(December 1, 2006)
Three-time Canadian Pair Champions Valérie Marcoux and Craig Buntin have qualified for their first ISU Grand Prix Final.
Marcoux, a native of Gatineau, Que., and Buntin, of Kelowna, B.C., earned their way to the Final after capturing the bronze medal at the 2006 NHK Trophy in Nagano, Japan, the final stop on this season’s ISU Grand Prix circuit.
Combined with their bronze medal from the 2006 HomeSense Skate Canada International, Marcoux and Buntin racked up 22 points in the Grand Prix standings, which placed them sixth. The top-six pair teams qualify for the Final.
Marcoux and Buntin were ecstatic to have qualified for the Final for the first time.
“It’s huge. It’s something that we, at the beginning of the season, listed as one of our goals,” said Buntin. “I think we had expected to skate maybe a little bit better in all our Grand Prix events, but to accomplish it and to be able to tick it off the list of goals having been accomplished this season, we’re really happy. It’s a big step in our career.”
In Nagano, Marcoux and Buntin were third in both the short program and the free skate to place third overall with a combined score of 163.37.
The duo also competed in a third ISU Grand Prix event this season, the 2006 Cup of China, where they finished fourth. Marcoux and Buntin didn’t earn any points in the Grand Prix standings for this event, as it was their non-scoring event (pair teams ranked in the top-10 in the ISU world standings are allowed to compete in three ISU Grand Prix events, but have only two designated scoring events).
Elizabeth Putnam and Sean Wirtz also had a successful Grand Prix season, placing fourth at both of their events – the 2006 HomeSense Skate Canada International and the 2006 Trophée Eric Bompard Cachemire. With a total of 18 points in the Grand Prix standings, Putnam and Wirtz are the first substitutes for the Final.
Skate Canada congratulates Marcoux and Buntin on qualifying for this season’s ISU Grand Prix Final.