(October 27, 2007)
Jessica Dubé of Drummondville, Que., and Bryce Davison of Cambridge, Ont., kicked off their 2007-08 season in grand style Saturday with a victory in the pairs competition at Skate America, the opening stop on the ISU Grand Prix figure skating circuit.
Sixteen-year-old Patrick Chan of Toronto added a bronze medal in men’s competition.
Dubé and Davison posted the best scores in both Friday’s short program and Saturday’s free skate, to earn 173.26 points and the $18,000 (U.S.) first place prize. They beat 2006 world champions Qing Pang and Jian Tong of China who took silver at 165.19 while Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov of Russia were third at 159.58.
"It’s a great way to start the season," said Davison, 21, two years older than his partner. "The program went pretty well, not perfect, and that’s not a bad thing for this time of year. We met all of our goals point-wise and we’re happy."
"We’ve kept the same programs as last year with some changes to the footwork to fit the rule changes that were implemented this season. We want to be ready from the start because of the amount of time we missed last year."
The Canadian pair ended an injury plagued 2006-07 season with a seventh place finish at the world championships. Davison says Saturday’s performance shows the couple is on the right track.
"This victory is among our top-three accomplishments so far along with going to the Olympics and winning the national title last season," Davison said. "It would have been fine if it wasn’t a win too, but it reassures us that all the work we did in the off-season has been beneficial. We need to continue in the right direction and not put too much pressure on ourselves too early."
In men’s competition, worlds silver medallist Daisuke Takahashi of Japan took the gold with 228.97 points. Evan Lysacek of the U.S., was second at 220.08 and Chan, the world junior silver medallist last year, third at 213.33.
"I’m very surprised and happy with the result," said Chan, whose free skate included landing a triple Axel."I never expected a medal at the first Grand Prix of the season. My overall performance was very good. The program components were the highest I’ve ever seen because I made an effort on performing and interpreting the music properly."
Kevin Reynolds of Vancouver was ninth.
In the women’s short program, Kimmie Meissner of the U.S., stands first with Miki Ando of Japan second and Caroline Zhang of the U.S., third. Ando and Meissner have won the last two world titles respectively.
Olympian Mira Leung, 18, of Vancouver is in sixth place.
Competition ends Sunday.