(January 18, 2009) – It’s day number four of the 2009 BMO Canadian Figure Skating Championships in Saskatoon, Sask. The fans at the Credit Union Centre cheered loudly as the senior women’s, pair, ice dance and junior pair champions were crowned.
The race for the women’s title began just before noon on Saturday. Quebec women swept the podium! After trailing in the short program, Joannie Rochette, 23 of of Île Dupas, Que., now five-time Canadian Champion was able to take home the gold. Rochette received a standing ovation from the excited crowd for her program score of 131.77 for a competition total of 185.35 points. Rochette clearly showed her emotions at the end of the program as the crowd embraced her.
“First off I am really happy about the job I did tonight. It was not an easy thing after being disappointed yesterday. I showed myself that I am much stronger mentally than I ever thought,” said Rochette. “I am not an emotional skater and at the end I was so relieved that I could do this.”
Cynthia Phaneuf, 21, of Contrecoeur, Que., also had the crowd on their feet as she skated to a free program score of 96.26 and a total score of 151.42. Former junior champion Amélie Lacoste, 20 of Delson, Que., captured the bronze medal with 89.46 points in the free program for an overall total of 143.01.
After a short press conference with the top three, Skate Canada executives William Thompson and Mike Slipchuk announced the women’s 2009 ISU Four Continents Championships and the 2009 ISU World Figure Skating Championship team. Rochette, Phaneuf and Lacoste will all represent Canada in Vancouver at the 2009 ISU Four Continents Championships. Rochette and Phaneuf will be the Canadian entries at the 2009 ISU World Figure Skating Championship in Los Angeles, USA.
Senior pair followed directly after the women’s free program. Jessica Dubé, 21 of Drummondville, Que., and Bryce Davison, 22 of Cambridge, Ont., came back after placing second in the short program to win the Canadian pair title. This is their second Canadian title; they also won the event in 2007. They collected 126.21 points in the free for a competition total of 188.43.
Meagan Duhamel, 23 of Lively, Ont., and Craig Buntin, 28 of Kelowna, B.C., dropped one spot to win the silver medal. They scored 116.76 points in the free program for an overall score of 182.50 points. Third in the short and third in the free were Mylène Brodeur, 21 of Stanbridge-Station, Que., and John Mattatall, 25 of Wallace, N.S. They skated a solid performance for 104.22 points in the free program for a total score of 159.85 points.
Also a notable mention goes to the pair team of Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers of Saskatewan who placed fourth; if cheers could decide the winner, this young pair team would have won it all!
Once again Mike Slipchuk, Skate Canada Director High Performance announced the 2009 ISU Four Continents Championships and the 2009 ISU World Figure Skating Championship teams for pair. Dubé and Davison and Duhamel and Buntin will represent Canada at both events. Canada still has a spot open in each event but will not announce the team until an assessment is done to see if 2008 Canadian Champions Anabelle Langlois and Cody Hay will be healthy to compete after a competitive simulation is done. The announcement will be made within the next seven to 10 days. If Langlois and Hay are unable to compete, Brodeur and Mattatall will represent Canada at both events.
Next up was the junior pair free program. Brittany Jones and Kurtis Gaskell from the Western Ontario section secured a first place finish and a Canadian junior title with 88.28 points in the free program for a competition total of 137.24 points. Sara Jones and Jeremy Sandor of Quebec followed in second with 78.32 points. Jumping from fourth in the short was Central Ontario’s Maddison Bird and Raymond Schultz who won the bronze with 78.56 points for a total of 122.12 points.
Senior ice dance closed down the Credit Union Centre with the free dance. No surprise that the team of Tessa Virtue, 19 of London, Ont., and Scott Moir, 21, of Ilderton, Ont., won their second consecutive Canadian title in ice dance. They scored 94.68 points in the free dance for a grand total of 197.77 points.
Vanessa Crone, 18, of Aurora, Ont., and Paul Poirier, 17, of Unionville, Ont., held down their second place to secure the silver medal. They rounded up 84.40 points in the free program for a competition total of 175.58. Waterloo skaters Kaitlyn Weaver, 19 and Andrew Poje, 21, followed close behind with a second place finish in the free program, 84.42 points for a bronze medal finish of 170.23 points.
Skate Canada made the announcement that Virtue and Moir and Crone and Poirier will be the Canadian entries at both the 2009 ISU Four Continents Championships and the 2009 ISU World Figure Skating Championships. Weaver and Poje will be joining them at the ISU Four Continents Championships as Canada’s third entry.
Don’t miss Sunday’s men’s conclusion and the Gala Exhibition. The top three in each senior discipline will all perform as well as the Junior Canadian Champions, with a special performance by the pair team of Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers from Saskatchewan. The Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of State for Sport will also be making a special appearance to assist in the medal ceremonies and special award presentations.
Tickets are still available!
Tickets are available online at www.ticketmaster.ca, by phone at 306.938.7800 and in person at the Credit Union Centre box office.