(October 31, 2009 - BEIJING, China)Joannie Rochette of Ile-Dupas, Que., won the women’s singles bronze medal in comeback style on Saturday at the Cup of China, the third stop on the ISU Grand Prix figure skating circuit.

Akiki Suzuki of Japan, fourth after the short program, emerged with the gold totalling 176.66. Kiira Korpi of Finland remained second at 163.27 to edge Rochette in third 163.18.  Rochette posted the second best long program marks to climb from seventh after the short program for her sixth career Grand Prix medal.

“Today everything was better,” said Rochette, the silver medallist at last year’s world championships.  “I was able to control my breathing and hear the music. I think I showed some character coming back from a disappointing short program but at the same time the alarm bells went off that I need to train even harder.  It wasn’t the beginning I was looking for.”

Rochette wasn’t the only Canadian to produce a much stronger performance on Saturday.

Diane Szmiett of Watford, Ont., also made an impressive leap in the standings climbing from 11th  to eighth with a personal best 144.28 points.  She cracked the 100 point barrier for her free skate alone and it was ranked the fourth best of the day.

“That was the best free skate I’ve seen from Diane at the international level,” said Michael Slipchuk, Skate Canada’s director – high performance.  “That was a big step for her and really builds on her season.”

In pairs, Meagan Duhamel of Lively, Ont., and Craig Buntin of Kelowna, B.C., also moved up the standings finishing fourth with 157.60 points.  They were fifth after the short program.

China placed 1-2 as two-time world champions Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo won the gold medal with 200.97 points and Zhang Dan and Zhan Hao  were second at 186.49.   Tatiana Volosozhar and Stanislave Morozov of Ukraine took bronze at 170.79.

In men's singles, Nobunari Oda of Japan won the gold, world champion Evan Lysacek of the U.S., was second and Sergei Voronov of Russia took third. 

Kevin Reynolds of Coquiltam, B.C., 11th after the short program had the seventh best long program to finish eighth overall.  He landed a quadruple Salchow and didn’t complete a quadruple toe attempt.

In ice dancing, Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, both of Waterloo, Ont., capped a strong day for Canada moving from eighth to sixth overall with the fourth best free dance on Saturday.  Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto of the U.S., won the gold.

The fourth stop on the Grand Prix is next week in Nagano, Japan and it will be carried live on-line at www.skatebuzz.com.

For more information visit: www.isu.org

 
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