GANGNEUNG, South Korea – Canadian Ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and Gabrielle Daleman of Newmarket, Ont., are leaders after Thursday’s short programs at the ISU Four Continents figure skating competition.
The event is being held at the Gangneung Ice Arena, the figure skating venue for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games set to start in less than a year.
In women’s competition, Daleman produced a 68.25 score to grab the lead. Canadian champion Kaetlyn Osmond of Marystown, N.L. is second at 68.21 and Elizabet Tursynbaeva of Kazakhstan third at 66.87.
‘’The short program was a little bit of a fight,’’ said Daleman, who produced a clean program. ‘’I’m happy with it but it wasn’t perfect. I’m thrilled I fought for every thing and didn’t give up.’’
Osmond fell on her double Axel attempt.
‘’I can’t remember the last time I made a mistake on my double Axel,’’ she said. ‘’It’s just makes me hungrier to deliver a clean long program.’’
Alaine Chartrand of Prescott, Ont., is 14th.
Virtue and Moir, from London, Ont., and Ilderton, Ont., lead the 16-team ice dance field with 79.75 points. The Canadians are in the midst of a superb comeback season which has seen them post five victories in five events so far.
Three American couples follow including Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani in second at 76.59 and Madison Chock and Evan Bates third at 74.67.
‘’We made a little technical error in the middle which is not ideal because we really want to capitalize on those technical points,’’ said Moir. ‘’Still we are pleased because we came out and attacked the program. It was really special to perform here a year before the Games.’’
Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., are fifth but still in striking distance of the podium with 71.15 and Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto are seventh at 61.21.
In pairs, Chinese teams are 1-2. Wenjing Sui and Cong Han lead with 80.75 and Xiaoyu Yu and Hao Zhang follow at 75.20.
The three Canadian entries are next: world champions Meagan Duhamel of Lively, Ont., and Eric Radford of Balmertown, Ont., are third at 74.31, Lubov Ilyushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch of Toronto are fourth at 73.04 and Kirsten Moore-Towers of St. Catharines, Ont., and Michael Marinaro of Sarnia, Ont., are fifth at 70.89.
Radford fell on the side-by-side jump early in the program.
‘’That was a very uncharacteristic mistake,’’ said Duhamel. ‘’We are very proud we came back with a very strong lift and throw afterwards and didn’t let the energy slip from the program. That’s hard to do when you start the program with a mistake.’’
It was a rare sight to see Radford make a jumping mistake.
‘’I’m disappointed I missed the jump,’’ added Radford. ‘’ I can count on one hand the times I missed that jump in competition so I’ll just be looking forward to doing it in the long program.’’
Competition continues Friday.
Full results: ISU Four Continents Championships 2017.