(February 11, 2007)
Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon are ISU Four Continents Champions for the first time.
The five-time Canadian Champions and 2006 world silver medallists captured the title on Saturday in Colorado Springs. Skating to Etta James' At Last, Dubreuil and Lauzon delivered an elegant and smooth program that featured breathtaking lifts and smooth footwork. The technical panel also graded their synchronized twizzles and spin a level four.
Dubreuil and Lauzon's total of 198.59 vaulted them ahead of Americans Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto, who had taken the lead after the original dance. Belbin and Agosto, the 2006 Olympic silver medallists and world bronze medallists, won the silver medal with 196.98 points.
"It's been at least three years that we've been coming to Four Continents, so it's great to come back and have the title because we never had it before," said Dubreuil. "It was challenging here in Colorado Springs, but I think it will give us confidence for Tokyo."
Canadian silver medallists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won their second consecutive Four Continents bronze medal. The duo also skated a solid free dance that was highlighted by a level four circular footwork sequence and interesting and difficult lifts. Their score of 93.99 for the free dance beat their previous free dance personal best of 88.29, and gave them an overall score of 184.89, also a new personal best.
"It's definitely a good confidence boost for us," said Virtue. "We had three good skates, solid performances, and it's definitely nice to get the mileage on the programs. We're looking forward to Tokyo."
Canadians Lauren Senft and Leif Gislason earned a total score of 149.39, placing them sixth overall.
Buttle earns silver
Three-time Canadian Champion Jeff Buttle made a successful comeback to international competition after sitting out most of the 2006-2007 season with an injury.
Buttle, who was standing first after the short program, finished second in the free skate to American Champion Evan Lysacek, placing him second overall with a total score of 223.96. Lysacek earned a total of 226.27 points.
Skating to the soundtrack from Ararat, Buttle started off his program with a strong triple flip-triple toeloop combination. He went on to complete five more triple jumps, and performed exquisite spins and footwork. Buttle's mistake came on the triple Axel, when he doubled the first attempt and singled the second.
"Overall, tonight it obviously wasn't the skate that I wanted. The jumps felt pretty good, except for the Axels," said Buttle. "I just didn't commit to it. There is no other excuse. I felt pretty comfortable out there, but definitely I need to go home, I need to train harder and make up the lost time."
Canadian silver medallist Christopher Mabee delivered a very strong and entertaining free skate, placing third in that portion of the event and moving up from eighth after the short program to fifth overall with a total score of 188.41. His free program included seven triple jumps.
Emanuel Sandhu, the Canadian bronze medallist, was 10th in the free skate, which placed him ninth overall with a total of 173.67 points.
Gold - Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon, CAN
Silver - Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto, USA
Bronze - Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, CAN
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Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir
Lauren Senft and Leif Gislason
Gold - Evan Lysacek, USA
Silver - Jeff Buttle, CAN
Bronze - Jeremy Abbott, USA
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Photos: David Carmichael