(February 29, 2008)
Photo by Barry Mittan
SOFIA, Bulgaria - Vanessa Crone of Aurora, Ont., and Paul Poirier of Unionville, Ont., won the silver medal on Friday in the ice dancing competition at the world junior figure skating championships. It's the fourth world juniors in a row that Canada has won an ice dance medal.
Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates of the U.S., led through all three rounds to win the gold medal with 181.66 points. Crone and Poirier posted the second best score in the free dance to remain second at 178.09. Kristina Gorshkova and Vitali Butikov of Russia were third at 172.85.
For the Canadians it was a big improvement over last year's ninth place finish at the world juniors. However this season they were considered medal contenders after two junior Grand Prix wins and a fourth in senior competition at last month's nationals.
''It's still a shock that we came second,'' said Crone, at 17, a year older than her partner. ''I'm not really believing it. But our hard work really paid. We knew this was a big competition for us.''
Their free dance was a love drama theme that featured a stationary lift at the start which no other couple executes and well synchronized twizzles.
''We're very pleased with how we placed and most importantly with how we skated,'' added Poirier. ''It was very different experience from last year. We had more pressure because we were in contention for a medal. What made the difference this year was really paying attention to details in the program.''
Kharis Ralph and Asher Hill of Toronto were eighth and Karen Routhier of Quebec City and Eric Saucke-Lacelle of Sherbrooke, Que., 10th out of 32 couples.
''We surpassed our expectations,'' said Ralph. ''Our goal coming in was a top-15. But we gave everything we had in every round. In addition to executing our program we also focused on our performance level and that went over very well with the audience.''
Routhier fell during her free dance but that didn't dampen her enthusiasm for the result.
''A top-10 at our first world juniors is really a big achievement for us,'' said Routhier. ''We improved at all levels and the component marks were the best we've ever had. It was disappointing to fall but our performance before and after the fall was very strong.''
The Americans stand 1-2-3 after the women's short program. Marai Nagasu is first, Caroline Zhang second and Rachael Flatt third. Myriane Samson of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., is 14th.
Competition ends Saturday with the women's free skate.