALO Brand Leadership as the organization’s new fund development agency. HALO will work in partnership with Skate Canada’s marketing, athlete and alumni teams to support the organization’s funding objectives.

After enjoying one of its most successful competitive seasons ever, winning multiple medals at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, and the ISU World Figure Skating Championships and ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships, Skate Canada is poised to continue its legacy of champions for an even more exciting future.

In March 2014, the Skate Canada Board of Directors approved a dynamic new long-term vision, Inspiring all Canadians to Embrace the Joy of Skating,and launched an innovative strategic plan with the objective of continuing the high performance heritage and expanding the learn-to-skate programs. Part of this mission will include fund development strategies to drive revenue, ensuring that the calibre of Canada’s skating programs continues to be strong across the board.

“Going forward, Skate Canada will evolve its brand position from one that’s been focused primarily on championship performance to one that holds itself to this same world-class standard while embracing an even broader cross-section of Canadians,” says CEO Dan Thompson. “We selected HALO Brand Leadership because they see the potential of our brand to be the catalyst to achieve our vision and our long-term financial goals.” Thompson added “We are most grateful for the support of the Canadian Olympic Committee National Sports Federation Enhancement Initiative and the Canadian Olympic Foundation for enabling this partnership, including their support in the selection process.”

Paula Roberts, CEO of HALO Brand Leadership, is a veteran of advertising and the not-for-profit brand marketing category. She launched HALO in early 2015 in partnership with Groundzero Marketing Communications after serving in senior marketing and fundraising roles for the last ten years at two major non-profits. Most recently she was Executive Vice-President of Marketing and Development at Plan International Canada where she launched the highly acclaimed Because I am a Girl campaign which alone has garnered almost $50 million in revenue in just five years.

“We are delighted to have been selected by Skate Canada,” says Roberts. “Skating is part of the rich fabric of what it is to be Canadian and HALO looks forward to working with the Skate Canada team to create a brand that inspires even more Canadians to skate and, compels partners to donate and get involved as never before.”

Paula Roberts
CEO, HALO Brand Leadership
[email protected]
647 822 2955

Canada’s Nexxice wins gold and silver at Spring Cup

MILAN – Eight-time consecutive Canadian champions Nexxice from Burlington, Ont., collected its second consecutive gold medal this month on Sunday at the Spring Cup 2015 synchronized figure skating competition.

In senior level competition, Nexxice placed first in both the short and long programs for 208.81 points. Team Surprise from Sweden was second at 200.51 and Haydenettes from the U.S. third at 195.77.

The Nexxice team members were Shannon Aikman-Jones, Maria Albanese, Ellicia Beaudoin, Emma Bonafiglia, Kelly Britten, Courtney Broadhurst, Lee Chandler, Alessia Chiovitti, Carla Coveart, Samantha Defino, Courtney Gray, Yu Hanamoto, Renata-Delete Khuzina, Victoria Kwan, Kristen Loritz, Nichole Manahan, Kerrin Caitlin McKinnon, Victoria Smith, Kiersten Tietz, Gillian Tyler and Elizabeth Mayers.

Last season, the representatives of the Burlington Skating Club won silver at the 2014 ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships and bronze at the 2014 Mozart Cup. The three-time consecutive world silver medallists are coached by Shelley Simonton Barnett and Anne Schelter.

In junior competition, Idel from Russia were the winners with 150.49 edging Nexxice in second at 148.60. Team Convivium from Sweden was third at 141.55.

The Nexxice junior squad members were Cassandra Ablack, Katelyn Blowe, Stephanie Collier, Alycia Giro, Celina Hevesi, Taylor Johnston, Caitlin Laskowski, Laura Lourenco, Caroline Marr, Emiko Marr, Carolyn Matheson, Jessica Morgan, Rachel Ng, Inka Sirkia, Johanna Smalen, Claudia Smith, Alessandra Toso, Kayla Walker, Erica White, Brooklyn Williamson.

The 2013 Canadian junior champions won this event in 2009. Last season, they placed fourth at the Mozart Cup, won silver at the 2014 Skate Canada Synchronized Skating Championships, and placed fifth at the ISU Junior World Challenge Cup. They are coached by Trish Perdue-Mills and represent the Burlington Skating Club.

Gabrielle Daleman top Canadian at ISU Four Continents

SEOUL – Canadian champion Gabrielle Daleman of Newmarket, Ont., produced the best international performance of her career on Sunday to finish seventh in women’s competition at the ISU Four Continents figure skating event.

Polina Edmunds of the U.S. soared from fourth after the short program to win the gold medal ahead Japanese skaters Satoko Miyahara in second and Rika Hongo.

The 17-year-old Daleman, a 2014 Olympian, delivered a clean program and earned a personal best international score with 167.09 points. At the end of her free skate, Daleman raised her arms in triumph and added a couple of fist pumps to show she was delighted with the performance.

Alaine Chartrand of Prescott, Ont., was 10th and Veronik Mallet of Sept-Iles, Que., 14th.

Canada ends the competition with two gold medals earned by Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., in ice dancing and Meagan Duhamel of Lively, Ont., and Eric Radford of Balmertown, Ont. in pairs. Both couples continued undefeated seasons with their wins.

Full results:

Perfect season continues for Duhamel and Radford

Duhamel and Radford win gold medal at Four Continents Cup.

SEOUL – Canada’s Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford remained undefeated this season as they won the gold medal in pairs on Saturday at the ISU Four Continents figure skating competition.

Duhamel and Radford produced the best scores in both the short program and free skate to finish with 219.48 points. Three Chinese pairs followed including Cheng Peng and Hao Zhang in second at 201.45 and Qing Pang and Jian Tong in third at 199.99.

‘’I’m really proud we how we handled the pressure,’’ said Radford, from Balmertown, Ont.. ’’We kept it together and still executed a strong performance and what I`m most excited about it that we had such a strong score here and we know we can do that much better. Heading into the world championships we’ll be looking to improve upon that.’’

The Canadians have won their four international assignments so far this season, including the ISU Grand Prix Final, as well as the national title last month.

‘’We’re very proud of our effort here,’’ said Duhamel, from Lively, Ont. ‘’The highlight was landing the throw quad after we had a small mistake on the side-by-side triple Lutz. That’s very difficult to do but we kept our focus and composure and that was very important for the rest of the program.’’

Next assignment for Duhamel and Radford: the world championships in March.

‘’Going into the worlds we’ll be looking to add more sharpness to the technical elements as well as more speed and energy throughout the program,’’ said Duhamel.

Lubov Iliushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch of Toronto were sixth and Kirsten Moore-Towers of St. Catharines, Ont., and Michael Marinaro of Sarnia, Ont., ninth.

In men’s competition, Denis Ten of Kazakhstan took the gold with Joshua Farris of the U.S. second and Han Yan of China third.

Nam Nguyen of Toronto was 11th, Jeremy Ten of Vancouver 12th and Liam Firus of North Vancouver 14th.

Competition ends Sunday with the women’s free skate.

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.