(December 1, 2007)
Tessa VIRTUE / Scott MOIR
SENDAI, Japan - Tessa Virtue of London, Ont., and Scott Moir of Ilderton, Ont., posted the best score in Saturday’s free skate and won the silver medal in ice dancing at the NHK Trophy ISU Grand Prix figure skating competition.
European champions Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder of France held on for the gold with 197.54 points. Virtue and Moir followed at 196.89 for their second Grand Prix medal this season- they won at the HomeSense Skate Canada International a month ago. Jana Khokhlova and Sergei Novitski of Russia were third at 186.96.
Virtue and Moir were four points behind the French couple after Thursday’s compulsory dance then rallied to win the Friday’s original dance and Saturday’s free skate. With the result they also gain a berth for the ISU Grand Prix final December 13-16 in Turin, Italy.
The Canadians used a romantic theme of "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" to edge Delobel and Schoenfelder 100.18 to 96.91 in a moving free skate that brought the crowd to its feet at its conclusion. But it wasn’t enough to oust the French duo overall.
"Every team competes to win,’’ said, Virtue, 18, two years younger than her partner. ‘’We would be lying if we said we came here not wanting to. We did everything we came here to do. We had a realy good OD (original dance) and free program. We will build on it, going into our first Grand Prix finals.’’
Canadian team manager Louis Stong lauded the Canadian couple.
‘’Standing ovations in Japan are very rare,’’ he said. ‘’It was quite a moment. They skated with a kind of innocence you only see in youth. They have an edge quality and seamlessness to go in and out the elements. It was absolutely wonderful and they won the two big parts of the competition.’’
European champion Carolina Kostner of Italy won the gold medal in women’s competition while Lesley Hawker of Barrie, Ont., posted the fourth best score in Saturday’s free skate to climb from ninth to seventh.
In men’s competition after the short program, Shawn Sawyer of Edmunston, N.B., and Vaughn Chipeur of Edmonton stand ninth and 10th respectively.
Competition ends Sunday with the men’s final.