Canadians earn berth at Grand Prix Final

MOSCOW – Ice dancers Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., and pairs team Kirsten Moore-Towers of St. Catharines, Ont., and Dylan Moscovitch of Toronto earned berths for next month’s ISU Grand Prix Final with medal performances on Saturday.

At the sixth and last stop on the circuit before the Final, Weaver and Poje posted the best score in Saturday’s free dance to win the silver medal with 163.14 points.  They were also second at Skate Canada last month.

Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev of Russia held on to top spot at 168.32 and Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the U.S., were third at 153.37.

“We were very pleased with our free dance,” said Poje.  “We wanted to make sure we came back strong after a disappointing score in our short program.  It wasn’t a season best score but for us it was like a season’s best performance.”

Poje said he and Weaver didn’t hold anything back on Saturday.

“At Skate Canada we were a bit timid,” he said.  “So we wanted to make sure today that we showed the emotion and the softness at the right moments.  We were a little stronger with our technical elements too.  We are on a really good momentum right now.”

Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto were sixth.

In pairs, Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany won the gold medal with 206.33 points.  Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov of Russia were second at 201.61 and Moore-Towers and Moscovitch snared the bronze at 188.73.

The Canadians continued their wave of success in 2013 which has included three international medals and  fourth at the world championships.  On Saturday, Moore-Towers fell hard on a lift dismount bruising her hip.

“Neither of us had our best skate today,” said Moore-Towers.  “It was a bit messy at times but nothing that we missed is something we are greatly concerned about.  We’re going to keep training the same way and we are still confident.  Our goal was to make the Grand Prix Final and we achieved that.”

Moscovitch said the pair came in to the competition well prepared after some solid training since Skate Canada a month ago.

“We’ll definitely be hungry at the Grand Prix Final,” he said.  “It’s always special to make the Final especially in an Olympic year.  It’s an opportunity to be among the top-six in the world and competing there will set us up well for the second half of the season.”

Canada has qualified five entries for the Grand Prix Final  set for December 5-8 in Fukuoka, Japan.  The other three are Patrick Chan of Toronto in men’s singles, Tessa Virtue of London, Ont., and Scott Moir of Ilderton, Ont., in ice dancing and Meagan Duhamel of Lively, Ont., and Eric Radford of Balmertown, Ont., in pairs.

Louis Daignault

Canadian Figure Skaters Travel to Russia for Final Stop on ISU Grand Prix Circuit

OTTAWA, ON: Canada will send six athletes to Moscow, Russia, for the 2013 Rostelecom Cup. The event, which is the sixth and final stop on the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating circuit, will take place from November 22-24, 2013. Canada will have a total of three entries in two disciplines: one in pair, and two in ice dance.

Kirsten Moore-Towers, 21, St. Catharines, Ont., and Dylan Moscovitch, 29, Toronto, Ont., are the Canadian pair entry. This will be their first time competing at this event. Moore-Towers and Moscovitch won silver at their first ISU Grand Prix assignment this season, Skate America, and won gold at the 2013 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic. Last season, they placed fourth at the 2013 ISU World Figure Skating Championships. Moore-Towers and Moscovitch train with Kris Wirtz and Kristy Wirtz at the Kitchener-Waterloo Skating Club.

Kaitlyn Weaver, 24, Waterloo, Ont., and Andrew Poje, 26, Waterloo, Ont., will represent Canada in ice dance. This will be their second time competing at this event, having won silver in 2011. The dance duo representing Sault FSC and Kitchener-Waterloo SC won silver at both events they have competed at this season, Skate Canada International and the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic. Last season, Weaver and Poje placed fifth at the 2013 ISU World Figure Skating Championships. They are coached by Pasquale Camerlengo and Angelika Krylova in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Piper Gilles, 21, Toronto, Ont., and Paul Poirier, 22, Unionville, Ont., will also represent Canada in ice dance. This will be their first time competing at this event. Gilles and Poirier earned a fifth place finish at their first ISU Grand Prix assignment this season, NHK Trophy. Representing Scarboro FSC, the 2013 Canadian silver medallists placed fourth at Skate Canada International and sixth at Trophée Eric Bompard last season. Gilles and Poirier are coached by Carol Lane and Juris Razgulajevs at Ice Dance Elite in Scarborough, Ont.

Cynthia Ullmark of Canmore, Alta., will be the Canadian team leader at the event. Dr. Ed Pilat of Winnipeg, Man., and physiotherapist Shirley Kushner of Westmount, Que., will be the Canadian medical staff onsite. Leslie Keen of Vancouver, B.C., and Andrea Derby of Windsor, Ont., will be the Canadian officials at the event.

Kaetlyn Osmond withdrawn from figure skating’s Grand Prix in Russia

OTTAWA, ON:  Although she is back training, Kaetlyn Osmond, 17, Sherwood Park, Alta., has withdrawn from her second ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series assignment.  She had been scheduled to compete at the Rostelecom Cup which takes place November 21-24, 2013, in Moscow, Russia.

In October, the native of Marystown, Nfld., withdrew from Skate Canada International after the short program with a hamstring injury, and then missed several weeks of training.  “It was a difficult decision, but Kaetlyn and her coach felt it was important to get back to a full training regimen to be prepared for the next events in the season,” said Mike Slipchuk, Skate Canada’s Director, High Performance.

Osmond is the reigning Canadian women’s champion, who represents the Ice Palace Figure Skating Club.

Reynolds withdraws from figure skating’s Rostelecom Cup in Russia

OTTAWA, ON:  Continuing issues with breaking in skating boots will keep Kevin Reynolds, 23, Coquitlam, B.C., out of his second assignment on the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Circuit. The event will run from November 22-24, 2013, in Moscow, Russia.

Skate Canada’s High Performance Director, Mike Slipchuk outlined the reason behind the decision. “It was a difficult decision, but Kevin and his coach Joanne McLeod felt that with the training time that he has missed because of being unable to resolve the issue with his boots, it was wiser to withdraw from the event. That will give Kevin plenty of training time leading into the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Ottawa in January.”

Reynolds is the two-time Canadian silver medalist, who represents the Vancouver SC.